Just a few short thoughts I wrote about in college on the topic of spiritual motivation. Maybe those reading it will find it as helpful as I did.
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians 3:23 KJV
When a Christian is trying to achieve certain objectives, discernment between worldly and biblical motivators is fundamental. The important thing to consider is whether or not the things that we are driven by are conducive to our walk as Christians and are keeping us focused on God.
The motivators of the flesh and the world are often limited in nature. These type of motivators usually circulate around self-glorification and the short term. These things include:
- Fear of defeat
- Aspiration for personal gain
- Extreme pride
- Unhealthy guilt
- Fixation on social standing
- Instant gratification and pleasure
In the long run, the only motivators that are truly life-giving are those connected to loving God and loving others. Transcendent motivations tend to be more focused on long-term dynamics; these include rewards that are not always seen and also may not be obtained in this lifetime.
There are actually some very powerful spiritual motivators that can help drive Christians on their journey. For example, a healthy fear of the Lord can often serve as a motivator. As a sinner, it is by grace alone I am not facing the wrath I’ve earned for my sin.
God is certainly just and mighty. Because of this, there needs to be a certain level of reverence and fear. Respectful and humble fear of the Lord can be strong spiritual motivation to seek out Christ. It is in Him that we become confident recipients of salvation.
We want to be in the position where the fear of the punishments we deserve can be dispelled and replaced with forgiveness and love. It is good to be motivated to some extent by fear of the Lord while understanding that we are loved and are forgiven.
Other more positive motivators include love and gratitude. These are all very positive spiritual motivations that drive us on our Christian journey. Not only do we receive God’s love, we also develop our love for Him. Through our strong love, we also begin to see the things he has done for us and we feel gratitude.
Gratitude and love are two motivators that inspire us to grow in our relationship with Christ and become stronger Christians. This results in spiritual, God-given rewards, including but not limited to: a deep connection with God, a true sense of identity, a sense of purpose, and everlasting hope.