Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we the things we do every day?  How much would be different if we know there would be no tomorrow?  What we believe about the future determines how we live today.

People paint their houses so they will be able to sell them in the future. 
People take blood pressure medicine to avoid serious health problems. 
People change the oil in their cars because they need them for future use.
People go to school so they can get a job and support themselves. 
People diet and work out so their body will be attractive & healthy.

Likewise, what we believe happens after we die should determine how we live this life.  As the apostle Paul said, if we believe that there is no life after death, we might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) IF there is nothing beyond this death to prepare for, why be concerned about living a pure life, helping others sacrificially, getting to know God better and doing what pleases Him? Why not live a totally self-centered life, focused on pleasure, applause, and comfort?  After all, as some fallaciously say, “you only live once.”  (I looked up this quote on the Internet and it gave 7,810,000 results!)

But IF we believe that this life is only the entryway to an eternal existence–either enjoying unimaginable delights in God’s presence OR unrelenting misery away from Him—this is what will determine and motivate what we do here and now.  The short-term costs of hard work, delayed gratification, and even suffering (along with the many delights the Lord furnishes along the way) won’t be worth comparing the glory that we’ll experience when we finally get Home!  Which will it be?  We have a lot of choices to make every day. 

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

God’s “Secret Service”

Did you know that God has “secret service”?  No, it’s not a team of armed men protecting Him.  (Peter, Jesus’ only self-appointed protector, proved that his aim was pretty bad.)  The “secret service” that Jesus recruits is all about our serving Him without calling attention to ourselves.  In Matthew 6 this principle is applied to giving, prayer, and fasting.  The key is motivation:  If my reason for doing things like this is human approval, they’re worthless in God’s eyes and I get no reward from Him.  What brings God’s approval is acts of “secret service” meant for His eyes only. 

Matthew 5:16 seems at first to contradict this because there Jesus tells us, “let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”!  The difference, I think, is motivation:  If I am doing it for God and others just happen to observe, God is glorified and pleased.

One more thing about “secret service.”  Those who guard important officials are focused on the welfare of the one they are assigned to protect—even if it costs their own lives.  In this way, my service for God IS like that:  My life is to be all about Him, no matter what happens to me.

…everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ … I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  (Philippians 3:7, 13)

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