It’s not difficult to observe that within the Church body, or those who have accepted Christ as Savior, there exists a dichotomy between two groups, meaning two mutually exclusive peoples that make up the same body of Christ. There are those, which we will refer to as Carnal Christians, those who are not walking with God, attempting to live on their own, struggling with sin, rebelling, angered, hurt, or something else that they’ve allowed to create distance between themselves and God. Unfortunately, a lot of us, including myself, have been in this group at one time or another and if you find yourself within this group, you need to seek God and turn to Him immediately because as the Apostle Paul asks, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:2 ESV
The other group we’ll refer to as the Spiritual Christian, those who are walking with God, led by the Spirit, living to avoid any semblance of sin and when it does occur they are quick to repent and confess it. Galatians 5:25 ESV says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Despite a lack of any “observable” sin presence in the Spiritual Christian, it is still a commonality between these two groups because “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one'”, however there is one area that the Spiritual Christian might be more inclined to overlook and it is a dangerous trap.
Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Man’s ways seem innocent or right to him, but it’s God who judges the heart and weighs the motives. The Carnal Christian, as we referred to before, is likely unable to recognize this level of detail, because most, if not all of their ways (or actions) can be deemed sinful on the surface. However, the Spiritual Christian may often be guilty of creating “checklists” for sin, saying “I haven’t committed any of these sins” or “It’s been this long since I did this”, each falling right into the trap that Proverbs speaks of, while the deeply rooted motives are mired in sin. God’s not interested in checklists and we Christians, no matter how “spiritual” are incapable of going without sin.
James 1:15 ESV helps us see where our motives lead, “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” If your motives in anything you do have sinful roots, though they may not seem like sin on the surface, can conceive and give birth to sin. This is why God judges our motives, because He knows what direction we’re heading in and what may ultimately seem right to us, is actually the product of sinful motivations. When we recognize this it lets us know how utterly depraved we really are and how completely dependent we should be on God and his Grace.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” II Samuel 11:1 ESV King David’s motives weren’t lust, adultery, or murder. His motives were rooted elsewhere, perhaps in laziness or apathy, and it probably didn’t seem like a big deal on the surface, but we all know where it lead. Do your ways seem right to you Christian? Have you checked your motives?