A L0ng Time Ago
A long time ago and in a place no one remembers, a pastor preached a sermon on motives and said, “If your motives aren’t pure, it doesn’t count.” His words gained momentum in the church and pretty soon everyone in the community was saying it: “If your motives aren’t pure, it doesn’t count!”
What everyone failed to do was examine his claim against the teaching of Scripture. While it is true that Christians can do good things for the wrong reasons and lose their reward, it isn’t true that as believers in Jesus, we should wait until our motives are pure to do what He says.
Once a reprobate husband told me that he didn’t see why he should leave his girlfriend and move back in with his wife and children because, “My motives wouldn’t be pure anyway, so what good would it do?”
I’ve also met many couples that use the “my motives aren’t pure enough” excuse to avoid giving to the Lord’s work. “Oh we would love to give, if we could be like these other people who give because they want to. We just couldn’t do it with a good attitude.”
And then there’s the guy who told me that he didn’t go to church any more because “I’m so angry at Christians that I would just sit there and sin. So why bring more judgment on myself?”
Obedience With Proper Motives Is Best!
There’s no doubt that the Lord loves it when His people obey Him with pure motives. Obedience motivated by love for Christ and gratitude for His mercy must please Him the most. But even if we can’t obey Him purely, He still wants us to obey.
Every parent knows the difference. When our children smile and say, “Okay daddy, I love you” or “Sure mommy, you’re the best” our jaw drops as our heart grows warm. If, however, they roll their eyes, give us that “look,” but do it anyway, it’s not as satisfying, but at least they’re not disobeying. It’s when they put their hands on their little hips and scream “NO” that we really get upset.
I remember the times my kids said, “I don’t feel like it.” My answer was always the same, “I don’t care if you feel like it or not, you’re going to do what I say…or else!”
But Obedience is Still Obedience!
Grudging obedience is better than no obedience at all. If you and I wait until we have a pure motive to do what Jesus says we, may never get around to it.
If you want to obey Christ with purer motives, then ask Him to change you. He loves to transform His willing followers from the inside out.
But until then, just do what He says.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” –Jesus Christ, John 15:14