A few days ago, it was seventy-five degrees outside and we were certain spring had finally arrived. The following day, the high was thirty-six. The sky spit snow all morning and the winds were strong enough to knock out electricity for hundreds of people in the county. That reversal also seemed to sap us of all the renewed energy the warmer weather. It suddenly seemed a lot harder to get things started, much less finished and even getting up on time took on an extra level of post Daylight Savings time difficulty. Motivation evaporated overnight. Literally.
Motivation is an elusive concept. Bosses, coaches, teachers and parents would all like to tap into the secrets of motivation. There are dozens of negative motivators.
Fear – Being afraid can prevent us from doing things like that fear of falling, flipping out and dying that keeps me from taking up skydiving like my nephew. The fear of being rejected or ostracized or left alone may push to do things we otherwise might not do.
Guilt – Real or imagined, guilt is the burden that drags us down even as it pushes us to do or to be or to become something that was outside of our original plans.
Obligation – Sometimes we work to get the jump on guilt and try to cover all the bases before it can seep in.
Yes, all those motivators are effective at some level and unfortunately they find their way into our relationship with Christ. We’re afraid of His displeasure. We feel guilty because we don’t measure up to an artificial standard. Serving God becomes joy-sucking duty.
Really, when you think about it, that sounds a great deal like life under the Old Testament law. One of the blessings and benefits of a redeemed life in Christ is freedom from the law. A key feature of that life is a change in motivation.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14, Paul says the love of Christ compels us … He died for us. He saved us. So that motivates us to live for Him–to serve, to evangelize, to minister.
Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
If the love of Christ doesn’t motivate us, maybe we don’t fully grasp what He saved us from.
Or maybe it’s because we are clinging to law-based system in spite of the reality of our freedom in grace.
Maybe it’s because we don’t understand how lavishly He loves us.
Maybe it’s worth falling in love again.