27
Apr

Masterpiece Living, Part 3: The Driving Force

Written by vernon.

Jesus set the example for our motivation in this life:

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”(John 4:34)

Jesus was concerned with doing and honoring His Father’s purposes – only with delighting to do His will - and so should we be motivated by that same concern. Somehow, it needs to become the foundation desire on which all of our other purposes in life are built.

What is the primary motivation or driving force for a believer in Jesus Christ to live the Christian life? What should drive us to (as Paul says in Romans 12:1) offer up our bodies as living sacrifices“holy and acceptable to God”?

Guilt? Fear? The hope of gain? Trying to earn God’s favor or stay in His good graces? While we may find ourselves from time to time being motivated by any number of those things in our pursuit of living the Christian life, none of those things are the proper fuel for the Christian’s engine, so to speak.

So what should motivate us offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice? In Romans 12:1 Paul says that we should do so “by the mercies of God.” In other words, God’s mercy and grace toward us in the gospel of Jesus Christ should motivate us. So our primary motivation should be, not fear or guilt, but gratitude.

In his book, Rediscovering Holiness, J.I. Packer writes;

The secular world never understands Christian motivation. Faced with the question of what makes Christians tick, unbelievers maintain that Christianity is practiced only out of self-serving purposes. They see Christians as fearing the consequences of not being Christians (religion as fire insurance), or feeling the need of help and support to achieve their goals (religion as a crutch), or wishing to maintain a social identity (religion as a badge of respectability). No doubt all these motivations can be found among the membership of churches: it would be futile to dispute that. But just as a horse brought into a house is not thereby made human, so a self-seeking motivation brought into the church is not thereby made Christian, nor will holiness ever be the right name for religious routines thus motivated. From the plan of salvation I learn that the true driving force in authentic Christian living is, and ever must be, not the hope of gain, but the heart of gratitude. (p.75)

So if you want some practical advice on living the Christian life, one of the most helpful things you should do (although certainly not the only thing) is to consider and mediate upon the mercies of God in the gospel.  In the words of Psalm 103:2, we must “forget not all his benefits.”

Jesus always did the Father’s will, motivated by pleasing Him through obedience and His obedience extended all the way to the cross where He humbled Himself and “became obedient unto death.” Our motivation should be the same as His—the obedience by which we demonstrate we are truly His. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”(John 8:29, Philippians 2:8, John 14:15). The world of need around us is seeking, yearning and needing us to demonstrate what motivates us and is the driving force in our lives...namely, the pursuit to honor God.

The more we grasp the greatness of God’s mercies and grace toward us in Jesus Christ, the more we will be filled with gratitude and love for our God & Savior.  And that will be the true driving force in our discipleship.

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From the Pastor

We believe that the word and the cross is the bridge to get people from where they are in life to the place that God has planned for them to be.
-Vernon Phillip

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9431 Nicollet Ave S
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