ODJ: what’s my motivation?

April 29, 2015 

READ: 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 

Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life (v.14).

If you’ve ever watched an actor at work or tried acting yourself, you may have heard the expression, “What’s my motivation?” It’s a question that’s an important part of method acting, for knowing your motivation will lead to it being done well.

We might ask the same question of the apostle Paul. When he wrote that he and others “[worked] hard to persuade others” (2 Corinthians 5:11), what was his motivation? Was it anger and resentment against those who dishonoured Christ and persecuted the church? Or was it competition—that he felt the need to shout all the louder due to the vast amount of ideologies and beliefs of the time? Or was it fear, seen in verse 11 where he said he owed “a fearful responsibility to the Lord”?

No, Paul made it crystal clear that above all else his motivation was love. He writes in verse 14 and in the following verses that it was Jesus’ love, so perfectly demonstrated on the cross that controlled or compelled him to share the gospel with others.

This is a crucial reminder to all of us, for our modern context is not much different from Paul’s. Our culture is filled to overflowing with beliefs and philosophies, many of which are opposed to the way of Christ. And in such a context, it’s easy for us to be motivated in our Christian life by anger or competition, a desire to simply win rather than winning others over.

Our motivation should always be the same as Paul’s. As it says so perfectly in 1 John 4:19, “We love each other because he loved us first.” And even more, we read in Romans 5:8 that God Himself is motivated by love.

It’s never anger nor hate but love—love that flows from God Himself—that compels us to shout His goodness to all who would hear!

—Peter Chin

365-day-plan: Nehemiah 2:1-20

Read John 13:34-35 and 15:12 to see how Jesus connects His love for us with our love for others. 
Why do you suppose it’s better and even healthier to be motivated by love than by any other emotion or compulsion? Do you ever feel yourself being motivated more by anger or competition than by love? What do you think is the reason?