Our greatest challenge in training motives is to change the believer’s orbit. Under the full control of their sinful nature, people are self-centered. They have the planetary mass of Jupiter, with God and other people orbiting around them like tiny moons. When people turn to Christ in faith, God begins the revolutionary process of transforming them to be other-centered and God-centered. They begin to see themselves in proper relation to the value of others and the greatness of God. Increasingly they orbit the massive, glorious sun of God’s will.
Self-centered deeds do not please God. ” All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD ” (Proverbs 16:2). ” [The Lord] will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts ” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
The harmful side effect of some preaching is we appeal to self-interest in a way that encourages hearers to continue in an utterly self-centered way of life.