Definition: The compelling force, such as a reason, emotion, need or desire, that causes a person to act or behave in a certain way.
1. As Christians, God's love is to be our motivation in all we do.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity [love], these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all your things be done with [love].
2 Corinthians 5:14a For the love of Christ constraineth us.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. [See also 4:16b.]
2. Our love for the Lord should motivate us to want to please Him.
Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
1 Chronicles 29:17 [David said:] I know also, My God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy Thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto Thee.
Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
John 14:15,21a If ye love Me, keep My commandments. … 21a He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, He it is that loveth Me.
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.
3. Next to our love for God, our motivation should be unselfish love for others.
Mark 12:31 And the second [great commandment] is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Romans 15:1,2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1 John 4:20,21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
4. Our carnal natures lack true godly motivation, but God can transform our hearts and we can become new creatures in Christ!
Psalm 51:10-13 [King David prayed for God to change his sinful nature, so he could live for Him.] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Ezekiel 11:19,20 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. [See also 36:26,27.]
Romans 7:18-25; 1 Corinthians 9:27 [Paul had to battle a spiritual warfare against his sinful self, so that he could have the right motivation to be a disciple of Christ.] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. … 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members [in my body], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. … 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but
with the flesh the law of sin. 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. [See also 1 Peter 2:11.]
Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world [or to our old sinful nature]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 5:16-18 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things Above, not on things on the earth.
Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of Eternal Life.
Hebrews 10:22-24 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
James 4:5-8a Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8a Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.
1 Peter 1:13,14 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.
5. We should not be motivated by desire for personal gain or self-glorification.
Proverbs 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
Matthew 6:1,5,16 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Luke 6:32-34 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
1 Corinthians 13:5b Love seeketh not her own.
2 Corinthians 5:15 And that [Jesus] died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Philippians 2:3,4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
6. Nor should we be motivated by man-pleasing.
John 12:43 For they [the Pharisees] loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
7. Worldly motivations are often for the wrong reasons.
2 Chronicles 25:2 And he [King Amaziah of Judah] did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.
Proverbs 21:2-4 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. 3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. 4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
Luke 6:43-46 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46 And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke 8:14 [Worldly interests choke out godly motivations.] And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Luke 12:16-21 [The "rich fool" was not rich toward God:] And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [worldly people] do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
Titus 1:15,16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Hebrews 11:24-26 [Young Moses kept himself from the temptations of the "normal" worldly motivations of his peers.] By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Jude 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
8. Our service to God and others is nothing without our love.
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? And in Thy Name have cast out devils? And in Thy Name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 23:25-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Mark 12:33 And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. [See also 9:13a.]
Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. ... 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
9. We should also be motivated by a desire to glorify the Lord and to exalt His Name and not ourselves.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:11a,12a Wherefore also we pray always for you ... 12a That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you.
10. Self-sacrificial love comes from a grateful heart and a deep realization of all that the Lord has done for us.
1 Samuel 12:24 Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.
Luke 7:37,38,47 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. … 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
2 Corinthians 5:15 And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
1 John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
11. God's Word inspires and fuels our motivation.
Joshua 1:8 This Book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Psalm 1:2,3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.
Psalm 119:9,11,35,59,97,101,112,130 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. 11 Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. 35 Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight. 59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies. 97 O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word. 112 I have inclined mine heart to perform Thy statutes alway, even unto the end. 130 The entrance of Thy Words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
John 8:31b,32 If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
12. Jesus' example of being motivated by His love for God and others:
Luke 22:42 [Jesus' motivation to please God superseded His Own personal desires:] Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. [See also John 5:30; 8:28,29.]
John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.
John 6:38 For I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine Own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.
Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on Me.
13. The Heavenly vision helps keep us motivated and moving in the right direction.
Psalm 71:16a I will go in the strength of the Lord God.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. [See also Zephaniah 3:16b.]
Matthew 13:44-46 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:11 [Be] not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:17,18,25-27 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me. 18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the Gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the Gospel. ... 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:13 These [the saints of the past] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 12:1,2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
14. The Lord promises eternal rewards for all that we do out of love.
Psalm 15:1,2 Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? 38 When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? 39 Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,
ye have done it unto Me.
Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My Name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Revelation 2:26,27 And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father.
Copyright (c) 1998 by Aurora Productions
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom. If you find this website useful, please consider sending me a gift through PayPal toward the support of this website's server fee.
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