October 19, 2020

Mark 12:13-14d

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God…”

 

Do you ever stop and ask yourself, “What’s my real motivation here?”

Today’s passage, to me, is hilarious. Jesus’ enemies have been hassling Him his entire ministry, and now they have the audacity to approach Him like this? Their words almost drip with insincerity and deceit! Did anyone watching actually believe the man truly thought Jesus was “true” or taught “the way of God?”

Ultimately, this attempt to trap Jesus will fail miserably, as usual. Our attempts to fool God always do. But while I find this passage humorous, I also find it troubling. It’s troubling because in my own fallen state, I am just as susceptible to sinful motivations as they are. I am just as prone to think God might not “catch on” as they. When I consider my motivations honestly, how often am I outwardly projecting good spiritual intentions but inwardly have my own agenda, my own desires?  

And what’s even more disturbing? Often I’m not even aware of any problems! When I give, am I giving with pure sacrificial joy or am I hoping the receiver will somehow now “owe me” a little bit? When I speak words of encouragement, is it truly to lift another up or I am hoping he will like me more? Do I attend Sunday service to give God the praise He’s rightly due, or is it to check a box on my internal “supposed to do” list?

I have discovered my motivations are usually a really mixed lot! Some days I wonder if they are ever 100% pure. But the older I get the more I’m learning to simply take these things to God and beg, “Lord, help me nurture my good motivations and toss out the bad!”

How about you? When was the last time you honestly examined your own motivations in your daily life? Why do you think you do the things you do? How much does God’s opinion influence your motivations? Perhaps today is a good day to ask God to reveal the motivations you’re currently blind to.

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