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It is hampering my growth

One thing is said, another is meant. One thing is done, but the intention behind it is completely contrary to the "appearance". At times, we are presented with individuals who seem to have an "ulterior motive" in their actions. In other words, what is presented is really a "mask" for something being done to deceive the individual on the receiving end of the action. This is very dangerous ground for us - simply because we really don't know what to expect, or when to trust. When expectations are not clear, or trust is not fully established, we can get ourselves into all kinds of pickles!

Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road. (Proverbs 21:8)

We would probably call an "ulterior" motive a "second motive" - one which is usually a little selfish or self-centered in nature. These motives result in a life that ends in a tangled mess! Not my idea of where I want to be living, but I have known my share of tangles! In fact, when I am faced with these kind of individuals, I tend to pull back from relationship with them - simply because I cannot trust their intentions and they have a tendency to "complicate" my life way more than I want! Don't get me wrong - I don't always have the purest motives myself! I just try my best not to purposely work in the realm of "secret" or "hidden" agendas! God is perfectly aware of our "hidden" motives - those we'd call "selfish" or "self-centered" in nature. Times such as when we ask God to bless us with a new car and what we are really saying is, "God, I don't like the one you have already blessed me with!" The desire is genuine, but the motive is a little self-centered.

People who purposefully set out to deceive by their actions not only leave their own lives in a mess, they leave the lives of those they touch in a mess of tangles. They are never free from the tangled mess themselves because any life of deception requires a whole lot of effort to keep up the facade of untruths used to mask the reality of what lies just beneath the surface! I think these are the individuals God was "aiming at" in the verse above - those who hide their guilt behind a facade live in tangles and leave others in tangles. Pure motives keep us on a straight path. God understands our "bent" toward selfish motives, but he expects as we become aware of these motives, we will hurriedly lay them at the foot of the altar and have them changed by the touch of his grace. If we are finding our life caught up in a jumble of tangles as a result of the deceptiveness of our actions and thoughts, we might need some altar time to untangle the mess we've created!

In examining the word "tangle", I found it not only relates to the mess of inter-twisted parts, but also it carries the idea of being caught or held in a trap or snare. Mixed motives actually serve to entrap us; snaring us in their grip. There is a 'hampering effect' which occurs anytime the motives we choose to obey are those which are not pure in nature. They hamper our growth, relationships, and even our access to God. Perhaps this is why God places such emphasis on purity of heart! His goal is to never have anything keep us from straight-forward, immediate, and unhindered access to him! Mixed motives deceive - pure motives open the doors of trust. Mixed motives ensnare - pure motives allow freedom in relationship. Mixed motives will overgrow if never placed in check! We need to be constantly examining our motives - not in light of our own perceptions - but in the light of the Cross. The Cross exposes what is just beneath the surface - revealing exactly what it is we are "covering over". Never forget that it is at the altar we are altered. Never "under-value" the time you spend at the altar of God's grace! In the end, what emerges is pure and good. Just sayin!

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