Thursday, August 17, 2017

Discerning Your Motives

- Matthew 6:16-18

INTRODUCTION

In every way possible, the Lord calls His people to be different from the world. Any Bible student can readily demonstrate that those of the world do what they do in order to promote and preserve themselves. Unfortunately, the same holds true for Christians who are not walking with the Lord as they should. Both the saved and the lost can do good things which appear spiritual such as praying, fasting, witnessing, going to church, giving financially, and reading the Bible. However, it is the motive that counts—whether fleshly or godly. It is imperative that each believer not only do what is right, but also examine himself to make sure that he is doing what is right for the right reasons. He should pray, fast, witness, give, and attend church for the glory and pleasure of God.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God wants you to be able to tell if what you do for Him is for the right reason. We need to invite God and His word to examine us (Psalm 26:2; Hebrews 4:12), and we need to examine ourselves for this very reason (Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5a).
  • (For everyone): Do you pray? If so, why? Do you read your Bible? If so, why? Do you attend church? If so, why? Do you give financially to the work of God? If so, why? However, if you do not do these things, why not?
  • Why is it crucial that you not only examine your works, but also the motives behind your works?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to show you the true nature of your motives.
  • Ask the Lord to give you a willing heart to fix your motives.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fretting over Other Men’s Motives

- Philippians 1:12-18

INTRODUCTION

Men focus much of their attention upon worrying about the motives behind other men’s actions. The apostle Paul had been placed in prison for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly for preaching the resurrection. His imprisonment actually led to “the furtherance of the gospel.” The Bible says that “many of the brethren in the Lord” began preaching the gospel; some had pure motives such as love (Philippians 1:17), but others had impure motives such as envy, strife, or contention (Philippians 1:15-16). Instead of complaining about the motives behind the actions, Paul rejoiced that Christ was being preached knowing that the Lord would deal with the motives at the judgment seat of Christ.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Only God truly knows thoughts and hearts (Matthew 12:25a, Mark 2:5-8; Psalm 139:4). We cannot always know why people do what they do. Trust that the Lord will take care of others (1 Corinthians 4:5) and watch your own actions and motives (Romans 14:13).
  • (For everyone): What are some instances that you can remember fretting over the motives behind the actions of others? How did this fretting benefit you? How did it harm your ability to serve the Lord?
  • The Lord will judge the motives behind the work of the saved people at the judgment seat of Christ. How should this knowledge keep you from fretting about the motives of others?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to help you trust Him concerning other men’s motives.
  • Ask God to help you focus on serving Him from a right motive.