And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works– Hebrews 10:24
Are we letting our lights so shine before men that they see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)? That is often the best way to motivate others to love and good works. It is vitally important that the works we are seen doing are not being done by us just to be seen. The motives of our hearts, minds, and spirits, must be clean and pure else we are doing the exact opposite of what Hebrews 10:24 above directs us to do.
Our motives and intentions are easily discerned by others whether we can see it or not ourselves! Am I giving food to the homeless because I genuinely care for them or is it so I can be seen by others and thus be rewarded with praise for my perceived selflessness? Doing a lot of street ministry myself, I witness many types of people coming out to fight for life and justice. Their motives might as well be taped on their foreheads or the writing on the signs they are holding replaced with their true intentions. You can see in their interactions with others where their hearts truly lie. Perhaps at one time they had pure intentions but they have allowed their hearts to grow cold and it surely shows!
Of course, not everyone can see these true motives and in their search for someone to look up to, someone to lift up- because we are made to worship- they will praise and hold in high regard these perceived ‘heroes of the faith’ only to be let down by them eventually! Men will always let us down- intentionally or unintentionally- because there is only one we should look up to, praise, and hold in the highest of esteem- the one that is perfect- the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ! When we do not do that, and we hold up man instead, we will find ourselves disappointed and many of us will even turn away from seeking the Lord, turn away from the little faith we possess! Or, we will grow colder and colder in our faith and become like the person described in 1 Corinthians 13:1, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Our hearts hardened and our lights dimmed by darkness! We may have knowledge of many deep spiritual matters but be blinded due to our refusal to rightly place our faith and trust in the Lord God above our natural tendency to regard man above Him!
How can we prevent that from happening to us? How can we be sure that we are letting our lights shine before man with pure hearts and Godly motives and, as a result, are provoking one another to love and good works? It truly is simple! It is so simple that many, many, many of us will refuse to believe it or do it! We think it must be more complicated than this! Rest assured that it is not! We must realize, and always remember, that those we are serving in the love of the Lord are no different than us- it is only by the grace of God that we have been saved! We must pray to have humility, to have love for one another in the form that Christ has for us!
We simply must pray without ceasing to be conformed into the true image of Jesus Christ! We then must obey what the Lord tells us in response through His Holy Word the Bible! We must believe Him, and we must apply His teachings to ourselves no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how painful, no matter what- we are called to deny ourselves and follow Him. If we make this our goal, our focus, to love the Lord; to meditate upon His Word; and to be obedient to Him in word and deed we will succeed in carrying out Hebrews 10:24 and Matthew 5:16, without conscious thought on our part, to the glory of God the Father and for the edification of the His saints!