"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. All a mans' ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs his heart. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." Proverbs 21:1-3
There are people who do good things for the wrong reasons. It might appear that they are trying to do what is right but it ends up that they only do it for their own benefit. Jesus calls those who do good things with selfish intentions hypocrites. That word means "an actor who wears a mask". A hypocrite in its simplest sense is someone who pretends to be something that in reality they are not.
The Pharisees, who craved the praise of men, sometimes brought much attention to what they gave to the temple treasury. The treasury boxes were set outside the worship area and people gave their money as they came in. If you have to announce and demand recognition when you do something or give something, then you are no better than a hypocrite. God sees our heart and knows why we do what we do.
I saw an advertisement on television that featured an athlete running up the steps of an empty stadium. No one is watching, but he's giving it all he has, sweating and really working his body to the limit. The ad points out that he's going through all that hard work so that he can receive the reward of winning in the competition. He is training himself and learning to discipline himself in order to win the prize.
God asks us to discipline our lives, to deny self and take up our cross daily so that we can be true disciples of Jesus Christ. It isn't about us and it isn't about doing all of this so people will say, "Look at her or him. They do sooooooooo much for the Lord!"
People can find an excuse for doing almost anything, but God looks in the heart to the motives. We can make the right decisions by first identifying our motives and then asking, "Would God be pleased with my real reasons for doing this?" God is not pleased with us when we do things expecting to receive something back.
Ministry today is challenging and for many who long to be renowned speakers or musicians, the journey can be treacherous. It is frustrating for me when often times I discover how much even those in ministry are all about themselves. Pride is a powerful tool of the enemy and we must protect our hearts and souls from the destruction it can bring to our lives and ministry. For me personally ministry is not about what I can do. I am nothing without Christ. I need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit upon my life and God's will in order for my life to accomplish anything for the Kingdom. God's anointing upon our lives is necessary to do awesome things for Him. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and beware of pride that can easily slip into our lives.
How about a gut check today? Why are you doing what you do for the Kingdom of God? Is it seriously for the right motives?