Heart Motives Matter

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Pastor Jeanne Miller

More and more there seems to be creeping into the church an affinity for going after the things of the world versus keeping true to God and His word. In II Timothy 3:1-4 in the Amplified we read: “But understand this, that in the last days there will set in perilous times of great stress and trouble—hard to deal with and hard to bear. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffers), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural (human) affection (callous and inhuman), relentless—admitting of no truce or appeasement. [They will be] slanderers—false accusers, trouble makers; intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous (betrayers), rash [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.”That’s quite a mouthful! But do we see these very characteristics appearing in these times? Absolutely yes! Most of the time when this scripture is taught on, these characteristics are attributed to the world. However, in my studies of the commentaries, these verses are talking about the church, not the world! Unfortunately, we are seeing this corruption creeping into the church with our own eyes. More teachings on prosperity are put forth now and more teachings pertaining to you getting money and giving it to me, me being whichever ministry is teaching on it. Teachings on prosperity can sometimes pander to the flesh and make problems for the listeners.In verse 2 of this scripture, it talks about people becoming lovers of self. After that, sins that come from loving yourself more than you love God are listed. Just read over that list and it’s enough to make you shudder.

In I Timothy 6:10 we read, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Notice that it is the love of money, not money. We need money to live and pursue our ministries. God knows this. He has every intention that we have enough and more than that to pursue the goals He has for us. The love of money is when a person puts all else aside, including God, to work at getting money in any way possible. That heart attitude goes hand in hand with II Timothy 3:1-4. And we are seeing this. So many Christians are not content with what they have. They want more, newer, better at the expense of their walk with God. This is a sign of the end times and it’s a sign that’s in the church! Read I Timothy 6:9, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” This is what the love of money brings about in the life of a believer. It’s something we need to guard against in our lives.

In Mark 4, Jesus teaches the parable of the sower. In verses 18 and 19 (Amp) Jesus is explaining the parable to His disciples. “And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word, then the cares and anxieties of the world, and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” Here we know Jesus is talking about the heart and sowing the Word. The cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age refer to unrelaxing attention being given to the business of the world. It talks of enjoyments that worldly prosperity enables one to indulge and absorb oneself in, whether they are innocent past times or not. It speaks of allowing these activities to draw you away from God. In order to reap the benefits and blessings of walking with Jesus, we need to guard our hearts, keep looking into the Word, keep believing on the Lord, and keep watching that satan doesn’t get into our minds and pull us away from God and draw us to the things of the world.

Finally we read in James 4:2-3 (Amp), “You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is, [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.” This speaks of Christians who are not committed to God’s ways and don’t seek His will.

We don’t want to fall into this heart attitude where money and things are concerned. Those that do will reap destruction in their lives. We need to check our heart from time to time to make sure we are still seeking God for who He is, not what He will give us. Believe me, He seeks to bless us and He will but we don’t have to go after the blessings. We need to go after God!