|Posted on July 1, 2020 at 10:25 AM|
In these times of chaos and confusion it is important for us to realize that God is not really concerned with what we do as much as he is about why we do it. All our actions are motivated by one of two sources, the flesh or the Spirit. The motives of the flesh are fear, guilt, and pride whereas the motives of the Spirit are faith, hope, and love. Words and actions motivated by fear rather than faith, guilt rather than hope, and pride rather than love will add to the confusion and chaos of this world no matter how “right” they may seem to be.
To say that God does not care about what we do sounds like heresy to most Christians, yet that is exactly what Paul told the Galatian churches saying, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Galatians 5: 6) To the Jews in the early church the rite of circumcision was considered to be essential for acceptance and blessings by God. It would be analogous to today’s rite of baptism in the modern church and was considered necessary for salvation. Paul, however, made it clear that God was not impressed with what was done or not done, but with the faith, hope, and love that motivates our actions.
So how can we be sure the actions we take or the words we speak are properly motivated? An honest evaluation of our motives will always reveal the motives of the flesh as well as the motives of the Spirit. Because we are a new person in Christ and have the Spirit of God living inside we are motivated by faith, hope, and love. But because we still live in this sin-cursed mortal body that also contains the flesh we have the motives of fear, guilt, and pride as well. Our job is to get real with God (what John called walking in the light) and recognize both sets of motives. When we confess the fear, guilt, and pride he is faithful (always there) and just (because he paid for it) to forgive (send it away) and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9).
In this present darkness of the Covid-19 lockdowns, rioting in the streets, and political corruption we need people who are walking in the light as John describes. People who are following the Spirit of Truth confessing the false motive of fear, guilt and pride and allowing God to cleanse and empower them with faith, hope, and love. It is our faith in our new identity in Christ that gives us the hope we need to love others in the middle of the chaos. It is also our faith in the personal leadership and power of the indwelling Spirit that assures us of the truth we seek. It is the hope that gives us the confidence and endurance we need to withstand the onslaught of evil in this world. And it is the love of God that overcomes the hatred and violence that is destroying our nation.
Allowing God to replace the selfish motives of fear, guilt, and pride with the Christ-centered motives of faith, hope, and love our words and actions can make a significant difference both now and for eternity. Now more than ever we need to “speak the truth in love” and “stand fast in the liberty where with Christ has made us free”. When our motives are purified by God, we are able to “shine as lights in this crooked and perverse nation” and be Christ to others around us. It is time for all believers motivated by faith, hope, and love to let their voices be heard and their works glorify the Father.