The Being Behind the Doing

Reading: Jeremiah 17-20

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve" —Jeremiah 17, 9, 19, NIV.

Many people live with the expectation that in the final judgment the good things they have done will outweigh the bad, and they will be allowed into heaven. Just in case they haven't managed to do quite good enough while here on earth and have to go "on hold" in some nether world, they trust that those who remain will say enough prayers and light enough candles to make up their lack.

Though we do not believe that heaven is gained through good deeds, we do believe that God will reward us for the good actions we carry out. However, it is very possible that we may not get as big a reward for those good things done in our lifetime as we think we should.

From what we see here in Jeremiah, it appears that it is not so much the actual doing of the deed, but the reason behind that deed, that makes the difference as to how God will reward us.

Other people look at our lives and may comment on our great generosity, patience, or example. God also see the deed, but he doesn't judge by the deed, but by why we did that deed. We can fool ourselves into believing that our motivation is pure, and we think we are acting out of obedience to the Word. But God looks at the heart that, though it may deceive us, can't deceive him. He sees the being as well as the doing. Are our motives pure or imperfect; are we acting out of obedience or obligation?

The Lord looks at the heart, rewarding us, not according to ALL the deeds but according to the deeds done with the right motivation. It is for this reason that David asks the Lord to examine his heart, to see what wicked motives might be lurking there, and to lead him on the right path—deeds done with heart (Psalm 139:23, 24).

(From Divine Design for Daily Living, Lynda Schultz, Word Alive Press, 2009)


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