So, what’s your motive for wanting to accept Christ? Because it will determine everything.
Let’s be honest and talk. Is your motive because you wanted to date someone at church? Is your motive because the people around you or your friends raised their hand and you didn’t want to be the one who didn’t? Is it because you felt the Holy Spirit convicting you of your sin and your need of a Savior? Out of millions of possibilities for your motive to wanting to receive Christ, I pray the last one I just mentioned is why you prayed to receive Christ.
The bible says in Jeremiah 17:10, “I, the Lord, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.” God searches the heart. He knows if you were sincere or not when you prayed to receive Christ. You can’t fool God. You might be able to fool those around you but let me tell you your foolishness isn’t going unnoticed. Proverbs 15:3 tells us that “the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good.” You can’t hide from His sight. And you can’t conceal your motive. God already knows.
There’s a story in Acts 8:9-25 about a man named Simon who was known for practicing sorcery in a city in Samaria. Have you read or heard this story before? This story is fitting for our topic because in Acts 8:13 it says that “even Simon believed.” He was even baptized. Then verses 18-23 reveal the motive tucked away in Simon’s heart:
“18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart’s intent may be forgiven. 23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.”
It’s no secret that Simon wanted the Holy Spirit’s power for selfish reasons. He didn’t want the Holy Spirit he just wanted the Holy Spirit’s power. When you read verses 24 and 25 there’s no evidence to suggest Simon repented of his ungodly motive for wanting the Holy Spirit, which then begs to question if Simon really ever had genuine saving faith to begin with. This story reveals a simple truth. Unless you have saving faith you not only won’t be saved but you won’t have access to a wonderful friendship with the Holy Spirit.
If your motive for wanting to receive Christ is selfish in anyway you might have had a false conversion. That’s what I had at that sports camp. I raised my hand because others did. I prayed that prayer because I was told to. I was only thinking about me, me, me. True saving faith is receiving Christ not because of anything other than the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin and our need of a Savior. John 16:8-9 tells us concerning the Holy Spirit that “when he comes, he will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement: About sin, because they do not believe in me [Jesus]…” I, persoanlly, don’t believe Simon experienced this simply because Scripture doesn’t say he repented for his wicked heart. Maybe you differ. That’s okay. But you can’t deny the motive Simon had. It’s clear his heart was wicked.
So, are you like Simon?
Or are you like Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul)?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Saul’s conversion story in Acts 9 follows Simon’s story in Acts 8. I think it’s because Luke (he’s the guy known for writing the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts) wanted to reveal two different motives. Simon didn’t want God. He wanted God for his own selfish gain. Saul, however; was broken over his sin and went on to not only display he had genuine saving faith by the fruit his life produced but also wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament.
I believe Saul’s motive for receiving Christ was because the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin and his need of a Savior. It wasn’t for selfish gain. He was genuinely broken over, his sin, who he was, and wanted to honor the Lord. Like I already said, his life displayed the fruit. The Bible doesn’t specify whether or not Simon repented. Maybe that was on purpose. Either way, Saul’s conversion shows us what genuine saving faith can do. If Jesus could take a man such as Saul, redeem him, and use him to impact the world he can use anyone who has a willing heart and receives Christ as Lord and Savior.
So, again, what’s your motive?
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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