This week I will present a three-part series on an often neglected “means of grace” that is designed to return blessings multiplied to those who consistently engage in it. One of the overarching themes in the Bible is that of self-examination. “Let a person examine himself . . .” Paul exhorts, “and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
Today we will focus on motivation; this is the “why” behind what you do. Why serve the Lord with all your heart? Why go to church? Why study the Bible? Why pray without ceasing? Why go that extra mile? Why give more than you receive? Why love God and others more than yourself? Why forgive when you have been wronged? Why confess your sin and ask for forgiveness when you have wronged someone else? Make no mistake, the “why” behind what you do is more important than what you are actually doing!
The Pharisees—for whom our Lord reserved some of His sharpest rebukes—did all the right things . . . but for all the wrong reasons. Their motivation was rooted in what they believed they would receive in return for what they were doing. In essence, they were working their way toward God in an attempt to earn His favor and secure His blessings.
Paul provides the Master’s motivation that should rightly drive all of our attitudes and actions in 2 Corinthians 5:14—“Christ’s love compels us.” What an all-consuming motivation, the love of Christ! Paul would not be motivated by guilt. He knew that guilt would only take him so far and its hold on him would eventually weaken. Nor would Paul be motivated by fear. He knew that fear would only take him so far and its hold on him would eventually ease. For Paul the only “why” for doing anything was the overwhelming love showered upon him by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was the only lasting power to pull him into the perfect plan and purpose God had called him to.
And how did Paul keep this powerful motivator before him? The Gospel! Only the good news of the Gospel has the power to transform our lives.
Jack Miller said, “We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves every day.” Far too many Christians believe the Gospel is only for sinners who need to be saved. The Gospel is just as necessary for sinners who need to be sanctified. In preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily, we are reminded that we are still sinners who need of the love of Christ, who laid down His life for the forgiveness of our sins. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this” Paul wrote: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What greater motivation could there be to live the Christian life than to know that Jesus loves us that much? At this level of living, duty turns into devotion that springs from a heart overflowing with thanksgiving for all that Jesus has done.
So . . . what is the “why” behind what you do? I pray that a little self-surgery on your soul today will open your heart to the incredible hope-filled, joy-powered motivation of all that God in Christ has done for you.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
4 responses to “Self-Surgery of the Soul – Part 1”
I am reminded of Galatians 6:4 “But let every man prove his own work”. Let us not think we are something when we are not. When we test our work to the word of God, there is plenty of room for improvement. And is verse 7-8: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. As Christians, we are in a time of sowing. The funny thing about this, is however the pharisee like motivation. Do we not also do good (as much as is possible in our corrupt flesh) that me might have a bountiful harvest at the end of time? I think a possible difference is the timing of harvest. Seeking an immediate harvest might be of the flesh vs. sowing for eternity which demonstrates faith which comes from the Spirit. and verse 10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
How right you are Doc. By God’s grace may we keep sowing in the light of eternity trusting God for the results. Thanks brother.
Tommy, I read a few of your blogs recently and I really like what you are saying and each one seems to get better and deeper. Keep it up. Great devotional material as well. Watch out Oswald Chambers!
Brother, no need for a rear view mirror for O.C.! But thanks for your years of God-centered, grace-saturated encouragement. You’re a great friend.