The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.JEREMIAH 17:9-10 NKJV
The heart of man is deceitful above all things.
PROVERBS 4:23 NIV, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
The Lord says that He search’s the heart and tests or examines the mind to judge why we are doing something and how we are doing it, so He can reward us in accordance to the fruit of our motivations.
We are not rewarded for our accomplishments because only God brings the increase by His Spirit.
We are rewarded in accordance to the character that we do things in.
This is why we should always be judging the motivations of our hearts by the fruit we are bearing.
Walking in sacrificial love or ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ truly is the golden rule of life.
The agape love of God is the pure godly motivation that will guard, protect, heal and purify our hearts.
When our hearts react in a negative manner because of words or circumstances, we must be self-controlled and react in love. As we do this, the love of God that is in our born again spirits becomes a part of our hearts through that experience. We then start to take on the character of love in our hearts. We become like Jesus. We start to mature spiritually, not by perceived maturity of head knowledge and accomplishment, but by true heart experience. In this way we become mature, whole and healed of emotional problems that would cause us to function out of carnal motivations.
Paul refers to this as training in godliness which has benefits for the present life and the life to come.
If we don’t check our motivations closely then we can develop bad habits or continue to enforce the bad habits we already have.
I make lots of mistakes, especially when I am tired or under pressure. But, I keep checking my heart to judge my actions, to discern my motivations. It is fairly simple if we are honest with ourselves before God, because the nature of the spirit is opposite to the nature of the flesh. The thing that can hinder this would be the pride of our heart that will not let us admit we’re wrong. This is why we must always humble ourselves.
When I realize I was motivated by my flesh, I repent and make it right with God and with people that I may have offended.
If I don’t correct myself, I will eventually become worse, develop bad habits and even sear my conscience, becoming insensitive to the Holy Spirit, Who’s ministry is to sanctify me.
We will still be able to function in our gifting and calling, but can lose our rewards because we lacked in developing our character which is the goal or the purpose of our faith in the first place.
I PETER 1:9 NIV, “For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
We judge the motivation by the method and character we are using to accomplish what we are doing.
James Chapter 4 in the Amplified Bible is a good summary of all this.