Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. –Philippians 2:3
We all know and see them because they are everywhere. Maybe we are one of them. More often than not, we want to be one of the many willing to help others by giving our time, money and effort for a worthy cause. Most of us want to give and help others in need when we are able. Unfortunately, sometimes people who do these good deeds have ulterior motives. Maybe there’s a secret financial or tangible kickback, community or private (self) accolades, or even just a little pat on the back. However, we cannot and should not justify that the good deeds outweigh any trace of impure motives. When we do good things for others, we must be careful not to have any self-serving motives attached. Many Bible verses speak to this, but Matthew 5:8 is clear: Blessed is the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Quite simply, when we do things with a Kingdom mindset, our hearts must be pure. A heart that is pure in one that is not selfish.
This got me thinking about some things. Have you ever wondered how life would be if we all judged each other based solely on our actions? What about if we judged each other based on our intentions? The truth is, so many good actions can be cloaked in self-serving intentions. On the other hand, we often take the wrong action or say the wrong thing with the best intentions (a pure heart). It can be difficult—and I say impossible—to navigate clearly through life without humbly considering ourselves and applying God’s Word.
I often fall short when I judge others by their actions and myself by my intentions. What if we took some time to stop and consider intentions? I’ve been prayerfully asking the Lord to help me to see others’ hearts—not just the actions. There have been so many surprising revelations.
The most surprising revelation, however, has come from examining myself. This examination might come by way of prayer and meditation; other times it comes by reading or hearing God’s Word. Sometimes I’ve actually believed that my own intentions were good and pure, only to discover that I have impure motives attached. For example, I might agree to do something that someone has asked me to do but complain the whole time. I said yes because I don’t want to be perceived negatively, but my heart isn’t right. Spiritually, I’ve made my “good” actions null and void.
So, how do we align our actions and motives to keep them pure? I remind myself that who/what I am in my heart is one hundred percent who I am. I’m going to repeat this for me (and maybe you). What I am in my heart is really who I am. Proverbs 4:23 reads: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. If a heart has impurities, it needs to be sifted or filtered through God’s Word. If a heart is pure, it needs God’s Word to keep it that way. There is no way around it. Finally, we have to pray and seek Him daily in all things, careful of the company we keep.
One last note about judging others on their actions . . . we must keep in mind that just as we make mistakes, others do too. To keep our hearts pure, we must forgive. When we hold on to anger, jealousy, offense and hurt, we are muddying our hearts, making them impure. It doesn’t matter if the person never apologizes. We are still responsible for forgiving. We have to help one another to release pride and gravitate towards love, peace, forgiveness, and righteousness. When God shows us those that have impure hearts, we need to remember to pray for them and to ask God for direction.
Prayers and blessings,