Wednesday, September 19, 2012


It's motive alone which gives character to the actions of men.
Jean de la Bruyere

mo·ti·va·tion: the act or instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act a certain way; desire to do; interest or drive; incentive or inducement.

 "Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves."
 Stephen Kendrick -- The Love Dare 

What motivates us to do what we do?  Behind most actions, if not all, is a motive.  What is the reason we do what we do?

Most people's motivation to get up and go to work is that they'll get paid.  Your motivation for learning the piano may be the satisfaction of hearing beautiful music and sharing it with others.  An Olympian's motivation is the Gold Medal and ultimately recognition and honor.  Some do it for the GOLD and some for the GLORY.  But we are all motivated by something.

"There are a lot of people who are doing wonderful things, quietly, with no motive of greed, or hostility toward other people, or delusions of superiority."
Charles Kuralt

We have all heard someone say at one time or another, "I want my motives to be pure," and hopefully they are.  But in many instances, they are not as pure as we would like them to be.  In our human relationships we find this is a constant battle.  So many times, problems are caused in a relationship because the motivation is really about SELF... I'll do this IF you do that" or "I'm going to do this for him/her... so they will appreciate me more or they will do this or that for me."  It's so difficult for our self/ flesh to really understand and act with totally pure motives.  Even what may start out as a pure motive, may eventually digress when we begin to feel unappreciated or unnoticed.  Love, especially in relationships, would be the ultimate motivation.  A pure motivation of love, care and concern... would be just that -- love, care and concern!  I do this or that because I LOVE!  No hidden agenda... no ulterior motive... not expecting anything in return...  I don't care if I get recognition or public acknowledgment.  I just love and therefore, I do... 

"Intense love does not measure, it just gives."
Mother Teresa

Now I want to stop and say here that I, by no means, have this perfected.  Writing this blog is, in of itself, an exercise in awareness.  Humanity everywhere faces motives every day.  When the sun rises in the morning and the alarm blasts in our ear.... we each find that something or someone motivates us to get up and get on with life.  Sometimes our actions have several motives.  We may even, in times of distress and depression become unmotivated and passionless.  We seem to have nothing to live for and struggle with our daily duties and relationships.  We become so absorbed in feeling down; black clouds of stress, hurt or hopelessness distorts our motives and we appear to be more "self-centered" and may act selfishly.  We've lost our motivation in our hopelessness and the Love of God and the unselfish love of our friends and family are sunshine and hope in this darkened state.

"Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus." 
Mother Teresa

When someone is motivated and working hard on love, life or a particular project, there are many factors involved.  Even if someone is not doing it to get recognition, we all know that everyone likes to feel appreciated for their hard work.  When they are taken for granted they begin to feel resentment and unappreciated.  Do we really know or realize our motives?  I think if we honestly begin to take the time to understand what motivates us to do certain things, we will begin to see a clearer picture of ourselves and hopefully use it to grow in relationships with God and man.  When you honestly thrown yourself wholeheartedly into loving someone you give without expecting anything in return.  I want the other person's best... I want the other person happy... I want them to feel better... or succeed... whatever the case may be.  When your only motivation is in the other person's best interest, then self doesn't need the recognition is so lusts after.  If everyone could LOVE with this kind of love... motivated only by love, we would ALL be acting in the best interest of EACH OTHER.  There would be no vying for attention, no striving for recognition, no demanding of appreciation...  But we would feel loved, attended to, recognized and appreciated. 

"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."
 Galations 2:20

While love is the ultimate motive, there are many other worthy and honorable motives when dealing with our day to day duties of life.  We set goals and those are our motivation.  There is nothing inherently wrong with reaching a goal and being motivated by the "prize".  But along the way, we need to check our motives and realize that they will affect our actions as we reach for our goal.  I don't know if all this is possible all the time, but what would our homes look like...?  What would our churches look like...?  What would our businesses look like...?  What would the WORLD look like if our motivation flowed from a heart of love and genuine concern for other people and their well-being?  Human motivation comes in all shapes and sized... motives of getting more money, climbing the ladder of "success", getting a hand-out, getting our name in the "headlines," growing a bigger church, getting a better position, gaining respect and honor, or the simple sly motive of appearances... that is, if I do something (benevolent, charity, non-profit, volunteer type work) people will think better of me... I'll LOOK better... I'll get more honor... I'll get more RESPECT.  Our motivation should never be to strive for a bigger and better charity program, homeless ministry, benevolent outreach SO that WE, or our church or organization can be KNOWN in the community.  Ultimately, we see that the motivation is still SELF.

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40

When it comes to human relationships and responsibility of those relationships, the Bible gives us clear direction when it says that everything hangs on two things... Love God with all your heart, mind and strength AND Love Others... as thyself (For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it; takes care of it)  Another place it says to love as Jesus (our perfect example) loved the world and gave Himself for it.  That is the ultimate motivation of love.  Willingness to give and give and give of ourself.  To love others the way God loves us.  We are made in God's image and are being perfected in the image of Jesus (the FIRSTBORN among MANY brethern).  When we step out to do something for someone...we need to check our motives and then do some adjusting to our motivation.  This will take work and we will fail at times.  But we must still strive to keep our motives pure; laying aside our our self-motivation and being motivated by our love, sympathy and care for others.  Acting on self-less compassion and genuine concern for the well-being of all human beings... and especially those who God has placed directly in our lives or path.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith; Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
Galations 5:22-26

So I ask myself the question... What is my motive or what motivates me to do what I do? It's not a question I can ask myself just one time. But it is something I must do time and time again.  The human will and need for SELF to be stroked and appeased is an ongoing battle.  Dying daily... to self. Crucifying my "flesh" and it's selfish desires.  It's time to check our motives.  Let my prayer be, "God, purify my motives and motivate me by Your Love.  Let Your Love flow through me into all of my relationships and, as I see the needs of others in the world around me, let me be motivated by that Love and act from that pure motive..."

"This is what love meant after all: sacrifice and selflessness.  It did not mean hearts and flowers and a happy ending, but the knowledge that another's well-being is more important than one's own."
Melissa de la Cruz - Lost In Time


Raven said...

Excellent! Both subject and presentation are right on target.

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