I realize Christmas has already passed but I had Christmas song-a-thon in my car the other day all by myself. Songs like “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, “Away in a Manger”, and “The First Noel” are wonderful worship songs I think you can sing any season to praise the Lord. After singing a few like those, I began thinking about some of the songs of Christmas that have nothing to do with the worship of Jesus. One was “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”. That’s a weird and scary little song if you ask me. Santa seems a little creepy spying on people when they are sleeping. Can he really declare who is “naughty or nice”? That made me think of God’s omniscience (the ability to know all things at all times). I thought of Psalm 147:5 which says, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power. His understanding has no limit.” Isaiah 55:9 tells me this about God, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God knows everything (1 John 3:20). That can either free you or bind you.
1 Corinthians 4:5 tells me Jesus “will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.” You and I are accountable for our actions in light of the motives of our heart. You may do the right thing in action but if your attitude or thought life is wrong then your right action is in vain. Doing the right thing (outward action) is judged by your motives (inward action). There have been times I acted rightly but my inward motives were wrong. For the most part I can hide this from people – that is till my sinful heart begins to come out in my actions – and it will come out! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). I used to be fearful of God knowing my true motives. But He knows our thoughts before we think them and our words before we say them (Psalm 139:1-4). He knows it all and He knows us!
But don’t misunderstand God’s all-knowing ability. He not only knows about you, He wants to know you relationally. He loves you. He’s isn’t waiting to blast you when you think or do wrongly. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit works and lives inside me every day to draw me closer to the Lord. He helps me to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). The voice of the Holy Spirit is there to convict you of sin (John 16:8) and direct you into all truth (John 16:13). God will convict and uncover the motives of your heart so He can draw you closer to Himself. When He does, we must simply respond with faith and repent. God wants to do a good work in your inner man. Simply doing right things with wrong inner motives is living a fake life. God’s grace has brought you to where you are now and wants to continue to do a good work in you (Philippians 1:6).
Instead of just doing something because it’s the right thing to do or just because you have to, allow God to check your heart to make sure you have the right motives. Motivation is important. Why you do what you do is more important that what you do. Some characteristics that show a good motivated heart are love, thankfulness, sincerity, selfless ambition, obedience to Christ, not wanting credit or recognition, desire to be a blessing, etc. In Philippians 1:15-17 some preached Christ out of envy and strife. Good action but bad motivation. Others preached out of love instead of selfish ambition. Let the Holy Spirit search your heart. Before you act, pray this Scripture: “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).