Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The greatest motivation - Psalm 31:3

What motivates you?

When you have teenage kids you will know that this is often a real problem ... not merely what is it that motivates them, but why don't they appear to have any motivation at all! How is it possible to lie in front of a TV as long as that? Why is it impossible to have any desire to put away the food/cups/clothes/[anything at all] that they got out only a few minutes before?

Of course, the reality is that there is something that motivates us all, even the most slothful. Teenagers might be motivated by ease, or by selfishness, or by numerous other things, but there is motivation there. As we get older we like to think that we are more sophisticated in our motivations. We are motivated by 'success', ambition, desire for our family, even desire to do good to all. Some of our motivations are laudable, others are merely selfish ambition in clever disguise. But we all have our motivations, whether we acknowledge it or not.

For the believer, under the revolutionary transforming recreating power of His Spirit, what should be our motivations? Paul clearly tells us that we should have the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5), that our minds should be continually being renewed to be able to decide and live in agreement with the will of God (Rom 12:2), that our personalities should be conformed to that of Christ (2 Pet 1:5-9). And so, we could replace selfishness with brotherly kindness and love, we could replace selfish ambition with a longing for godliness, we could replace a selfish desire for the good of our family with the much wider and more gracious love He lays as our target (for God, with all our mind, soul and strength, and others as for ourselves), ... . We could choose so many motivations that would be correct, Biblical, God-honouring.

Yet, David, probably fleeing his son Absalom, pleading with God for rescue and mercy in Psalm 31, has the right motivation. It's there in v3 ... "Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me" [italics mine]. What is the great motivation of the Man or Woman of God? It is "for the sake of your name" - it's all about His honour, His glory, His praise. That is the motivation that over-arches any other motivation we might Biblically choose. That is the motivation that will last through eternity, when all His people will gather to exalt His name - the one who has been given a name high over all, that at the name of Jesus every knee might bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:9-11).

So, what do I do as I set out today? If my life is lived "for the sake of your name", then it changes everything! How I speak; how I work; how I raise the family God has given me; how I walk; the things I chose to do; even how I respond when, like David, I face huge adversity ... all will change if they are "for the sake of your name".

How am I living? What motivates me? ... Is my life 100% "for the sake of your name"?