Motivations of the Heart

The heart is often described as the inner self but it’s also known as the center of our motivations.  In other words, whatever you do or think, the underlying motivation or intent comes from your heart, not your mind.

The Bible says that the word of God can discern the thoughts and intentions (motivations) of the heart.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 NKJV, emphasis added

Nearly everything we do, consciously or unconsciously, originates from an intention or motivation in our heart.

  • I’m motivated to take out the garbage because I want to make my wife happy and I want a clean house.
  • You may be motivated to join a certain group because you want to be known or respected.
  • You may buy a certain kind of car because you are motivated to save money; your image is less of a motivator.
  • You may work hard due to a motivation to provide for your family.  Yet, your excessive work or constant thinking about work may be motivated by a fear of failure.
  • You may decide to return one friend’s call over another friend’s because you are motivated by your friend’s grace and acceptance.

So, what motivation do you have for doing the things you do?

  • Is it a pure, godly heart-motive that serves others above yourself?
  • Or is it a selfish heart-motive that serves only to make me feel good about myself and get me what I want?

Motivation can be good or bad….and our heart is where our motivations emerge from.  We can be motivated by the world system (what I want) and evil or we can be motivated by God, His grace and His love.  Motivations are at the very center of all of our actions, thoughts and plans….some kind of motivation.

Since we now know that our heart-motives can be discerned by the word of God, let me ask you to participate in a short exercise.  Read this verse and listen for what your heart says to you:

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. – Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

What do you sense in your heart as you read that?  What do you feel pulled to?

  • Do you feel a pull to be still before God…to be quiet more often than you are?
  • Do you sense perhaps that you don’t wait patiently for Him as much as you want?
  • Do you get the sense that you probably do fret when people around you succeed?

The word of God shows us what our heart is like…it judges our heart…but it does so gently and in a non-shaming way.  God is a kind Father who gently nudges us to our highest self.  The enemy tells us we are worthless, empty, stupid and pitiful.  He tears down while God builds up.

Jesus is the living word, so we are not only talking about the word of God as a sacred book – it’s a living Word, made alive through the living Holy Spirit.  And the Spirit always points to Jesus…His guiding and prompting of our hearts.

So, today, I want to encourage you to absorb the word of God.  Open it up.  Read John, read the Psalms, read Acts….or ask God to guide you to a passage.  As you read it, listen to your heart and what the word reveals to your heart.  The word of God is the best way to test, exercise and strengthen the godly motivations of our heart.

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