Why you do something, why you live a certain way, makes all the difference. The motivation behind your actions is more important than the actions themselves.
Think of being a parent and how they ask their children to do chores. Would you rather they do it right away or after you’ve asked them five times? The important thing is if their heart is in the right place.
Christianity works in the same way
God would much rather you do good in this world because your heart’s in the right place rather than you checking a box saying you did what you had to do. If your motivation is not in the right place, your moral behavior will eventually stop because there’s nothing behind it.
Look at your own life today. Did you share the Gospel this week? If not, why? Did you read the Bible? Did you fast or dedicate a part of your life to the Lord? Most of us fall short. But when we learn to do these things out of love and a joyful heart to the Lord, we live a fulfilling and obedient life.
Peter and Motivation
Doing good is an essential part of the Christian life. We look to Peter and what he has to say.
“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”1 Peter 3:13-16
As we’re living in this world, we bring glory to God by doing good. Even under persecution, we have an opportunity to share Christ with others because He is number one in our hearts."Doing good is an essential part of the Christian life." – Dr. Todd Gray Click To Tweet
There are three questions we should ask ourselves today about our motivation.
Why do you do good? Because you have set apart Christ as Lord in your heart.
Why do we share? If he’s number one, then you want to do what He tells you to do and He tells you to share.
Why is Christ Lord of our life? Because you know who He is. Because you fear God more than you fear man.
Why Do You Do Good?
The Bible tells you very clearly what doing good looks like. Peter was telling us how you interact with both believers and unbelievers. He told us that when we’re interacting with believers we are to be harmonious, sympathetic, showing brotherly love, kind-hearted, and humble.
But you also interact with unbelievers who may hate you and your faith. What does Peter tell us? He says you do good to them by not returning evil for evil. Not returning insult for insult, he says, but instead, when they throw evil at you, you return to them with a blessing. This is doing good. You do this to bring glory to God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why Do We Share?
I’m convinced that one of the greatest privileges in the life of a Christian is to share their faith. If that is true then why don’t we do it? I believe it’s a motivation issue.
It begins with tackling fear. How do you respond when somebody asks you about the lifestyle that you live? You say, Jesus. Your moral behavior, whether people appreciate it or hate it, is going to allow you to share the hope of Christ that you have with others.
I look back to when I was in the military. I lived a different lifestyle from many of my friends that I was serving with. They tried to provoke me to see if I could fail. And they continued to mock me and I used to begrudge them that.
It was hard. But eventually, I realized why months later, one of the same men that had spent much of the time mocking me reached out to me. He ran into a life crisis in his family and he came to me. Broken. He realized he needed more. What I had, he knew, was what he needed.
Are you seizing those opportunities when God gives them to you to share the hope that is in you? I hope that you are. Afraid, you might think, “they’re going to chew me up and spit me out”. Peter is not saying that we have to have all the right words. What Peter is saying is that we have to stand ready to give our personal testimony about what Jesus has done in us and through us.
When somebody comes to me with an atheist argument, I want to defend myself as anyone else would. But first, I focus on what Christ did for me. What Jesus seems to be saying to me is that we are not to prepare a bunch of arguments, but to rely on His spirit, to share our testimony about what He means to us. Yes, prepare, but focus on the power of Jesus in your life.
It’s about letting Jesus speak through you."As you're preparing for the unbelieving world that is coming at you hard, it's just as important to be prayed up as it is to be studied up." – Dr. Todd Gray Click To Tweet
Learn all you want. Educating yourself is a fantastic thing. But it’s not just about what you know, it’s about who you know.
Once you give Jesus the proper place in your heart, that motivation will come from Him, and then it will flow through you.
Why is Christ Lord of Your Life?
So why do good in all circumstances? Because it allows you to share Christ.
Why do you make Christ the Lord of your life? Why do you give him the number one position in your life? Because He’s the only one that can hold that position.
It’s because you fear God more than you fear man. In the Old Testament, when Israel trusted in God, He was their biggest protector. When they turned to other nations and idols and feared them instead of God, they paid His consequences. Not one nation could provide what they really needed. This was the job of God and God alone.
It’s the same then as it is today. Do you fear God or man? He can be the biggest protector or worst enemy. So how are you looking at God today? We set Christ apart as Lord in our hearts because He is God and we can trust Him.
People will always let you down. Christ never lets you down. And once you have this priority in place, it will free you from the fear of men and give you the ability to defend and share your faith with others. It’s not just that you should be afraid of the Lord. It’s having a reverence for and respect for God.
There is a lot to be worried about in the world today. I know that we’re not headed in the right direction. No matter how you look at the current situation. We live in constant fear today. It’s no wonder anxiety is the number one struggle in America today. But who really is your greatest enemy? Is it a political party? You probably think so, but it’s not. Is it a foreign nation or a foreign country? No. Your biggest enemy is sin. And if God is the one that judges them, might I suggest that we start fearing Him?
If you take a casual approach and a flippant attitude towards God and His commands, that great powerful warrior will be turned against you. But if you set apart Christ as Lord of your heart, then who can be against you?
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Why do we share our faith? Because Christ is Lord and we place Him as Lord of our life and He wants us to. Why do we make Christ the Lord of our life? Because it allows us and enables us to fear God more than man. Church, the why matters. Motivation matters, the heart matters. Let Christ reign, and let all other things fall into place underneath Him.