Dear Jim, I worked today and found myself particularly tired when I can home. After resting today I found myself asking a question that came to my mind. "Do you ever get sick of motives? I do." I then had part of a verse come to mind. "He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." There are other verses starting in 1 Corinthians 4:1. Could you please explain these verses to me? Mary
Motives. Yes, the mind of man (religious or not) loves to create fear and doubt by the examination of motives, and yet it was to the religious that both Paul and Jesus spoke of motives being revealed. Consider the context in which Paul wrote the infamous statement about how the things done in darkness will be exposed to the light.
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
Now, if Paul's words were supposed to induce an examination of sinful motives by those who are born of God then why did he start out expressing the total opposite of that? And then, why did he cap it off with "each man's praise will come to him from God"? I think we've let the religious cover-up artists cause us to lose sight of the reality behind Paul's words, for those words were meant to encourage our righteous hearts. What Paul did was to expose the religious mind that was affecting the believers into acting falsely or playing along with the seemingly spiritual game of the deceivers among them. As you know, the process of those things being exposed can be quite uncomfortable (to say the least), but you also know how it gets turned into joy when the lies become seen for what they are so that we can let them fall away as so much garbage.
Was Paul trying to get them to examine themselves for sin? Far from it! It should instead become quite obvious that he wanted them to be as confident as he was in the righteousness of God's judgment through Christ so that they would also refuse the sneakiness of man's judgment. He wanted them to be conscious of nothing against themselves ... and therefore conscious of nothing against their brothers (generic, non-gender related brothers, that is. I could use the word siblings, but I think it sounds weird. LOL).
You see, the situation that prompted Paul to touch on any of this was the whole appearance-based charade being played out among the Corinthian believers. Those who appeared important among them were the very ones who kept questioning Paul's authority to speak of God to them. These were the ones who didn't like Paul because his gospel didn't allow for their fleshly shows of righteousness that set one above another — and these were the same ones who hid their true motives under the cover of darkness. They didn't want the common believers to know what they were really trying to do among them. These were the men who did everything they could to intimidate the believers into examining themselves for sinful behavior so that their own true agendas would not become exposed. And isn't this the way of the world? Don't look behind that curtain!!!
So ... why the mention of how the Lord will disclose the motives of men's hearts? Because it allows us to rest. Yeah, really. In other words, we don't have to concern ourselves with judging either our own motives or those of our brothers. We can rest in his righteous judgment ... and his righteous judgment toward us is Christ. He is the one who has acquitted us. He is the one who gives us leave to refuse those who insist that we judge ourselves ... or our brothers. As far as motives go, we can simply rest in the judgment of our father through Christ rather than cower in fear because of the judgment of man.
Do we have to worry about figuring out who is doing what for what specific reason? No, for we have been given the mind of Christ, and it reveals to us that there is no light in the darkness of the religious mind. We don't have to spend our time examining the motives behind the evil mind of religious man, for we know there is nothing we can do to change that ... it will always be there. God will reveal it in the time of his judgment ... and sometimes he does that right in front of those who have suffered under the false judgment.
Consider also how in what Jesus said, it was spoken to the disciples as to why they didn't have to fear the judgment of the false leaders of their time.
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. Matthew 10:26
Same thing. Jesus wasn't trying to make his disciples feel ashamed, he was giving them a reason not to be intimidated, for the false ones would be exposed by God himself. I've seen many "ministries" that believe it is their responsibility or their calling to expose the deeds of darkness in this world, but such a calling only drags us down into the same fleshly workings as those who are being exposed. I have to wonder how many who have been exposed by such ministers might be the very ones who are preaching Christ and not themselves. Hmmm.
So my dear Mary, this is all good news to us ... to you. Rest in God's judgment of you through Christ, for it is the one and only place to stand in confidence. :)