Motive is everything. Proverbs 6 lists out those things that God hates and first on the list are haughty eyes, a prideful attitude motivated by selfish gain. He hates this. And it is first on the list. What does that say? The selfish motive is higher up on the list of things God hates than murder, even murder of innocent blood. Pride, arrogance is the number 1 listed thing that provokes hatred from the heart of God more than murder, theft, causing strife in the community. God judges our behavior not on action alone, but our motive. Why are we doing what we do?
The complexity of God’s wisdom is beyond the reaches of human genius, yet the Holy Spirit is able to break things down so that even I can understand it. To get it through my thick skull, He reminds me that motive is the deciding factor of the eternal quality of anything I do or say. And if my motive is not to love, a desire for what is best for others above myself, then all words and actions are like filthy rags tossed into Heaven’s trash compactor. They mean nothing. They accomplish nothing. Here is how the Holy Spirit breaks it down:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
A selfish person is a whisp of air gone quickly without meaning, a life that ends without lasting significance. The greater love, the greater impact, change, healing, empowering, restoring, renewing pours out of who we are. Without love, we are just taking up space. So, how do I love better? How can I make my life count? To love is all that matters, but let’s be honest-love is hard. To love those who love us is also meaningless. True impact occurs when we love those who are not loving us. This is where the control valve of God’s power is opened full blast. Love is it, love is everything. Is your motive in love self-centered trying to get what you want from others? This type of love is natural, of the flesh, under the curse of death. Impure motives with those we love will only ruin or, at best, create tension in relationships. Motive determines the health of relationships not only with God, but with others.
This love is unnatural. Like low-fat ice cream, natural love leaves much to be desired. It is fake, artificial. It pretends to be what it is not. True love is pure selflessness. This is a matter of the heart and the mind. How can I do what is best for someone else if I don’t know what that person needs? They may communicate well with their wishes and wants, but these are not always needed. To know what others need, I must put forth effort to know them more than superficially and attempt to do what is best for them, love them. My attempt and desire to love will be met with power from on high. The Holy Spirit, not a spirit of fear, but love in its purest form will meet me and fill me with the wisdom of love accompanied by a transformed heart that no longer has to strive to love, but loves naturally in a way that was unnatural. Unless I get the ball rolling, the Spirit will not give me what I need. Want to love better, just start trying. Do your best. Ask yourself what is the best for the other and do your best. Don’t get confused by what they may say, but seek the Lord’s wisdom to study their life situation to find the way of love. Significance and meaning in your life will follow closely.
Nothing done without love will matter, but as the trickle of God’s love surges to a steady flow, you will find yourself overwhelmed with greater joy, peace, purpose, mission, fulfillment. As Phil Roberson says, “Now we are cooking with peanut oil.” The best of the best of life comes when we start putting forth the effort to love others with a pure motive of selflessness.
Take a moment and check your motives. Where can you start to put forth greater effort to love with selfless motives?
Y’all be blessed and be a blessing!