Cain and Abel, the true story of the first two children of Adam and Eve. It's not a pretty story because it shows how quickly the sinful nature had penetrated to the heart of the second generation of humanity.
Evidently Adam and Eve being clothed with the skin of animals meant that those animals died. God teaching the first couple that sacrifices must be made for sins and fellowship with God. So, the boys were born and one was righteous, Abel, and the other was not, so when they offered sacrifice at the harvest Abel knew to bring a blood sacrifice. Cain, the first born, knew better. Obviously Adam and Eve needed food from seed plants so Cain helped cultivate the ground with his father. Abel came along and he was tasked with the flocks, probably with his mother.
Cain was determined to bring some of his crops. Certainly he was proud of being the best farmer (outside of his dad) and it had all sprung up because of his labors. He had allowed sin to cover his motives thinking that God would be glad that he had tithed of his work. But God saw his wrong motive and did not accept his offering. Cain became angry but God offered acceptance based on doing what was right. Cain was obstinate, refusing to do what was right. It was over, Abel did right; Cain did wrong. Hebrews 11:4 and 1 John 3:12 affirm this.
He stewed for a while as sin hardened his heart and controlled him. Then he decided to make a real blood sacrifice…with Abel as the lamb. He attacked him and killed him and then denied he knew where Abel was. Cain was "cursed and banished from the ground…no longer [would it] yield good crops for you." (Genesis 4:11-12) The thing he loved the most and was most proud of was taken away from him. He was made a homeless wanderer all because he wouldn't do what God wanted him to do to be right with Him.
Jude declared concerning false prophets, "They follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother." (Jude 11) They offer death, deception and rebellion as did Cain.
The charge made to Solomon by David was, "learn to know God…worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought." (1 Chronicles 28:9) Solomon said later, "The Lord's light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive." That's a Spiritual laser! (Proverbs 20:27) He had already said, "People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives." (Proverbs 16:2) A "self-exam" needs righteousness to accompany it.
A motive is the intent of the heart. The Greek word "boulas" is used for "motive" in 1 Corinthians where it says, "He [God] will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives." (4:5) This word means "counsel or purpose." God sees the determinations of the mind because He sees each heart clearly. Motives can be false or genuine, impure or pure and God knows the difference. James under inspiration said of certain believers who were jealous and selfish, "when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure." (James 4:3)
How do you determine whether your motives are good or evil? Certainly being close to God and worshipping Him alone is a good start. The "Real" has to be well known so that the counterfeit is easily identified. In what ways can you get better at understanding your own motives?Key Takeaway: Motives are the real reason you do what you do. Making sure they are pure, genuine and selfless rather than selfish will mean constant examinations of your own heart.