Bargaining chips. We all have them and we all use them. We even go so far as to try and use them with God. "Lord, you know that I've committed my life to serve you, so could you just....." "God, I go to church every week so if you could just do...." "Lord, if only you would do answer my prayer, then I will...."
You can fill in the blank with what ever chip you think you have. But the reality is that God knows our hearts and he knows our motives.
Zechariah 7:1-7 (HCSB) ~
In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord’s favor by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Hosts as well as the prophets, “Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?”
Then the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these 70 years, did you really fast for Me? When you eat and drink, don’t you eat and drink simply for yourselves? Aren’t these the words that the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure, along with its surrounding cities, and when the southern region and the Judean foothills were inhabited?”
The people asked the priests if God wanted them to fast as they had been doing. It was a subtle, or not so subtle, reminder to God that they had been faithfully fasting 4 times a year for 70 years. And yet, God knew their motives. He knew that they were not doing anything for the Lord, but to look righteous in their own eyes.
So many times I can think that God should grant me favor because I've sacrificed all these years to serve Him in ministry, and yet, God looks at my heart motives. Am I truly serving the Lord or serving myself?
I want to encourage you today to look at the things you do for the Lord and evaluate whether they truly are for Him or to gain some bargaining chips. Why do you come to church? Why do you have devotions? Why do you do a particular ministry?
Often, our motives can start out the right way and then deviate from their original intent. Let's make sure we all we do for the Lord is truly for Him. Any bargaining chips I try and cash in are absolutely useless because God is looking straight into my heart and can see the true condition of it.