Intention matters. Studies have shown that plants that are talked to lovingly and soothingly are proven to grow better, even when all other conditions (water, food, sunlight) are equal.
If you are doing the right things, why does your intention or motive for doing it matter? And how often do we really examine our own intentions for doing what we normally do?Working out is healthy. It’s good for our heart, our energy level, our sleep, and a thousand other things.
But what if you are running to look better than a certain someone, or to prove to someone that you are good enough.
Exercising in this situation would still be good (having positive benefits), but it would not be godly.
Intentions change everything. Intentions are everything.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
If I am nice to my boss but only because I want a promotion, if I join the committee but only because I want to look good, if I coach my kid’s team but only so he can get playing time, if I run the marathon but only to prove my father wrong, I gain nothing.
I Corinthians 13 is about love, but it is also about our intentions. If our intentions are something other than love: loving ourselves (gracefully), loving others (earnestly), and loving God (wholeheartedly), we have nothing. We can win that promotion, the recognition, the trophy or the race, but without the full-on intention of love, we have failed.
We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that doing the right thing is enough. We can fool others for a while, and ourselves if we are really clever, but our Heavenly Father knows our hearts. If we don’t know our hearts, we should take a careful look.
What are you doing for love? What are you doing for gain?
Without love, there is no gain.