Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What Motivates You?

What motivates you to live a Christian life? Is it guilt? Guilt comes into our lives and tells us that we are bad people. Having guilt makes us believe that we are not good enough to receive God’s gift, and so we begin to live out a plan that will make us good enough to achieve the gift. The problem is that we are not strong enough to keep going, and we fall, and guilt again condemns us for being failures and not loving God like we should. We are trapped in a vicious cycle of sin and work, and we never make any progress in our relationship with God.

Perhaps you aren’t motivated because of guilt, but your motivation is one of fear. You are fear the consequences of sin, and so you are constantly worried if you are doing the right things or even enough of the right things. “Am I going to church enough?” or “Am I praying long enough?” Not only are we worried about what we are doing we begin to see every bad thing in our lives as God’s judgment on us for our sins. The unexpected bill, the car accident, the sickness, or the job loss all are interpreted as punishment for sin. So we discipline our selves to do better, to spend more time with Him, and in the end nothing changes. We are still afraid.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. ~ 1 John 4:7-10; NLT

The greatest motivation to live a Christian life is love. Not our love for God, but God’s love for us. The reason we should go to worship services during the week, the reason we should pray, the reason we should study the Bible, the reason we should extend a helping hand, and the reason we give is in response to God’s love for us. Any other motivation is inadequate and will continually lead us to disappointment.

If we are to live this type of life we will need to constantly be reminded of the ways God has shown us His love. We need to focus the blessings He has given us, and the supreme blessing is Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we are assured of an eternal relationship with God. Because of God’s love for us He has made it possible for us to come to Him. That knowledge alone should constantly motivate us to live a life loving God and loving people.

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