As an athlete, I’ve heard many motivating speeches over the years. “This is your time…” “After wrestling, everything else in life is easy.” “Are you willing to do what it takes to be a champion?” And the list goes on.
What I notice in today’s passages is the theme of our motivations. Why do you do what you do? In Leviticus 8, Moses is given a whole chapter of very detailed instructions for making sure the priests are ready to perform their duties. It would be easy after a while to just go through the motions of these sanctifying ceremonies unless they remembered the motivation: God is holy, and he demands holiness.
Legalism is summarily defined as the belief that good works equate holiness. Unfortunately, that is an inaccurate belief. You can DO all the right things and never BE right with God. If they went through all the steps of purification, but neglected the motivation behind it, it would be worthless.
Similarly, Proverbs 23 is full of motivating snippets. “Do this because of that” is a common formula throughout the book of Proverbs, but as you read chapter 23, don’t just look for the “what am I supposed to do” (which is important), but try to find the motivation behind each instruction.
In Psalm 9, verses 1-2, and 14 are the actions that the psalmist will perform (praising God) and the other verses give the motivation behind it.
But Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2 is perhaps the clearest declaration of motivation in our passages today. He explicitly lays out his actions and motivations.
Verses 1-4a are motivated by “not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”Verses 5-8a “because ye were dear unto us.”Verses 9-11 “That ye would walk worthy of God…”Verse 12 We thank God “because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,”Verses 17-19 “For ye are our glory and joy.”
Perhaps today, as you read, but even moreso as you progress through your day, you would evaluate your own motivations behind your actions. Finding the “Why?” behind your actions can help you determine if what you are doing is right, and if it is, if your heart is right, or if you’re just going through the motions. Motivation is a powerful tool in everything we do, so let’s make sure we are motivated by the right things!