If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.PHILLIPIANS 2:1-4
As we have stated before, we can have two different motivations within our hearts at the same time. We can have the motivations of selfish ambition and vain conceit, or the Kingdom of God motivations of sacrificial love and servanthood which are proper spiritual motivations. This comes from out spirit man because we love Jesus and we want to lift up His name not ours, and see His Kingdom grow and not just our ministry.
The question we must ask ourselves is, “Which one is motivating us?” We can tell our mind and everyone else we are doing it for Jesus, but still be motivated out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, because the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.JEREMIAH 17:9-10
If we do not regularly check the motivations of our hearts, then we can get into a bad spiritual condition in our lives and not be consciously aware of it.
So how do we check our hearts to discern what is the underlying motivation we are functioning out of?
GALATIANS 5:16, “So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (flesh)
Live by the Spirit means to order your life by the principles of sacrificial love, forgiveness and humbleness in accordance with the character and attitude of Jesus (or the fruit of our born again spirits).
In MATTHEW 7:15-16 Jesus said, “To watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus directly ties the fruit that we bear to our heart conditions of good and evil.
So we can directly determine what we are motivated by according to the type of fruit we are bearing. In other words, we judge what is motivating us by the way and the character we are doing things in.
For example, if we are getting angry and start blaming others for what we perceive as a lack of achievement in accordance to what we desire our ministry to be, then we are bearing the wrong kind of fruit. That is the fruit of selfish ambition and vain conceit.
Or, if we are using people, manipulating their emotions, or using any carnal means to get them to come to our meetings or support or join our ministry, then that is also the motivation of selfish ambition.
All our thoughts and actions must be in the fruit of the Spirit and then let the Holy Spirit bring the results. Otherwise we are trying to bring results by the soulical realm empowered by the flesh. If we do that then we are saying that the end justifies the means. We are in reality using the fallen nature or the devils character to establish God’s Kingdom.
JEREMIAH 17:10 NKJV, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
This is why Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from Me you evil doers.” MATTHEW 7:22-23