Reprinted from the May 2014 issue of “Gospel Advocate” Magazine.
Spiritual motivation is of paramount importance in the life of a Christian. If our motivation is nonexistent or is misplaced, we may lose our zeal to serve God and those in need around us. Losing sight of what should motivate us may well be a major reason Christians leave the faith entirely or become inactive and quit working for the Lord. Therefore, reflecting on what can and should motivate us as Christians is a wise exercise that may renew our commitment to serve the almighty God and allow us to show His love to those around us.
Our source for this motivation, of course, is found in the Word of God. When we drink deeply from the verses that describe His love and concern for us along with those that illustrate our relationship with Him and His Son, our zeal can be renewed in an extraordinary way. Go all the way to the front of your Bible, and you will begin to see the relationship God has with all mankind. Genesis 1:26-27 states: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image.’ … So God created man in His own image” (NKJV).
You are made in the image of God. Were we to have no more Bible than the first 27 verses of Genesis, we would have ample evidence that God has a vested interest in every person who has or ever will walk this earth. For the Christian, however, the relationship is infinitely stronger. Recall the inspired words of the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:12: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.”
Those are awesome, powerful words that show God’s love and concern for His followers. God wants to hear from us (Philippians 4:6-7) and tells us to speak to Him with confidence, knowing – not hoping, mind you – that among billions of people, His eyes and ears are on you and me. Indeed, not only is He open to hear our prayers, but He wants, in fact desires, to hear from us. That is wonderful – knowing that with the billions of God-created individuals on earth, God wants and promises to hear the prayers of His people.
One of the many great themes in the Bible is that God loves mankind and is concerned and moved by those who show their love to Him in return. You personally are valuable in God’s eyes. Knowing this value and being assured of it from God’s Word should make us overwhelmed with joy and love for our Father in heaven. It should provide motivation to serve Him and to spread His message of love to those around us.
God gives us plenty of other pictures of His love that provide further motivation to remain faithful in serving Him and others. For instance, Paul told our brethren in Rome these words in Romans 5:8, which show the magnificent love of God toward all men and especially toward Christians: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God made the first move, if you will. He did not send His Son to the cross just for those who would believe in Him. His Son died for the entire world (John 3:16), and anyone anywhere can reap the benefits of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection simply by accessing His blood through faith, repentance and baptism. Remembering that sacrifice often, meditating upon it, and considering the magnitude of the Father’s and the Son’s love for us is a great motivation. What a mighty God and Father is in heaven, and what a privilege it is to serve Him!
That would be enough, wouldn’t it? Here we have a loving Father and a loving Son in Christ Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from the penalty of our sins (Romans 6:23), yet there is more to motivate us. Jesus said in John 14:2-3: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
The same Jesus Christ who hung upon a cross for six hours in pain and agony and who was mocked, spit upon and ridiculed is now preparing a place for you and me in heaven; we have the opportunity to be with Him for an eternity. Is that not wonderful? Can we even begin to fathom the depth of love that God and Jesus have for us?
That love, when reflected upon, motivates us to press on, to never give up, and to serve the almighty God for all our days upon this earth.
Chad Stafko is a deacon at the Greenmount Road Church of Christ in Belleville, Ill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.