What’s Your Motivation?

motivationHave you ever felt inadequate? Have you ever sensed that no matter what you did or how well you did it, that you would never quite measure up? If so, you are not alone.

Growing up, I was constantly reminded that I was worthless and would never amount to anything. My failures only seemed to showcase my inability to succeed, whereas even in those moments that would offer a glimmer of hope, the bad had already far outweighed the good.

Fast-forwarding to today, as an adult, I find myself constantly set out to prove myself to somebody, my mother, my boss, my wife, and my pastors—all an audience to be pleased.

Don’t get me wrong; our desire for approval and acceptance is fundamentally rooted in who we have been created to be, as relational beings. And I am certainly not saying that ambition in and of itself is a bad thing—not necessarily. But at the end of the day, we must all ask ourselves: “What’s my motivation?”

If approval from others is what motivates the direction our lives take, then we will never become more than just another identity-confused people-pleaser. If people’s perception of us is the measure by which we determine our own self-worth, then we have deviated from the image of God, and capitulated to the image of man.

God has created us, in His image, to be motivated by the magnitude of His mercy, and to marvel at the splendor of His majesty. God has created us to reflect His glory throughout the earth. We are the crowns of creation. So we mustn’t get caught up in the struggle to be like Christ (I am merely speaking of the lifeless act itself—religiosity), or to be like anyone else for that matter, but rather captivated by the acknowledgment that we are new creatures, called to enjoy God forever, and to rediscover the life that He intends for us to live, with Him. For it is the Christ that God sent to accomplish what no man could ever achieve, to lay down His very life for the sake of mankind, for the salvation of sinners.

God’s motivation to crush His one and only Son was His great love for the world, and His desire to see us reconciled to Him. Therefore, beloved, we ought to “love because He first loved us.”

What more motivation do we need?

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The Joyless Joys of Godlessness

Jobless man

I ought to be satisfied by now. You would assume that after years of filling in the ________’s of my heart’s desires, that they would have ultimately produced a joy that quenched the inner thirsting of my soul. Yet, here I am. Still wanting. Still dissatisfied with my 9-to-5 little prison.

Still, unhappily married while staring at Jezebel’s digital screen of pornographic false-promises, hoping to find solace through the sensations of extra-marital sex while, still, yearning.

It’s like I am running a marathon on a treadmill, expecting to get somewhere.

I work harder, and longer, so I can buy more stuff, and yet even when I have more stuff, I hardly enjoy it.

Sound familiar?

What’s missing? What’s missing from this mirage called “life”?

If my senses were created to dance in delight, by nature, then my Creator has created me to enjoy the world wherein He has placed me.

But how?

Him. He is the answer to every delight. 

For every good and perfect gift comes from Him[1] and it is by Him and through Him that we are created to share in the goodness of His splendor. To be partakers of that which He considers joyful: His creation.

Life, without Him, makes no sense. Apart from God we are abnormal creatures, deceived into believing in a happily-ever-after apart from God, that only God can every truly provide. After all, without Him, there wouldn’t even be happiness at all. God created happiness.

Sex without God is good. But sex with God—framed within His intended marital-design—is better. Food without God is good, but a steak eaten to the glory of God, is better.

In life, you find happiness, but true and everlasting joy only comes from God.

If a life separated from God is devoid of the Spirit, and the fruit produced by the Spirit is joy[2], then a godless man is a joyless man. The joyless joy of a godless man is only temporary pleasure, followed by the weightiness of eternal dissatisfaction (Hell—and separation from God).

But the joy produced by the Spirit, is a joy inaugurated by the joy of our heavenly Father, who found pleasure—or, joy—in crushing His one and only Son, for His glory, and for our salvation.[3] And, make no mistake; there is joy in His salvation![4]

God has redeemed us to enjoy Him and the life that He has given to us. Only in Christ, can there be found a “fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.”[5]

The life lived, in Christ, magnifies the joy of our existence, and liberates us to enjoy the treasures of this world, both in this life, and on into the next, where the new Heavens and the new Earth will consummate our everlasting joy in Him and all that He has created.

[1] James 1:17

[2] Galatians 5:22

[3] Isaiah 53:10

[4] Psalm 51:12

[5] Psalm 16:11