Righteousness is a heart issue, not a mind issue. The heart does not operate on motive nor is it motivated by outside pressure.
The heart is the source of all issues Proverbs 4:23, therefore it cannot be motivated, it must be changed by a source greater that itself. In the beginning It was created like Mine, pure and holy, but was changed to wicked and impure through disobedience to its creators commands.
You can try to motivate a person to do right by threatening them with divorce, pain and even death, but it is impossible to change the heart.
In many cases it will change a persons actions but from heaven’s prospective everything remains the same because, “I do not sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but I see the unchanged heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.
Many men are motivated to change their actions to get a woman to marry them and then a few months later the heart brings their actions back to their premarital state.
Many people are motivated to change their actions to be successful in business or start a family, or get a promotion, but this is not repentance because you are forcing yourself to do something you do not want to do.
In the natural it’s better than not changing at all, but from heaven’s prospective if you could have these things without changing you wouldn’t. Old things in the heart have not passed away, even though the outside looks brand new, Matthew 23:27.
I liken the heart of man to fruit trees because you can “fully recognize trees by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit worthy of admiration, but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit.
18 A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit worthy of admiration. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. 20 Therefore, you will fully know if a man’s heart has been changed by viewing his actions when there is outside motivation,” Matthew 7:16-20.
Bottom line: If you do not choose to do the right thing just because it’s right, then your heart is not recreated brand new.
If you are only doing right because of the consequences of doing wrong, it shows that you are smart, but not necessarily have a changed heart.
If you are one that says there is nothing wrong with an action as long as it does not hurt anyone, your heart is not changed yet.
You have heard lustful men say, “it doesn’t hurt to look,” but I say, whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart, and his heart has not changed,” Matthew 5:28.
All these things will be made very clear on judgment day when I separate sheep from goats, the hot from lukewarm and phony from real.
~ Jim Hammerle
Jim Hammerle began ministering with David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, founding Teen Challenge Philadelphia. 6 times pastoring a mission ship, 15 years with TV and radio, a retired businessman, Jim now helps feed Ugandan widows and orphans, helps Muslims find the Jesus who feeds them. He’s His banker and is privileged to give His money away, helping to build a Haiti orphanage and invest in USA lives.