Motivates and Mindsets. It Matters Why You Do What You Do





Unit 3: What Matters In The End
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TEXT: 1 Sam 16:7; Psalm 26:1-8; 139:1-4, 23-24; Acts 13:2; Rom 2:6-11, 16; 5:1;8:1; 15:13; 1 Cor 4:1-5; Heb 4:12-13,16; 1 John 5:13

Key Verse: Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)

>>Focus We get to know ourselves better when we consider why we do what we do. But God already knows us completely. The Bible tells us that He knows our thoughts even before we verbalize them (Psalm 139:1-4). On one hand, that may be a very sobering realization. On the other, it should be comforting to know to know that the One who knows us completely loves us unconditionally. However, every individual must choose how to respond to that love. While entering into a relationship with God is a matter of faith, it still matters what we do. Jesus will one day judge all people according to their words and actions. But words and actions stem from thoughts and attitudes. Therefore, our motives matter. They matter in a criminal court. And they infinitely matter more in God’s court. A secular prosecutor may often uncover a motive in order to secure a conviction. With God, our motives are already uncovered. Yet He is not seeking a conviction. Instead, He has taken our punishment and provided for our acquittal. Prepare for this week’s study with an added sense of gratitude toward God for His unconditional love. Ask Him to reveal and remove any attitude and motive that are not pleasing to Him and to help you serve His purposes for the right reasons.

>>The Basic Message: Explain to students…
The final judgment will reveal the thoughts and motives behind our actions.
Thoughts and actions are important to God, who looks at the heart.
Ask God to show you any thought and attitude that needs to change, and rely on His help to maintain a pure mind and proper motives.

>>Activity Option: LOOKING FOR MOTIVE
Bring in a few magazine, newspaper, or Web articles related to crimes. Read or summarize the stories and discuss what could have possibly motivated those involved to commit the crimes. Consider what kinds of things could drive a person toward criminal behaviour.
>>Guide: Point out that motives are the reasons why people do things. Actions can sometimes be so ‘smooth” and deceiving, but not everyone or everything is as it seems. Sometimes apparent good actions can have selfish, insincere, or devious motives.

>>Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers…

• We should constantly ask God to check and reveal our motives.

• God’s final judgment will reveal the thoughts, attitudes, and motives behind our actions.

• We must rely on God to help us maintain pure minds and proper motives.

>>Inform and Discuss
a). Authorizing a Search Warrant
1. Read or ask a volunteer to read 1 Sam 16:7. What does this passage mean when it says that God looks at the heart? [Hint: God judges people by their character and commitment to Him].

2. Read or ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:22. How did God describe David, and what do you think He meant? [Hint: God described David as a “man after my own heart.” Not that he never failed, but David’s heart was always open to God. In spite of his failures, David was determined to serve God and accomplish His purposes.]

3. Read or ask volunteers to read Psalm 26:1-8; 139:1-4, 23-24. Why is it important to invite God to examine and expose our inner thoughts, attitudes, and concerns? [Hint: We develop character as we learn to be more honest with God, ourselves, and others. Besides, we all have things that we don’t see about ourselves. In order to change and grow personally and spiritually, we need to better understand why we do the things we do and learn to recognize our need for greater dependence on God.]

b). Looking for Motives

1. Read or ask a volunteer to read Heb 4:12-13. What does it mean that God’s Word judges or discerns the thoughts, attitudes, and intentions of the heart? How does the Word do that? [Hint: When we read or hear God’s Word, it can reveal to us the nature of our own motives – spiritual or unspiritual. It challenges us to depend on God.]
>>Guide: Explain that the activity of God and the activity of His Word are essentially the same. All standards by which we will be judged are contained in the Word. If we respond to its challenges, live according to its principles, and depend on God for help in our shortcomings, we will be in good standing so far as God’s judgment is concerned.

2. How can we demonstrate greater dependence on God when it comes to our motives? [Hint: We can spend time in His Word discovering how He wants us to think and act, and pray for His help in keeping our attitudes and actions in line with His purposes. If we put into practice what we see in the Word and hear from God in prayer, we will become more like Jesus in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.]

3. Read or ask a volunteer to read 1 Cor 4:1-5. Reading from the NIV, what did Paul mean when he said: “my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent’? [Hint: Just because we feel okay about something doesn’t necessarily make it right. Even as believers, we may unknowingly sin. Contrary to the opinions of most people in the world, we can’t just do what we think is best for us. We must serve God and know His Word because God ultimately determines the standard and makes them clear in His Word.]

c). Standing Trial
>>Guide: Explain that we have considered in past weeks how we are saved by faith through a personal relationship with Jesus. However, the Bible clearly states that we will be judged and rewarded according to our words and actions. God will not only judge our choices, but He will also consider the thoughts and attitudes — the motives — behind them. The matters of the heart will be the critical issues in God’s final assessment of our lives.

• Read or ask volunteers to read Rom 2:6-11, 16. What does it mean that God will judge our secrets? [Hint: He will determine whether our inner thoughts, attitudes, motives, and actions lined up with His standards. He will not base His rewards or punishment upon appearances, but upon the condition of our inner spirit.]

d). Being Acquitted

1. Read or ask volunteers to read Rom 8:1. What is required in order to be acquitted, or be found not guilty by God? Is this a difficult thing? Why or why not? [Hint: We must believe God’s Word — not just intellectually, but actively. We must accept what He provided for us through Jesus and follow His ways instead of our own.]

2. How does it make you feel to know that in spite of all our obvious and hidden faults and shortcomings, we can escape the punishment our sins deserve? (Guide: Encourage students to honestly express what Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness mean to them.]
>>Guide: Explain that the guarantee of all hidden acts and motives being exposed can certainly be intimidating. However, those who accept Christ’s forgiveness and entrust Him with the leadership of their lives do not have to fear God’s judgment. Instead, they can experience peace, enjoy His favour, and look forward to an eternal reward.

>> Involve Them: SEARCH ME
Distribute paper and pens or pencils and have students write the following thought and attitude related issues: i. Attitude toward those who have hurt you; ii. Attitude toward those in authority; iii. Reasons for serving or not serving God, iv. Pride in your own abilities or righteousness; v. Our thought life and issues of lust; and vi. What you watch and listen to.
>>Guide: Allow students time for personal reflection, asking God to reveal hidden thoughts and attitudes related to the categories listed above and others. Have students write out for each item a brief description of their need for God’s help in these areas. (Use this as a prayer guide while closing the study.)

>>inspire Them: Remind students THE BASIC MESSAGE of this study (pg 68), even as you explain WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in this study.

>>Invitation Option: Invite students who have not received Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and eternal life to open their heart to Him today. Pray with them as they confess their sin and invite Christ to take leadership and direct the motivation in their lives.

>>Ministry Activity: Using the categories from the previous Search Me activity, allow students a few minutes for personal prayer, asking God to reveal, remove, and redirect motives that are not pleasing.

Conclude the study by reminding students that matters in the end is knowing Jesus and developing an intimate relationship with Him. All actions by which we will be judged and rewarded should flow out of gratitude and love for Him.

>>Teacher Hint: Ask Yourself…
1. Do students understand that God cares about the thoughts and attitudes behind their actions?

2. Have they had opportunity to examine and keep their motives pure?

3. Do they understand that they do not have to fear the final judgment as long as they have Jesus as the Leader of their lives?

>>Daily Dew Drops

Mon: Let God Be Your Motive – 1 Peter 4:11

Tue: God Desires Truth — Psalm 51:6

Wed: God Weighs Motives — Prov 16:2

Thu: God Understands Every intent – 1 Chron 28:9

Fri: Be Considerate — Exodus 22:21-27

Sat: No Eye-service — Eph 6:5-8

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