Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – February 28, 2016
Theme: Wisdom for Living
Topic: Real and Perceived Motives
Main Texts: Proverbs 21:1-8; John 12:1-6; Matthew 27:15-26
Key Verse: Proverbs 16:2 –“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” (NIV)
Every action of man and every word spoken has a motive – a goal he hopes to achieve. Motives come from the deepest parts of our soul and what observers perceive to be the motive of someone’s action may in fact be completely different from the real motive. In our second passage we see Judas making what seemed like a very pious statement to give an impression that he cared a lot for the poor. But in fact his remark was self-serving: “because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
1) Give examples of unhealthy motives that could underlie each of the following praise-worthy acts:
a) A well-to-do member of the congregation offers material and financial help to a fellow member of the congregation who is in need
b) A Christian student gives a testimony of how God blessed her hard work and she made a first-class degree in her university
c) A new member of the congregation gets active in Church activities
While we can think of many examples of praiseworthy acts that could be motivated by self-interest, there are also acts that immediately come across as offensive but which are in fact well-intentioned or at least not intended to offend. We can all testify to relationships that have been soured due to misreading someone else’s motive. However, one translation of 1 Corinthians 13:7 reads: “[Love] bears up under everything; believes the best in all …” (1 Co 13:7 ISV). The Amplified Bible renders it thus: “Love … is ever ready to believe the best of every person …”
2) Share personal experiences of soured relationships resulting from misreading another person’s motive, and how being “ever ready to believe the best of every person” could impact family relationships.
Our 3rd Bible text sees Pilate going through the motions of a crowd trial of Jesus Christ, in the hope that somehow he would be able to release Jesus Christ. He deliberately presented Jesus Christ with Barabbas – a criminal – for the crowd to choose one for release. Eventually, his motive was not achieved as he handed over Christ to be crucified.
3) What happens to us when our true motive, different from our apparent motive, is not realized? Solomon makes the point in our key verse that God knows our thoughts and intentions. He later said: “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” (Pro 21:2 NIV). Then we read: “For the word of God is living and active, … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12 ESV). The Psalmist prayed: “Look deep into my heart, God, and find out everything I am thinking.” (Psalm 139:23 CEV)
4) What practical steps can a Christian take to avoid a misalignment between his or her perceived motives and the real motives known to God?
Search me o God, and rid me of all pretentious motives, that my whole being may show integrity, in Jesus’ name. Amen.