God examines our motives.
We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives. Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road. -Proverbs 21:2,8
The gospels are filled with stories of how Jesus challenged the motives of religious people - interesting how the motives of the so-called sinners never seem to be confronted. In almost every encounter with a Pharisee the Lord seems to point out their impure motives. He often teaches his followers to not be like the Pharisees telling them to not seek attention by offering public prayers, telling friends they are fasting or drawing attention to themselves when they give.
It is difficult to follow this teaching - our pride is often in conflict with Christ's call to humility. It is hard to remember that the true issues of life are those which are invisible and sometimes it is hard to get past appearances. I struggle daily with superficiality and have to fight to be a person of substance. Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount cause me to weigh my motives and live life from the very depths of my being instead of my superficial flesh.
Teach us Lord to discern our motives. Help us to keep our motives pure. To you belongs the Glory.