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“This is why…” (1 Timothy 4:10)

Motivation is everything because nothing happens without it. All actions—even the impulsive ones—are prompted by something in our head/heart/soul (call it whatever you want!). Paul knew the importance of being properly motivated for doing the work of God.

There are at least two pitfalls regarding our motivation: (1) we can lack it, and (2) we can have bad motivations.

When we lack motivation, we are lazy and live unproductive lives.

When we have the wrong motivation, there are three negative consequences to consider before we experience them:

First, we will eventually do the wrong things. It’s possible to do the right things for the wrong reasons, but when we continue to operate from an impure heart, it will eventually show through.

Second, we miss out on the benefits of faithful living.

Third, we learn the wrong lessons.

For example, let’s say I serve others because I’m motivated by their praise. How will my soul pay the price?

Instead of caring about what God wants, I become overly concerned with what others want. When my conscience is ignored, my actions will shift. I might move from sharing sacrificially to sharing superficially. Truth is, skimming the surface will still get you praise from others.

I exchange deep-rooted joy for unpredictable moments of happiness. When I serve others to please God, it will go unnoticed by others. This isn’t fun, and we need encouragement. The lack of recognition becomes more bearable because I know God is pleased by my service. Confidence is another byproduct of faithful living. But when we live to please others, insecurity abounds. Why? Because you can’t please everyone, and you can’t please any single person all of the time.

Finally, seeking praise from others doesn’t make me a better person. Instead of learning to be more like Jesus by living as he did, I learn how to receive more praise from others.

Why do you do what you do?