What Motivates You?
When people are asked what it is that motivates them to go to work every morning, most people respond by saying, "I do it for my family, or for my friends, or to pay the bills or to keep myself occupied." Seldom do people align their motivations with the the kind of incentive that Jesus gave Peter in His post-resurrection appearance.
Even the best love for people will not keep you motivated in a way that pleases the Lord. There is a higher love that the Lord requires of us who want to serve the Lord with gladness and come before His presence with singing, knowing that He is God and He has made us. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (Psa. 100:1-3)
Definition:"Holy love to God as the chief good and our felicity (happiness) is the power of godliness, the very life and soul of religion, without which all external professions and performances are but a shell and carcase..." - Matthew Henry
Peter had failed Jesus by forsaking Him in His hour of need. As a result Peter felt ashamed, guilty and hesitant to answer the Lord’s question on motivation directly. Jesus knew that it would not be enough for Peter to serve God, the church and the community without proper motivations.
Each time when Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love (agape) me?" Peter responds by saying, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you (Phileo) you." We must ask the Lord to help us press on to the higher level of motivation in our service or our work will be in vain. Inadequate motivation always leads to deficient service.
There are four qualities of love mentioned in the New Testament – The four Greek words for love include:
a.) Definition: This love rises from infatuation or sexual desire
Illustration: Olivia Newton John sang, "Loving you is easy because you’re beautiful." Erotic love is stimulated by the five human senses. So much of what masquerades as real love is nothing more than erotic sensual stimulation that quickly vanishes. So many people quit loving when they are no longer seeing another as beautiful from their sensual perceptions.
b.) Biblical implication: This is the sensual love that propelled by hormones and often waxes and wanes with one’s emotional state.
a.) Definition: This love rises from natural affection and relates to family love
b.) Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe a parent’s love for a child.
a.) Definition: This love rises from deep freindship or deep emotional affection
b.) Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe personal relationships or “brotherly love”. Peter had a affectionate liking for the Lord as a brother and genuinely enjoyed being with Him as one whom he had much in common.
a.) Definition: This love rises from God. It is a complete love that includes the mind, reason and will of a person. This type of love is primarily a product of choice motivated by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "The law that fulfills all the law and the prophets is, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)
b.) Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe God’s love and how Christians are to love one another and others with an unconditional love that is motivated by the Spirit who lives within us to have a genuine concern that freely accepts others and seeks their good.
We need to engage all aspects of love’s patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, confidence, hope, endurance, joy, truthfulness, self-sacrifice, and service for the flock God has called us to serve. Perhaps the Lord has given you a Sunday School class of believers that He wants you to do more for, but somehow you have been resisting. Could it be that you are spiritually, intellectually, or emotionally underfeeding the people you have been called to teach because you are just going through the motions? Our love for the Lord should motivated us to feed our flocks in the same way that Jesus would if He were in our shoes.
1. Maybe your love is not as wholehearted as it should be? The Psalmist wrote:
Psalm 119:10 - "With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments."
Without hesitation, the Psalmist was able to confess that He sought God only. He gave Him his "whole heart" - all of his affections. He made it his sole purpose and aim in life to seek after and know His Creator. Resultantly, God kept him in the path of duty.
The Holy Spirit is looking far and wide for those who have a "Holy Love" - not for their denomination or church - but for the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Where are those who are longing after Jesus in the same manner as the hart longs for the "water brooks" in the heat of the day or in the chase?
Where are those who have unashamedly made Him #1 in their lives?
And where are those who are seeking Him with every fiber of their being?
These are the ones - the only ones - who will never wander from the Path of Life.
They will be found Faithful in the end.
Their relationship with the Master is not formal nor hypocritical, but real and vibrant.
How would you describe your service for the Lord at this time?
Ask the Lord to help you love Him in a way that please Him in all respects and bears fruit in every good work as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity, Peter wrote. (2 Pet. 3:18)
3. It is not enough to be sensitive to the needs of people as it often leads to a people pleasing motivation that falls short of God’s standards of agape love. Many people are driven by the internal need to be appreciated, admired and acknowledge for their service. Jesus said, "If you love Me, feed my sheep." We love because He first loved us." (I John 4:10) When we love out of trust and obedience to the Lord we do not have to worry if people like us or approve of us because we know that we are doing it as unto the Lord and not for men. We remember and publicly acknowledge that it is the Lord Jesus Christ we are serving and not men. (Col. 3:23,24) We also recall that is the Lord who we will one day have to give an account to, not people.
4. Love (Phileo) for and from people is often fickle because individuals can be unlovable or insufferable. It may not be because of what we have done to them but they may be going through some internal struggle that we are not aware of. Agape love allows us to love despite the response from other people. We love people, serve them and teach them even when they are not particularly responsive to us. It is important to remember that our love should be given with truth, honesty and completeness that tells people things they may not even like to hear.
5. To love Christ is to serve Christ. Remember that there are many people who say they love God but are not feeding the flocks around them. Begin to give evidence of your love for the Lord by feeding, leading and teaching people about the Lord Jesus and His will for their lives. There is joy in serving Jesus, but there is also great discipline that is required even when you do not feel that your efforts are bearing much fruit.
6. Paul the apostle gives us a fine example of what motivated him to help plant and grow congregations. He wrote, "For the love of Christ compels us." (2 Cor. 5:14) The agape love of Christ constrained Paul in such a way that it gripped His heart, soul, strength and mind to minister to Christ’s people. When we are compelled by the love of Christ we are irresistibly aroused to give of our best to see that Christ’s people are served, tended to and fed in a way that will cause the church to grow in quantity and quality. We should praise God and increase in our love for Him so that we grow in our feeling of admiration for Him. The greater love for God will enable to love people with greater motivation, effectiveness and persuasive abilities.
Song: More love for Thee Oh Christ. More love to Thee. This now the prayer I leave on bended knee. This be my earnest plea. More love oh Christ to Thee. More love to Thee. More love to Thee.
Oswald Chambers: If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and brokenhearted,... but if our motive is to love God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellowmen."