Kingdom purpose, requires Kingdom motives.


‘While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”’ Luke 20:45-47


What an amazing calling–to be a teacher of the law, to show people how to live in harmony with God’s laws and decrees! Unfortunately for the teachers of the law though, Jesus saw through their hearts to their true motivation. They were not teaching God’s truth out of a heart of love, but out of a prideful heart of personal prestige and gain. Instead of seeking how God’s word could change others, they instead looked for ways that their position could increase their own popularity.
Jesus calls out 6 specific examples that revealed the heart of the teachers of the law:

  1. Their clothing was chosen to call attention to their own grandeur
  2. They found fulfillment in public recognition
  3. They sought positional recognition and preference at worship-related gatherings
  4. They also expected that this preferential treatment would spill over into their private life, away from the church.
  5. They profited off of those who were disadvantaged and downtrodden, even those who they were specifically supposed to be caring for.
  6. They used prayer, not as a way to personally communicate with God and spend time in His presence, but rather to put on a show.


This same attitude is easy to develop even today. Our enemy will seek an opportunity to subvert and derail the gifts and callings God has placed in us, and twist them to become a curse and source of destruction in our lives. I need to heed the words of Jesus, when he calls out this spirit in the teachers of his day. What are my true motivations? Do I do the things I do with the love of Christ, and to bring Him honor? Or do I profess to glorify and honor Christ…..and hope that some of the glory will come my way also?
In order to avoid the punishment that Jesus promised would come to the corrupt teachers of the law, I must choose to give up seeking the fulfillment of my own pride, and get comfortable with pursuing Kingdom goals–even in the absence of recognition, popularity, or personal benefit.
I can use the 6 examples of Jesus in my own life:

  1. My clothing and appearance should be a reflection of Christ, instead of a tool to call attention to me
  2. I must be comfortable serving without public recognition. The easiest way to know this, is to watch my own heart when I am NOT given recognition.
  3. I must give recognition and preference to others, and honor them above myself
  4. This attitude of honoring other must permeate my daily life, even away from church and ministry.
  5. I must make sure that I am fulfilling my calling to minister to others, instead of becoming a burden that siphons ministry resources away from those who should be benefitting.
  6. My time spent in prayer must be focused on communicating with my Savior, not in putting on a show for others. The simplest test of this is, do I spend time in prayer when others cannot see?


God, continue to develop Your heart within me. Help me to keep my motives right before You, because you see straight through me anyway. Reveal to me when I fall short, and help me to remain humble and teachable in Your hands.