Motives of the Heart

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you only to find out later they had a hidden agenda for doing it? You go from being pleased to disappointed the moment you find out. It would have been better had the person never of done the nice thing for you at all.

An arrow flies where it is pointed. “A bad motive can’t achieve a good end…” (Proverbs 17:20 MSG).

Motives trump actions in the kingdom of God. “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives]” (Proverbs 21:2 AMP).

I can often feel the motives in people just like people can feel the temperature in a room. I don’t know why God has given me this sense, and there are times where I wish I did not have it. How hard it is to smile at a person as they pretend to have good intentions towards me when I know they do not.

Little people try to make other people feel little. “Smooth talk can hide a corrupt heart just like a pretty glaze covers a cheap clay pot. Kind words can be a cover to conceal hatred of others, for hypocrisy loves to hide behind flattery.” (Proverbs 26:23-24 TPT).

Imagine how God feels when we serve Him with wrong motives? He sees right through us and knows our heart with greater clarity than we do. How very blessed we are that He has such grace and mercy towards us. Yet He calls us to live lives with pure motives. How much we need to learn to get this right.

The results of your faith are not determined by your methods, rather by your motives. It is not in how you do things but in why you do things that God will measure.“…the Lord comes who will…disclose the motives of men’s hearts…” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV). 

In ministry, there are so many who focus all their energy on putting themselves on display. But we cannot serve God rightly when we seek to have men’s eyes look to us wrongly. Unless you are willing to serve in obscurity, you need to question the motives for your service.

Don’t try to impress others with who you are, but inspire them with who they can become. Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NKJV).

To measure effectiveness for the kingdom, you must measure what you do by the scales of heaven. The scales of heaven do not weigh all you have done, but the motives behind your actions. In heaven, the “why” has greater weight than the “what”. The why determines the what.

Motives make the man and the rest is just what follows. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV).

Wrong motives flourish in prideful hearts. Pride cares more for what man thinks of you than what God thinks of you. Seek to please God and the opinions of man will remain where they should, on earth but not in heaven.

It is not what you do that pleases the Lord, but why you do. “…For the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3 NKJV).

You can sometimes do a good thing even with wrong motives. But if you get your motives right then good things will surely follow. It’s in our innermost being that we find our outermost purpose in life. Motives are the roots of your ministry. The roots support the tree that produces fruit.

Get your motives right and let God worry about the outcomes. “Examine me, God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is in me any hurtful way, and lead me along the eternal way” (Psalm 139:23-24 CJB).

In our lives, we become so hyper-focused on outcomes, as if they were the measurement of our worth. You can have accidental good outcomes from bad motives, but if you want to be consistent in all you do, be pure in the reasons why you do what you do.

With God, motives determine outcomes. You must seek right to be right. “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” (Proverbs 16:2 GNT).

With men, our outward actions are judged and our inward motives are hidden. With God, our inward motives are judged, and our outward actions gain us very little. If you want to grow in your faith, ask the Holy Spirit to give you revelations of your motives.

If you want to change the world then start with yourself. “Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.” (Psalm 51:10 GNT).

Blessings to you,

Paul Balius


9 thoughts on “Motives of the Heart

  1. Paul, thank you so much for allowing God to minister His truth through you. Very inspiring devotional and very spot on. God bless your ministry as you continue to speak of His great love and truth.

      1. You’re welcome Paul! You are also kind and encouraging to me! So thank you ever so much! I appreciate you! Double blessings to you and your family.

  2. Yes. When I was younger I had “friends” who only wanted to be friends so that I would take care of their children. When I moved to another State and tried to keep in touch, they never replied. I felt very hurt! I cannot imagine how God must feel when I race around busy with life and forget to talk to Him and include Him in my plans! Forgive me Lord.

    1. I think as we are hurt, it helps us to learn how we might not do the same to another. We understand how deeply things matter when others do things that matter so much to us. Praying you are being a blessing to others.

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