Let’s talk about impure motives today, shall we?
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Here’s the thing…I knew blogging would call for a sense of vulnerability on my part so with each post I write, I strive to be as honest and upfront as possible. Transparency builds trust, and trust builds relationships.
If we want this thing to last, there’s something I must get off my chest. What I say in these next few paragraphs may cause you to think very differently of me…but that’s just a risk I’ll have to take.
Okay, here we go.
I hate cleaning the workout machines after each use.
THERE. I SAID IT.
I’M NOT A MACHINE CLEANER AND I’M NOT SORRY ABOUT IT EITHER.
I don’t know if it’s because I grew up playing basketball and am just used to getting the body sweat of other human beings on me or what, but I JUST DO NOT SEE THE POINT.
So, when it’s just me in the gym, the machines don’t get cleaned after each use.
It is what it is.
If other people are around, however, I do it….but only out of obligation. I want them to THINK I’m a Machine Cleaner who finds unending joy and delight in wiping away my sweat (…and dignity), so I put on a front. I’m being hypocritical by not practicing in private what I’m portraying in public. My motives AREN’T PURE; it’s solely about appearance. I’m only cleaning the machines to make myself look good — I want to be liked.
Again…it is what it is.
But because I’m in the habit of NOT DOING IT when people AREN’T around, there are times I slack off and forget to DO IT when people ARE around. In other words, because I lack Machine Cleaner integrity and only portray myself as a Machine Cleaner when there’s an audience, gaps occasionally appear in my machine cleaning.
No matter how hard I try to be something I’m not when others are around, my inconsistency and impure motives eventually catch up to me. The true me (the anti-Machine Cleaner) begins to show.
While I was thinking about this scenario, I realized spiritual integrity works the same way! As Christians, we too often choose to portray Christlike character solely when others are around because we want to look good — we want to be liked. Some of us even have the “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” mentality; we do things strictly because we hope to receive the benefits, not because we sincerely want to serve or bless someone…but when we constantly put on a front and have impure motives, eventually, it catches up to us. People begin to notice.
The truth comes out; the mask falls off.
A person who is truly striving to be Christlike will strive to display Christlike attributes at all times, and in all ways. NOT because people are around. NOT because it will make them look good. NOT because they’re worried what people will think if they don’t. NOT because they secretly hope to get something in return. They’re genuinely concerned with walking in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ, in public AND in private. No ifs, ands, or buts.
I just finished reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. In chapter 9, TerKeurst compares the woman of folly to the woman of wisdom who are mentioned in Proverbs 9:1-6; 13-18. The two women look extremely similar on the outside — they’re at the same place in the city, they both want people to visit their houses, etc. However, only one of them is displaying Christlike character on both the inside and the outside. The other has impure motives and is pretending to be something she’s not.
As Lysa puts it, “[The wise woman] has put in the preparation time. She has done the work and she has something legitimate to show for it. [The woman of] folly has not…she has not done the work.”
Just like the Machine Cleaner image I try to keep up, the woman of folly wants people to THINK she’s a wise woman, and she may even get away with it for a while but, eventually, her inconsistency and impure motives will catch up to her. People will begin to notice…because deep down, beneath the surface, she’s a woman of folly.
If our motives aren’t pure in private, they won’t be pure in public. Eventually, our inconsistency and impure motives will catch up to us because a false image is hard to maintain.
I forget to clean my workout machine sometimes when people are around because I’m not in the habit of doing it when they’re not around. Likewise, there will be gaps in our character and lifestyle when people ARE around because we’re not living honestly when people AREN’T around.
If I’m going to be a Machine Cleaner in public, I need to be a Machine Cleaner in private. It’s that simple.
Similarly, if we want to display Christlike attributes in public, we should practice displaying them in private.
If we don’t practice in private what we’re portraying in public, it’s going to catch up to us. We may get away with it for a while but will, eventually, be found out. It’s inevitable.
Again, a false image is hard to maintain. Our true colors will always show but never on purpose. Always by accident.
Don’t let there be gaps in your character. Have integrity. Be the same person at all times. Be true to yourself and others. Check your motives; let them be pure. Don’t put on a front. Don’t pretend to be something (or someone) you’re not. Walk in the way of the wise. Don’t be a man or woman of folly. Practice in private what you portray in public.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got some workout machines to clean!