Examining our motives

A selection of verses showing that our natural inclinations are often opposed to God's commands.

The book of Proverbs tells us how devious our thinking can be:

Proverbs 16 verses 25 - 30

25 There is a way which seems right to a man, 
but in the end it leads to death. 
26 The appetite of the labouring man labours for him; 
for his mouth urges him on. 
27 A worthless man devises mischief. 
His speech is like a scorching fire. 
28 A perverse man stirs up strife. 
A whisperer separates close friends. 
29 A man of violence entices his neighbour, 
and leads him in a way that is not good. 
30 One who winks his eyes to plot perversities, 
one who compresses his lips, is bent on evil. 

The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that we are inclined to carry on being evil because no immediate judgement follows:

Ecclesiastes 8 verse 11

11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Jesus tells us plainly what our natural inclinations are like:

Mark 7 verses 20 - 23

20 He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, 22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” 

The apostle Paul warns Timothy about the dangers of wanting to be rich:

1 Timothy 6 verses 9 - 10

9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation, a snare, and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 

These chapters have links to this theme: