The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 God can use my imperfect motives to carry out His perfect will. As a college freshman I was motivated to attend church by a cute girl (now my wife) and a need to know how to conduct business with church people. However the Lord had a greater purpose in mind. Six months into hearing and understanding the gospel I repented of my sins and trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Though motivated to date a pretty girl and make money—I was ambushed by the Lord’s love. Indeed, the Holy Spirit worked with me where I was—to get me where I needed to be. Because of the heart’s deceitfulness it cannot be trusted. The heart can say there is no God—when in fact there is a God. The heart thinks it can handle temptation—but in reality it is easily lured into risky behavior. The heart believes it is good—but the Lord says it isn’t. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit understands our heart’s unholy condition. The Spirit of God cuts into the desires of what drives us. Thus, when the Spirit convicts our heart of unseemly intentions, we are wise to listen and adjust our actions. Jesus takes our imperfect motives and perfects them for His glory. “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Has your heart been converted by Christ? God’s grace is like a spiritual pacemaker that causes your heart to beat for God’s will. Sin causes an irregular heartbeat, but grace brings it back into a righteous rhythm. It is easy to get entangled by sin, but hard to get untangled (Andy Stanley). Ongoing confession, repentance of sin and faith contribute to spiritual health. Imperfect motives are made perfect by the ongoing perfecting work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of Jesus followers. Christ is the cure for sin’s soul sickness. Sin kills—grace gives life. Furthermore, a deceitful heart requires the objective accountability of a caring community. Those whose questions probe the motives of our actions keep us honest. Thus, when a friend asks, “Why are you so defensive to criticism?” We can respond with a humble answer, “I am not sure, but I do struggle with needing approval from people.” Perhaps pride causes us to be caustic when we don’t get our way. Indeed, in humility we recognize our need of a deeper understanding of our heart’s motivations. The Spirit reveals to broken hearts the way to be healed. Motives do matter. “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my impure motives and perfect them to accomplish Your will.
~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~