Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Artotem on Flickr
"Men are alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ.  The difference in their deeds is simple: people of character do what is right regardless of the situation." -- Moliere

That quote comes from the July 17 reading in the Maxwell Daily Reader. Our first mental leap is toward picturing a politician or shady businessman. While the quote speaks of people with character, we mentally reach for the contrasting behavior.  Perhaps that's because so much of the news highlights political leaders with their own agendas, sometimes combined with outright incompetence.  And businesses that place profit above the well being of their customers.  The sad part is that I could have written what I just did, either fifteen years ago or fifteen years from now, with the very same shift in focus.  And we'd equally miss the point.  Let's add another quote to that and we begin to see the reality

"Men are alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ.  The difference in their deeds is simple: people of character do what is right regardless of the situation." -- Moliere

Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, has said, "There is nothing miraculous or mysterious about the things we can explain.  We control what we are able to explain, consequently it is only natural to seek an explanation for everything.

Our illustration is titled "Giving Hands" and it fits our quotes.  Without knowing the title, it's pretty much impossible to tell if the hands had just offered something or whether they were in that position to receive, out of need or desire.  The heart of both possibilities isn't our actions, but, instead, our motivations.  Do we take because we want something or because we have a need?  Do we give because we want to bless or because we want recognition for our act?

I'm sure we've all experienced someone who contributed to a project, but was ready to take it back when things either weren't done the way they thought they should.  Or they didn't feel they were being given enough public credit.  "My way or the highway.".  In a way, we can all identify with that.

The unknown can be pretty scary.  So, we aim to explain as much as we can.  As Oswald Chambers points out, being able to explain something gives us a sense of control.  Notice how I worded that -- "a sense of control".  There's really not much we can control, not even ourselves. We'd like to think we can.  But we're too susceptible to outside influence to really control ourselves. We can accept lies from the devil, can be swayed by peer pressure, ignore the limitations of our own perceptions.

That covers pretty much everybody.  The unbeliever doesn't believe in God, so he has only himself to trust.  We all want and need some source of stability.  Which leaves only himself, no matter how wrong he may be in that trust.  Even some of us who call ourselves Christian are in much the same boat.  Some may have made a profession with no meaning behind it.Others are either not well taught or won't take the steps to take that relationship to the next level.  In either case, God is this amorphous, invisible, untouchable guy in the sky.  There's no recognition of Him working in their lives, no concrete connection.  Which, once again, brings the trust factor right back to themselves. Except they have some idea that's really not going to work.

That all sounds pretty bleak, but consider Matthew 5:3 (KJV), "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.".  God's economy is one of poverty.  I'm not talking about not having money or being homeless.  There has to come that point where we recognize that there is nothing on earth that isn't less than satisfactory.  Including our amazing spouses and ourselves.  We have to come to the realization that we're living in spiritual poverty.  That's when we recognize that what we really need is God.  John 4:23 (KJV) tells us, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.".  

When we make that connection, we gain a spiritual home, with the ultimate spiritual guide.  Spiritual safety is ours.  We inherit everything that is Christ's, getting to partake in that in the afterlife.  Of more immediate importance, the more our relationship with God develops, the more of God's peace we can appropriate for ourselves, no matter what our circumstances.  We can do that because we now have a relationship with the one Person worthy of full trust.

There are some reading this who are, at the very least, skeptical of God or that there even is a God. But you know anything else that you've put your trust in has limitations.  Put aside your skepticism and find a church where people are committed to God and are willing to discuss their relationship. Then, find someone there willing to discuss their relationship with God and answer your questions. And do that with an open mind.  Whatever conclusion you reach will be yours.  But you at least get to hear the full story and have much more information to decide with.

Others reading this may have some sort of relationship with God, but it seems very flat, dead, and distant.  I'll recommend the same thing I did for those with no relationship.  When we gain a solid Biblical understanding of who God is and how much He does for us, that relationship changes. Instead of outward worship because we have an obligation, we move on to real worship of who God is.  Give yourself the chance to know the difference.

Finally, there are those of us who have a strong relationship with God, keep on keeping on.  Enjoy that continual, moment to moment internal celebration.  Latch onto the peace that passes understanding.  Some have experienced it, where there seems to to be nothing that can get us through something, yet God does!  All of that is available to anyone who loves God.  It just takes building up your faith to overcome your fears.  That takes the same prescription -- a good Bible teaching and preaching church that has Body life.  Proper doctrine and interaction with other believers will build up faith.

So, do we act out our own ideas or do we have real motivation, today?

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