Summary: He is aware that his motives are easily swayed by internal and external, positive and negative forces, that attempt to satisfy his desires. Therefore, he must be cognizant of the battle by directing his desire toward God.
Well as we continue our path to discovering what it means to be a man of God, we are discussing the attributes of a man. And of course – we look at our model man, who is Jesus Christ. And as promised each time, we said we’d look at a – something that he told us to do, and something that he did as an establishment of an attribute.
The first one is actually from Matthew 5:20. The lead in to the great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “For I tell you unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes in Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus here in this great Sermon on the Mount – just accentuates the point that really he is not looking for behavior modification, he is looking for the motives out of which those behaviors come. And he’s going to teach us through many chapters there in Matthew that God’s looking for something different than the scribes in Pharisees thought. He’s not just looking for actions, he’s looking for attitudes and our motives as well.
And then Philippians 2:5-7 reads, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ, Jesus. Though he was in the form, God did not account – count equality with God a thing to be grasped. But emptied himself.” There we see his motives. “Empty themselves by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men.” Here we know that Jesus’s motives were pure. Philippians 2 substantiates the fact that his motives were pure from the moment that he stepped on earth, to the moment that he was raised to life again.
Therefore, here is attribute 8 for you, men. “A man integrates motives. He is aware that his motives are easily swayed by internal and external positive and negative forces, that attempt to satisfy his desires. Therefore he must be cognizant of the battle, by directing his desire toward God. Yet is easy for a Christian man to pretend, and to appear purely motivated while living with a selfish motive. This is where the authentic man should give attention to his motive, and align it with God’s desires until that moment that he becomes so cognizant of God – that his actions are only a response to God’s glory, and nothing more.”
So there you have it men, attribute number 8. I think we – this is a really tough one, guys. Because I don’t know if at any one moment, we have a pure motive. Except by the fact that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live by his righteousness. That our hearts are so wayward and so overcome with sin that we constantly are directing our heart towards sin, rather than directing our heart toward God. And because of the end dwelling of the spirit, we have the power to redirect our heart toward God, and purify our motives ad the ones that our God continues to work on, right?
Because I can tell you at any point in– At any point in the day, I know for sure that my motives are swayed back and forth between Godly desires and selfish desires, and I would assume that you’re the same way. It’s a process in a life of constantly redirecting them toward God, to remaining – as we discussed last time – in the vine. To find our nutrients in him, so that we can produce growth. But it all begins with the integration of the motive.
Today I actually want to look at a section of scripture from the Sermon on the Mount, about giving actually. It’s about giving ties and offerings. And while I am sure you are going to see the money thing attached here, I want you to dig deeper than the money thing. I want you to dig deeper because I think Jesus Christ is digging deeper. So listen to Jesus’ words about giving and tithing and sharing with God from a pure motive. Jesus says this, Matthew 6:1-4.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people, in order to be seen by them. For then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you – as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly I say to you, that they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing – so that you’re giving may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Now there are all kinds of really rich content in this text. But what I want to see is what Jesus is trying to teach Christians. And that is that the motive is what God is really after. And he’s the motive, and it’s sense of purity in everything that we do. Not just in our giving, but then how we practice our religion before other people. He just happens to be using giving as a way to demonstrate or illustrate the true heart’s motive.