Timeless truths from Philippians 1:15-18.
Motives. Surely we shrink away from judging someone’s motives. Yet, Paul declares that there were those who “proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives.” There you have it!! He called them out based on their motives. He went even further declaring that they did so, “thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” So, Paul declared that their motives were not only selfish but then he went further by declaring the motive behind their motive. He saw their preaching as vindictive! Wow, that is strong. I wonder how many believers who are so quick to call others out for being “haters” would see the Apostle Paul as a “hater.”
I don’t imagine it is a good practice to judge someone’s motives but obviously Paul not only did so but his doing so is recorded in Scripture. Here is a man who has a godly perspective of his circumstances and a discernment about the actions of others. Now this all begs the question, how did Paul know their motives? Surely Paul is not being ungodly. Paul no doubt knew that others were preaching and he also knew their reason. How did he know? Their talk! People will usually reveal their motives through their mouths. Few people can contain themselves. This is self evident to most reasonable people. It is a very basic premise for police investigations. People do things because of a motivation. How do the police know the motives of others? They listen to the evidence.
We are not to be preoccupied with the motives of others. Rather we are to be totally occupied with our own motives. God will judge believers as the Bema Seat of Jesus based on motives.
“Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,” Philippians 1:15-18 NASB