It is very easy to deceive ourselves about our motives. I certainly have. How can we know if our motives are pure?
The best way is to ask God to reveal to us if our motives are wrong, and then to monitor our thoughts and deeds. Jesus told us to do good works such as praying and giving to the poor in secret, and that is one way to assure ourselves that we are doing good because we desire the praise of God rather than the praise of people. If we are only obedient to God when people are watching us, that signals something is very wrong. Or, if we avoid scandalous sins that would ruin our reputation if we were caught, but indulge in lesser sins that no one would likely ever know about, it shows our motivations are wrong. If we are truly trying to please God—who knows our every thought, word and deed—then we will strive to obey Him all the time, in things big and small, things known and unknown to others.
Similarly, if our motives are right, we will not follow church growth fads that serve only to increase church attendance at the expense of making disciples who obey all of Christ’s commands.
We will teach all of God’s Word and not just focus on popular topics that appeal to worldly and unspiritual people.
We will not twist God’s Word or teach scriptures in a way that violates their context within the whole Bible.
We will not seek titles and places of honor for ourselves. We will not seek to be known.
We will not cater to the wealthy.
We will not lay up treasures on earth, but live simply and give all we can, setting an example of good stewardship before our flocks.
We will be more concerned with what God thinks of our sermons than what people think.
How are your motives?