“The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive.” 1Ch 28:9 NIV
When Ananias and Sapphira saw others selling their land and giving the proceeds to the church so the poor could be cared for, they thought it was a great idea—in theory. However, when they sold some land they withheld part of the money and then lied about it. They wanted increased visibility and spiritual status without paying retail for it. They wanted to “look the part” without having to pay the price. But Peter exposed their sin, saying, “You didn’t lie to [men]. You lied to God!” (Ac 5:4 CEV). Not only were their motives exposed, they both dropped dead. And as a result, “Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened” (v. 10 NLT). One pastor says: “Numerous Sundays I’ve preached a message that deeply moved the members of my congregation. But ironically I’d ‘prepared’ by arguing with my wife on the way to church, or making life miserable for my children. Years of practice came to my rescue and I easily morphed into ‘the pastor,’ becoming instantly compassionate, holy, and spiritual. I was faking…[because] feeling needed, respected, and wanted can become as great a motivation as love for Christ.” When it comes to examining your motives, here are two Scriptures you need to read and consider carefully and prayerfully: (1) “The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you.” (2) “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve” (Jer 17:10 NIV).