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Healthy Motivations For Serving God

Why do we do the things we do? Perhaps this is not a question we ask ourselves or others often. There is much in our lives that we do without thinking about the purpose or motivations that drive our actions. However, the Scriptures are not silent on the motivations we are to have when serving the Lord; therefore it is important for us to consider those motivations. It is not only the actions of our lives that God cares about. He also wants us to live our lives with healthy motivations.

Below are 4 heathly motivations for serving the Lord. These are motivations that believers in Christ should have when serving God.

God’s mercy, love and grace to us - 1 John 4:19

  • We must understand and believe that any form of love displayed by us is sourced in God’s love and Spirit. Love (substitutionary sacrifice) demonstrated by a believer is only possible because God first loved. It starts with His love.  Believers love others as already loved ones by God. God first loved us, God gaves us His Spirit so we could in turn love others with His love.

  • This includes first a love for God, then an accompanying love for others (Matt. 22:37-39). A Christian motivated by love works for the benefit of the One loved. Love for God is often demonstrated through obedience (John 14:21; 1 John 5:2). Love also expresses itself in a desire to glorify (John 12:27-28), please (Col. 1:10; 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:1), and know God (Phil. 3:10-14; 1 John 4:16). Love for God would also mean love for that which God loves; thus we love other people (2 Cor. 5:14; 12:15; 1 John 4:11; 5:2).

Gratitude in light of God’s character and work - 1 Timothy 1:12

  • Because we benefit from God's actions, we may wish to respond gratefully. Our service and our lives become a "Thank You" to Him. In light of God's blessings, we are motivated to offer our bodies to Him (Rom. 12:1-2) and to live for Him by faith (Gal. 2:20). Paul was motivated to serve God with thanksgiving because all that he was and had was from God (1 Tim. 1:12). We are who we are because Christ did what He did! Therefore, we, with grateful hearts, should serve Him by loving others.

Eternal significance of our lives

  • We can be motivated to fulfill our longing for some significance beyond this temporary life according to God's original purposes. God created us to participate in His rule over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Our lives truly matter today and for all eternity. God has clearly stated that eternity is real and we are to live for Him, for His eternal purposes and for the salvation of the eternal souls of men and women. Eternal significance can begin when we engage in serving Christ in this life (Matt. 10:38-39; 16:24-27; Luke 9:23-26).

Eternal rewards the faithful in Christ will receive

  • We can also be motivated by God-given rewards in this life (Mark 10:28-31) and in eternity (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12). The judgment seat of Christ is the scene of future rewards. There all Christians will appear and give an account (Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:9-13). Eternal rewards include treasures (Matt. 6:20) and crowns (1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Pet. 5:4; 2 Tim. 4:8). Motivation also comes from the possibility of losing out on eternal rewards (Matt. 22:1-14; 25:14- 25; Luke 19:11-27; 1 Cor. 3:12-15). Rewards are not a selfish motivation if our goal is to use them to glorify God in the end.

  • It must be noted that the “Judgement Seat of Christ/God” is not the same as the “Great White Throne Judgement” of Revelation 20:11-15. There are many distinctive truths found in the Scriptures that inform us that those two events are not the same. To get them confused is to potentially cause undue questions about one’s salvation producing a lack of assurance of one’s relationship with God.


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