Our world is filled with self-help books, books on how to get rich, how to lose weight, and how to have everything you “deserve”. Getting rich is a good thing as long as we do it with the motivation of giving it all away in the service of Jesus. Losing weight is a worthwhile goal, so long as we recognize we can better serve Christ if we are healthy. Trying to better your self is noble, provided you do so with the aim of becoming more like Jesus and drawing others to Him. It’s all a question of our motivation. Why do we do the things that we do? Are we seeking power and prestige or servitude and humility? Is our hope to bring recognition and honor to our self or to Jesus Christ?
Motivation is a tricky thing, and we can easily deceive ourselves. It’s easy to begin with one motivation only to see it slowly morph over time into something entirely different. We see this in politics all the time: an idealistic young person runs for office in hopes of making positive changes in their world. After some time in office they seem to forget why they are there and instead begin to seek more and more personal power. What changed? They are still doing the same job, but they are doing it with an entirely different motivation from when they began. What we do is often not nearly as important as why we do it.
The same rule applies to following Jesus. It’s really not so much what we do; it’s why we are doing it. It’s not about who we become in the eyes of the world, but who we become in Christ. God sees our heart and our motivation. He knows exactly who we are. We must constantly be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing the things I am doing?” It is important that we purposefully do all that we do for His honor and to lead others to know Him. Whatever else we achieve in life is meaningless when compared to leading one lost soul to Christ.
Motivation is what gets us out of bed in the morning (or not). When we are living a life fully focused on Jesus, getting up is easy. We have a clear purpose and mission. It’s really hard to be lazy or depressed when you know each day brings the opportunity to serve God. Who are we to have been given such a high privilege? I shake my head when I hear people say that we “deserve a nice house” or that we “deserve to be happy”. That’s not at all Biblical. What we deserve is to go to hell and spend eternity separated from Christ. That is the reality, according to Scripture, of what we deserve. From that knowledge it becomes even more breath taking to realize that, as followers of Jesus, we not only get to spend eternity with Him, but right now we have the opportunity to collaborate with Him in this exercise we call life.
Having the opportunity to serve my Lord is more than enough motivation for me. I want to live as He lived and die like He died, having finished the race with the knowledge that I did all I could for the Kingdom of God. Love God, love people; this is the perfect motivation.
What motivates you each day? Are you driven by a healthy fear and reverence for all that Christ has done for you? Do you realize that you have been delivered from that which you truly deserved and instead are being given what no one apart from Jesus Himself actually deserved? Don’t chase after “things” that will fade away in this life, money and fame and prestige. These may motivate for awhile but they will always leave you hungry for more. Only the pure motivation of serving Jesus brings lasting joy and peace. Get motivated for His sake and begin to help building His kingdom here on earth.