The Motivation of Doing Good

In the book Faith Acts, Dillon and I wrote about our work in the homeless community through Relevant Hope, and we focused on James 1:22 as a guiding portion of Scripture that helped us put our faith in action. We truly believe that those who are in Christ will live out their faith both in personal piety and expression of love toward others. Good works shouldn’t be done out of a sense of duty or a begrudging attitude. Intent is just as important as obedience, and Jesus spoke to that in his parable of the two brothers (Matthew 21:28-32).

When you put your faith in action, you are acting on what you believe. You breathe the air around you because you believe it is safe. You eat the food you do because you believe it is beneficial. You believe that if you pull out in front of another vehicle on the road, it will hit you, and that is why you wait for it to pass before pulling out. Your behavior is directly linked to what you believe.

Do you believe that every person you meet has intrinsic value? If you believe the Bible, then you must answer that, “Yes.”

The Bible repeatedly affirms the value of each person because everyone bears the image of God.

More importantly though is whether you treat people with the value the Bible says they have and you claim to believe?

Do you look down on other people because they are dirty, loud, or smelly? Do you avoid walking next to someone on the sidewalk because they look like a stereotype based on the color of their skin, the style of their hair, or the way they wear their clothes?

When you see someone in need, are you the person James talked about who will wish you well (“I’ll pray for you”), but you don’t actually do anything help meet their need?

I don’t expect you to change your behavior because I said you should be acting a certain way. The truth is, you should be acting according to the person you are.

A sinner will act like a sinner; a saint will act like a saint.

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That doesn’t mean that a sinner can’t or won’t do things that are good. The difference between the good works of a sinner and those of a saint is the reason they do them. A saint has been changed into a new creation. A saint’s mind is transformed, and they are adopted into the family of God for good works. In other words:

Good works are a natural part of what we do as people who’ve been changed by Jesus.

Question your motives. 

Scripture promises that we will be known by our fruit. Fruit grows out of a vine or tree that has grown up from a seed that was planted, nurtured, and given time to grow and mature.

Let the seed that has been planted in you grow into a mature tree that yields fruit.

Question:  Why are you doing, or not doing, the good works in your life? Is your philanthropy self-centered? You can leave a comment by clicking here.



I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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