Motivation

I think it’s safe to say, in general, I don’t feel like serving God. I don’t think anybody does. We, as fallen human beings, are motivated to become distracted with other things, so that we don’t have to come face-to-face with our holy Creator. We don’t like Him. We hate the way He makes us feel. We want to feel good about ourselves—not look at ourselves the way God sees us—sinful and disobedient.

God calls us to action—He calls us to obey His commands. However, because He doesn’t force us to obey Him, we think we can get away with not doing so. Christians may even believe they have the freedom to disobey Him, because our salvation is already secure and that His laws don’t apply to us anymore. We would rather concentrate on enjoying life and interacting with people than worry about rules or what God wants us to do. I think we’re scared that God wants us to go and do something completely foreign to us—that He wants us to leave all of the things we love behind: our family, friends, possessions, home…

Society (and the devil, I’m sure) has ingrained in our culture the idea that no action is worthwhile without the emotion to back it up. If we aren’t motivated by the right reasons, we shouldn’t do what it is we’re thinking of doing. Emotion first, then action. Don’t do anything, unless you mean it.

But God says differently. He says, “Obey me.” Period. Your love for Him and the duties He’s given you will come later. Whether we feel like it or not (and I assure you—we won’t), God wants us to obey Him—pray to Him, study His Word, serve Him, obey His commands. We do it—not because we feel the urge to do so—but because we love Him enough to obey Him. We serve Him because we love Him—not because we want to.

Due to the very nature of my human body, I don’t feel like praying before going to bed (or any other time of day). My body wants to sleep at night. During the day, it can’t stand still long enough to have a meaningful dialog with God. I don’t have time to read God’s Word, because I have to get ready for work in the mornings, and after I come home, I have to get stuff done before going to bed—not to mention my Internet and TV time. I can’t go on a mission trip, because I only get two weeks of vacation from work. I would rather use those weeks to go to the beach. I can’t quit my job and do full-time ministry, because I can’t possibly make enough money doing that to pay the bills. I have a future to plan for, after all, and I want to stay in northern Virginia, make lots of money, and have a nice house with a nice family.

Forget all that. God wants us to obey Him—to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. No excuses. “If you love me, keep my commandments. If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” He doesn’t say, “Obey me, if you feel like it or if you have the right motivation.” He just says, “Obey Me. If you love me, obey Me. Follow Me. No excuses.”

I don’t really feel like shuffling my life around, but there’s only one thing that’s important in this world. My money and my time should be devoted to it. Stop screwing around and wasting your resources, Michael. Go to God, figure out what He wants you to do, and do it. Doesn’t matter how I feel or what’s motivating me. Maybe it’s pride that motivates me. Maybe it’s shame. Maybe it is in fact love for God that makes me turn to Him now. It doesn’t really matter. As a fallen man, I will never be able to do something out of purely good intentions or pure love for God. It’s impossible. There will always be sin mixed with everything I do. But the point is—that shouldn’t stop me. That shouldn’t stop you. God knows our motivations are messed up. That’s why He makes it really easy for us. Obey Me. That’s it.

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