Motivation is a key issue in life. Self-motivation is essential to the person. Spousal motivation is essential to the marriage. Parental motivation is essential to the family. Employee motivation is essential to the job. Owner motivation is essential to success.

Good things happen when people act on good motives. Good depends on excellent motives and effective motivation. Godliness is no exception. Godliness is the highest form of good. Godliness depends on Christlike motives and Godlike motivation.

Spirituality involves motivation. Spiritual motivation is a "double emphasis" challenge. (1) It teaches people that godly motives are understood only by understanding Jesus. Examples? Love your enemies. Be kind to those who mistreat you. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Forgive without limits. Show mercy. Humility is the path to God's acceptance. Honor God by serving people.

(2) It teaches people that the motivation is as important to God as the act. Jesus powerfully stressed that truth (Matthew 6:1-18). When the motivation for religious acts does not focus on honoring God, God does not acknowledge or reward the act.

Many motivations lead people to surrender to God. Some feel a sense of fear. The awareness of sin terrifies them. Some feel a sense of responsibility. Serving the Creator God is something that "ought to be done." Some feel a sense of duty. Because God is "greater than me and my concerns, I should do my duty." Some feel a sense of obligation. He or she understands his or her indebtedness to God.

Are these "bad" motives? No. Can they provide effective motivation? Yes. Are some of them less effective? Yes. In today's world, fear, responsibility, and duty tend to be short-term and spiritually immature. They easily produce a "control" mentality rather than a "surrender" mentality. Control mentality declares, "I exist to comply." Surrender mentality declares, "I exist to serve."

A spiritually mature motive exists. Its godly motivation results in total surrender. It is the sense of privilege. The highest privilege of existence: allowing the eternal God to work through "me" as He achieves His eternal purposes. In the motivation of privilege, we find our highest sense of honor and the greatest sense of destiny. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Jesus, Peter, and Paul understood the motivation of privilege. Have you discovered it?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 15 August 1999

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