Why you do what you do is more important than what you do. Jesus constantly emphasizes this.
In fact, if what you do is done with an improper motive, you will receive no credit from God for doing what you have done. People may acclaim you, but God will have nothing to do with an impure motive no matter what has been accomplished – even if it has been done in ‘His Name.’
God’s Word informs us God is no respecter of persons. The reason is two-fold. The first reason is you deserve no respect from God because you have accomplished whatever has been accomplished for the wrong reason. Your motive has been impure, self-focused, and self-driven. God has been no part of what has been done.
The second reason is if what has been done has been accomplished with a pure motive, then God rather than man receives all the glory. (Man can do no good thing aside from the power of God working in him and through him.) God deserves all credit for anything we accomplish in His Name, because apart from Him we can do nothing. We are simply tools in His hands.
Isn’t it amazing Jesus constantly projects Himself into this same motif, even as an example for us? He has made Himself totally dependent upon His Father, saying, “Apart from the Father I can do nothing of Myself.” Jesus would have us see He has placed Himself in total dependence to His Father Who is in heaven.
Here we find Jesus’ motive for teaching, which is quite apart from the motive of the Pharisees for teaching. The Pharisees taught to exert control over man. Jesus taught to set men free. What a difference!
The Pharisees strongly objected to Jesus’ teaching, and they questioned His authority for precisely this reason: if the people followed the teaching of Christ, they would no longer be under the control of the Pharisees.
Now extract this to religion versus relationship. Religion always seeks to exert control over man. To control his thoughts and his actions. This has the appearance of being a good thing. Personal relationship with Christ sets men free from these binding burdens imposed by men seeking to exert control of men according to their self-importance.