Like Hebrews 4:12 says, "the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
We discussed how to discern whether we do good things out of good intentions (in order to honor God) or out of normal, wordly intentions (to feed our ego, to feel approved by others, to receive attention, etc). Sometimes it's hard to tell. We talked about cases where we are tempted to do good things for our own benefit or to gain the approval of those around us. We also listed some questions that we can ask to help us determine what our real intentions are (Would I still do this if no one were going to notice? Do I usually give to those who can offer me thanks/something in return or do I give to those who can truly give me nothing in return?) It was a very challenging study and we were left with homework: to identify situations where we are tempted to do good things to glorify ourselves rather than God, who truly deserves the glory! Who's approval am I seeking - my neighbor Fred or the God of the universe? Hmm...
I'm pretty thrilled to be able to participate in a local congregation that will help me to examine and judge myself according to God's word so I can purify myself before Him. Hooray!
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.