What motivates you?
What motivates you…
…to stay in shape?
…to reach your goals?
If we all compared our answers to these questions, we would find a wide variety of responses. We are all different. We all have different things that motivate us. And that is fine when it comes to things that don’t hold an eternal value. But what about when it comes to the one thing that does make a difference in our eternity? What motivates you to follow Christ?
I began to think about this question while preparing my lessons for our current Bible study series at The Storehouse. I began to think about the way I have often presented what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Sadly, I have to confess that I can recall many times that I have used “tactics” that could be categorized as guilt based. “If you just try harder to read your Bible every day.” “If you just loved Jesus more you would be a better Christian.” “If you weren’t such a hypocrite your witness would be better.” Of course those statements were never said word for word. But in a roundabout way, I think I have been guilty of trying to coerce students into “acting” like better Christians.
I think we all battle this wrong sense of motivation from time to time. We tell ourselves all types of things. “If I just loved Jesus more, I would read my Bible more.” “If I was a better Christian I would pray more.” “I must be a rotten Christian or I would witness more.” All of these are statements that are based out of a sense of guilt that we just don’t love Christ enough. The truth is, we can never love Christ enough to live the life God has called us to.
“For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Did you get that? Christ’s love for us compels us or motivates us to act. That is the basis of the relationship. And Thank God, that my eternal security is rooted in HIS love for me rather than my love for Him. Because MY love fails at times, MY commitments waiver. But HIS love never fails; HIS commitment to us never waivers.
Our motivation to live the Christian life has to be based on the perfect love of Jesus. It can’t be based on guilt. The more we realize the depth of the love that Jesus has for us, the deeper we will fall in love with Him. And the deeper we fall in love with Him, the more we will want to live a life that reflects that love.
Ministers, we cannot guilt people into living for Christ. We must lead them to fall deeply in love with Him and life changes will follow. And we do this by living that type of life out in front of them.