Question of the day: Why is devotion to God the only acceptable motive for actions that please Him?
According to Jerry Bridges, “Devotion to God is the only acceptable motive for actions that are pleasing to God. This devotion may express itself in one of several different ways. We may have a sincere desire to please God or to glorify Him; we may do or not do a particular action because we love God or because we sense that He is worthy of our obedience. However, our motivation expresses itself, if it is God-centered, it arises out of devotion to God and is acceptable to Him.”
“Unfortunately, too often our motives are self-centered rather than God-centered. We want to maintain our reputation before others, or we want to feel good about ourselves. Or we may even seek to live a decent and moral life or to do good deeds because such an ethic instilled in us from childhood. But the motivation is never related to God and thus not acceptable to Him.”
Based on the proceeding, how can our motive be pure and worthy of God? If one were to ponder how to be devoted to God, then one might think, “If I do this particular act, God will punish me? Therefore, I should not do it in order not to be punished.” But if one were to take that train of thought, the heart is not truly pure or dedicated because the act may come against God’s ways and the fact that we do not want to incur God’s discipline, in my opinion does not show true devotion. Bridges wrote, “I realize that the fear of God’s discipline is certainly an unworthy motive, but the real reason that I should not do that is because God is worthy of my most honorable conduct.” The Holy Spirit will help us recognize our self-centeredness so that we will correctly focus ourselves on God. The fear of punishment from committing murder and adultery may keep us from committing outward acts, but we should want to live our lives in a manner where we are not committing murder and adultery in our hearts. This shows our devotion to God by having pure hearts. Paul even said that our eating and drinking shall be done in the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Christ gave us two commandments, to love God with all of our hearts, soul, and mind; and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40). If we then are to have a devotion to God, then we would want to show the love of Christ to those we have interpersonal relationships by submitting to one another in reverence to Christ (Eph. 5:21). A true devotion to God will be showing the love of Christ to everyone, even our enemies.
Bridges, Jerry. The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God’s Love Through You. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2016.
 Jerry Bridges, The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God’s Love Through You (NAVPRESS, 2016) 13.
 Ibid., 13.
 Ibid., 14.