Motivation: The Most Important Thing in Life
Taken from Fatherly Talk
Motivation: The Most Important Thing in Life
In this present life that can sometimes get so busy with people hustling and bustling through all the activities, people tend to be oriented towards results or goals rather than motivation. The ‘what’ we do and the ‘how’ we do it occupies the main consciousness of most people. From the spiritual point of view, it is more important ‘why’ we want to do what we do or how we do some things. For this reason, it sometimes takes time for God and His angels to bring about an answer to prayer, not because He could not do it sooner, but rather because the person concern has a lot of work to do to get the motivation correct. It sometimes takes years or decades for a person to yield their motivation to God.
Moses took forty long years before his prideful desire to be seen as the deliverer of his brethren was eradicated from his life. In his Egyptian pomp and pride, he killed the Egyptian guard thinking that with that act of protecting his brethren, they would have understood that by his hand God would deliver them (Acts 7:25). His was greatly learned in all the Egyptian wisdom and was mighty in deeds (Acts 7:22). The book of Josephus (a Jewish historical book) records of successful wars fought by Moses (Book 2 chapter 10). What could be Moses’ motivation when he killed the Egyptian or visited his brethren constantly (Acts 7:23)? I am sure that there is some level of compassion and empathy but the central motivation was that he would be seen and known as their deliverer. And this is not acceptable in God’s sight. Thus God allowed Moses to enter a wilderness period for forty years, till he had no more motivation to be the superman for Israel. In fact he became so contented as a herdsman that he preferred if God sent someone else (Exodus 4:10-15). Moses became the very opposite of what he was, even denying his eloquence when he was mighty in word and deeds before. He had no more self ambition. And this is what God can use to make a man great in Him, for then the instrument He uses will always give God the glory for all things accomplished.
Paul, then known as Saul, before he became a great apostle of God was a man full of pride and learning. He admitted he was a persecutor, a blasphemer and an insolent man who obtained mercy only because he did it ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13). He thought that he was serving God in being zealous for the law but it was no different from all the pride that the Pharisees demonstrated when confronted by Jesus (Acts 22:3; Matthew chapter 23). The grand motivation of the Pharisees is pride of self. They wanted the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogue, greetings in the market places. How different is this from the modern desire of people to be in the best clubs, seen in high society, recognized and adulated by all of society? It is the same thing clothed in different modern perspectives. God cannot use anyone greatly until He has thoroughly cleansed all their motivation so that all they ever want is Jesus, Jesus and more Jesus and God in their lives.
At the same time, it would be wrong to assume that just because we have the right motivation everything is going to be alright. The right motivation needs to be accompanied by the right methods. We learn that lesson from David bringing in the ark the first time in the wrong way (using a cart instead of being hand carried by priests) (2 Samuel 6:1-10). David’s heart and motivation was right but the methods used can never be justified or compromised just because the reason for doing it is right. The end never justifies the means. We can never excuse our theology or methodology because we have the right heart. There are far too many sincere people who are sincerely wrong in their theology and their methodology. At the same time, there are people who are studious in the Word and seek out the right methods and principles diligently but they never got their motivations right. They fall flat on their faces after many attempts to get the results promised and end up thinking that perhaps their principles or methods could be wrong, when it is biblically correct. Both these two groups of people (those who have the motivation right but methods wrong, and those whose motivations are wrong but whose methods are right) end up in the same depressing camp of those who are discouraged, down and backslidden away from God because what they believe did not work for them. They end up questioning God and in the end gave up on spirituality, church and God altogether. Of course, when things don’t work people do get discouraged for hope deferred makes the heart grow faint (Proverbs 13:12).
Since much has been taught on the correct principles and biblical perspectives, we also need to emphasize that nothing will work when we apply the correct theology, principles and methods if our motivation is incorrect. This is always the starting place in God’s working with us in the Spiritual World and also the main reason why a lot of prayers are delayed. Only God can see out true motivation which is sometimes even hidden from our selves. And sometimes humans can misunderstand and misread our motivations even when they are clear and clean. David was rebuked by his elder brother when he spoke genuinely and sincerely about Goliath challenging his right to come against the people of God. His elder brother Eliab thought that his motivation was just a boyish desire to see a great battle and accuse him of pride and insolence (1 Samuel 17:28). God saw that David did not have pride nor insolence and used him mightily in destroying Goliath. David in his heart only had God’s honour and reputation in mind.
Although not excusing the wrong methodology, there is a plus point for those whose motivations are genuine and sincere in God, in that God does make more provision and grace for them for they do mean to do the right thing and serve God. Despite all his faults and imperfections, David was still a man after God’s heart and God used him mightily (1 Samuel 13:14). The apostle Paul thought he was being zealous unto God using the wrong evil methods to get rid of the Christians whom he thought were pests to the concept of God that he had, and God showed him mercy for that (besides the prayers of Stephen)(1 Timothy 1:13). Motivation is at the heart of all things in this life and the Spiritual World is more concern for ‘why’ we do things more than just the ‘what’ or ‘how.’ And of course, the main motivation for doing anything should be love towards God and towards everyone. There is something powerful released when the spiritual gifts are operated in love – Paul calls that the more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).
Besides the above, there is also an emptiness a person feels when they are motivated by any other thing but love. If a person’s motives are for fame and recognition and they achieved it, it feels hollow and empty though the applause of men may be loud. If the person’s motivation is money and things, it feels empty when they have sacrificed all in order to obtain these perishable earthly things. If the person’s motivation is pleasure and they succeed in procuring it, it feels so shallow and unsatisfying without the permanent sense of happiness that they thought they could have. To truly have the greatest satisfaction in this life, the greatest pleasure in this life, the greatest sense of achievement in this life, all one has to do is to flow out of the motivation of love towards God or love towards another, and when one has done it all out of true love, there is a sense of joy, a sense of pleasure, a sense of satisfaction that passes any experience possible in this life. It is the same sense of joy and love and peace that God has when He loves us unconditionally. We become one with God and experience His pleasure when we love as He loved.
All that people do in this life is actually the pursuit of happiness. People want families because they want love and happiness. People want success because they thought the success would give them happiness. People want things because they thought things would make them happy. People do all that they do in life because directly or indirectly, they want a life that they could feel and enjoy happiness and peace. Happiness however is found only in love and not in outward things. Happiness for many people is dependent on outward circumstances but love starts feeling happy without the outward changing yet. True happiness is found when one loves God with all their heart, minds, souls and strength. True happiness is found when one is able to love another person or persons with the same love that God has for them. Only the motivation of love in our hearts can bring true happiness to our hearts.
None of the heroes or heroines in the Bible are perfect in all their ways, their understanding or methods. But all of them end up with at least a perfection of motives in their reason for living. Abraham told lies and mess up some things, but he did love God. Moses murdered and had quite a temper, but he did love God and love people enough to intercede for them when God said that He would destroy them and start over again with Moses. Joshua made some mistakes in his campaign to conquer the land of Canaan but he did love God and put Him first when the pressure was on. David committed adultery, plotted murders and kept some grudges but he did love God and always sought to put Him first, quickly repenting when he knew he was off tracked. Peter was imperfect and boisterous in his ways but he did love Jesus in his own way, sometimes over estimating his love for Jesus. Paul regretted all his sins against the church and causing the deaths of some but he did have a general love for God which become a deep love for Jesus as he came to know Jesus. He also had a deep love for people.
God always look at the heart and not any other part of our being when He deals with us. For this reason, we must also learn to be like God and not look at people in their outward ways but just keep looking at their hearts and love them the way God does. There is still no excuse for any wrongs done as we see God dealing with the people who loved Him throughout the Bible. But we do see Him dealing with them tenderly and patiently. Having the right motivation can never excuse us if we do the wrong thing but it is always the right place to start and also the best place to be; for no matter how many mistakes a person with the right motivation makes, you know that in the end that person will fare well because all things do work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
In all of life, in all that we do, in each and every moment of our heartbeat, we must always do all things and conduct out lives in such a manner so that we do it out of the love of God and love for others. The next time you are thinking of doing anything, ask yourself, not just ‘what’ or ‘how’ but ‘why’ are you about to do what you are thinking of doing. In the end when we finally finish our lives on earth, only that which is done out of a love for God and love for people counts. Everything else is burnt and unacceptable. Let us build out lives not on wood, hay and stubble but rather on the precious, precious love of Jesus which He has poured into our lives.
In Christ Jesus
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