Possibly the hardest thing to realize is that Christ does not look at the outward action, or the result of motive; he looks at the motive itself. What an absolutely stomach-twisting thought. How many times do we do things that are right out of the wrong attitude or motive? How often do we act in certain ways to impress others? How often are we influenced by those around us into believing, liking, and even thinking and feeling certain things? Personally, too many times to count. When I start thinking about the motive versus the action, I find myself having to climb off of my hypocritical high horse and face the fact that yes, I do in fact still need a savior.
I am horrified at how easy it is to forget this…I still know it with my head but I’m not living as if I believe it. But, thank God, he always draws us back again. He purifies our hearts, not our actions. The heart is where it begins. It is, perhaps, possible to keep up the guise of a Jesus-loving life for a while on our own strength…especially when we know the church lingo. But to really and truly have a consistently God-honoring, Jesus-following life, the Holy Spirit must purify our hearts – our motives – and we consistently renew our minds with his word.