What’s the Motive?

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Philippians 1:15-18 NIV

When I read the these verses a couple of days ago I read the NASB version, which says:

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

In reading this I thought for sure they were saying that it is not only the message that we speak or the good things that we do that matter, but it is also the motive behind it. I thought these verses were teaching that I could do or say something good, but if my motive/attitude about it wasn’t good then the action was useless. I thought it meant that Christ should be proclaimed in what I say and do and in my heart.

But as I read the NIV version I got a little confused. I mean, to me, it sounds like he, Paul, is saying that no matter whether it is the people with genuine motive or the people with a motive of self ambition preaching the gospel is still being preached. Of course, if that is what these verses are saying, I then take away from these verses that God can and will use our brokenness to change people’s lives. I mean all He has to work with is brokenness because we are all sinners.

I still think our motives should matter, but if we happened to fail one day and teach a Bible lesson, but in our hearts we are just concern about looking good because we taught an awesome lesson, God can still use His Word that we are preaching to reach someone’s heart. … I don’t know… What do think? What should I be learning from these verses? What is Paul trying to say?


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