Monday, July 1, 2013

Motive Test

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them
otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 6.1

Why do you dress a certain way for church?  Why did you put money in the collection plate?  Why did you pray when you were called upon?  Why are you a part of your church’s music program? 

Most Christians seldom think about why they do what they do, and that’s what this section of Jesus’ sermon is about.  If we’re honest, most of us do stuff at church (or anywhere else, for that matter) because (a) we want to, (b) because it makes us look good, and/or (c) to avoid something.  More simply: we seek approval of others.  We want to avoid some and be attractive to others.  Just think about motives when you pick a seat at church or watch others do so.  It’s great fun (yet also embarrassing).  Or listen to comments in a small group or bible class - how often do people say things merely to make themselves look good, or be silent to avoid looking foolish?  Appearance is everything, usually.

This line in the SOM is an introductory statement that sums-up the next section (6.1-24), where Jesus told them about giving (6.2), praying (6.5) and fasting (6.16) – then returned to the main point: Do what you do for God, and God only – or don’t.

Self-Exam Challenge

Now examine yourself carefully.  Take a few days (or a week is better), and think about why you do what you do.  Why did you choose those clothes for today?  Why did you buy a thing (or not), eat a thing (or not)?  Why did you watch TV, or read your bible, and how did you choose?  Why did you text, call, or visit someone (or not)?  Get really detailed.  Take a serious, hard look at all the little things you do every day and discover yourself.  Write it down, or record it on your smart phone, or whatever – but do it!

This is a hard one, harder than you may suspect.  You’ll find parts of yourself that are selfish, prideful, or afraid.  We do things from fear way more than we realize – fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of judgment; even fear of failure. 

The results may be embarrassing, but that’s OK.  It’s embarrassing for a fat person to step on a scale, but it’s necessary to begin weight loss.  And like the fatty on the scale, you don’t have to tell anyone.  The results of your own self-test are between you and God – and He already knows. 

This can be a boost or a first step in having something special that’s just between you and God.  Something only the two of you share – something personal.  This test is really the opening of your heart – a chance for you to see yourself as God does. 

When you next share your accountability stuff in your “I Will” part … tell people whether or not you faithfully did this, but don’t feel obliged to share the results.  You know, and God knows, and that’s enough for now.  

1 comment:

  1. This is great way to see why I do things, mostly to look good and then the other time it's not to look foolish. I look forward to jotting these things down this week.