The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture.
The Bible doesn’t tell us to speak truth in anger or self-righteousness—only to speak the truth in love. As God’s children, let’s never speak with an attitude that says “I told you so” or “I know more than you” or “I’m better than you.” When we bring correction in a mean-spirited way, we demonstrate a lack of compassion for those we address. That’s so tragic and costly. All of us must be motivated, moved, and even consumed with love when we speak into someone’s life, or we should not speak at all.
When we allow worship to become about a worship leader, a song, a musical expression, a church growth agenda, a brand, an industry, a musical gig, a personal need for breakthrough, or any other agenda that is self-seeking and self-serving—anything besides ministering to Jesus—we allow the life it carries to be trampled out of it.
By trying to please people and live up to their expectations, we can easily fall into a false form of spirituality. We find ourselves praying, reading Scripture, and worshipping not from the heart but from a secret motive to impress others. We become more interested in how we look to others than how we look to God. The more insecure we are, the more susceptible we become to the opinions of others. Humility frees us from this form of pride, allowing us to live to please the Lord.
The Corinthians had put the messenger who had brought this gospel message to them under scrutiny. They had analyzed his approach, his speaking style, and even his personal characteristics and had concluded there was nothing at all remarkable about him. If his message was truly sent by God, shouldn’t there have been something more special about him? Paul’s response is that the believers were missing the point. It is exactly because the message is so important that the messenger is so weak. Just like a treasure in an earthen vessel, it is not the fragile, breakable, disposable vessel that matters most but the treasure it carries inside. If that were not the case, the vessel might think it was the treasure! The life of the disciple must be modeled on the gospel itself.
The first assumption we should always make is that someone’s heart is good, not evil. Then even if there was poor intentions, your assumption of good can pull them into the light.
Love must be the motivating factor for our purity and holiness. This prerequisite is absolutely essential if we are to abide in God’s power and presence.
When I pray for another person, I am praying for God to open my eyes so that I can see that person as God does, and then enter into the stream of love that God already directs toward that person.