Motivated by the Master

Published 9:07 am Friday, January 11, 2019

By Pastor Brandon Young
The root word of motivation is motive. A motive is the reason, cause, or purpose to do something. What is the motivation of a Christian? Oftentimes we are motivated by self, success, entertainment, money, and a host of other worldly things, but none of these will sustain us. It seems that many Christians today are walking around in a spiritual slump due to the lack of real motivation. The motivation of Christians is supposed to be exactly the opposite of what motivates unbelievers. For one thing, our sense of motivation or inspiration comes from God, not from the things of the world. David spoke of his motivation in his psalms: “I delight to do thy will, O my God; Yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Later he wrote, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25).
Apathy is a lack of feeling or emotion, and impassiveness is a lack of interest or concern. Comfort means enjoying or providing a position of contentment and security. These emotions encourage serenity, well-being, or complacency as well as physical ease. It is easy to get to this place as a Christian. We lose interest and concern for others and our lack of feeling and emotion makes us callous and hard hearted, and we find ourselves comfortable in this position. We tend to take care of ourselves, and do what is convenient. This is not the will of God for his children. God wants his children motivated, passionate, and always desiring to do more, even when we must sacrifice our wants and desires.
The world is motivated by self and the exaggeration of self, the all-about-me syndrome, which is identified by self-determination, self-obsession and self-worship. The Bible does not teach us to be centered on ourselves. In fact, it teaches just the opposite. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12; Luke 9:48). As followers of Christ, we are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). The cross was an instrument of death, and Jesus’ message to us is that only those who die to self will truly follow Him. We do that by doing nothing out of vanity and conceit, but instead considering others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). This is the motivation that God requires, and the Bible is full of examples of men and women so motivated that they were living to lay down their lives for Christ.
Let’s take a look back at the wise men in the scriptures. What in the world would motivate these men to travel so far to see a child? They knew the prophecy and they had been expecting a Messiah to be born, and they wanted to see this child and worship him because they recognized his star and knew he was the King of all Kings. Their sole focus was worship which in essence is love. Love is a sacrifice, and they were willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and effort to worship him in person. They followed the star by night, and their journey could have been 500 to 1,000 miles in length. It took them at least two years to get to the town of Bethlehem, and contrary to popular beliefs, they were not there with the shepherds the night of Jesus birth.
The Bible tells us that the baby was a child, and Mary and Joseph had a house there in Bethlehem. I am positive that the magi were tired and weary at times, but every night they traveled on to see the child. We must realize that we too are on a journey to see Jesus face to face, and no matter how weary we grow, we must get up and continue for Jesus! The scripture tells us that the wise men fell down in love and admiration and presented the Christ child with gifts of gold, frankincense, a myrrh when they went inside the home of Mary and Joseph. Gold was a gift for kings. Frankincense is an incense, and the burning of which represents prayer. It was issued by priests and indicates the priestly nature of the Messiah. Myrrh is a fragrant perfume, used in embalming bodies. The inclusion of this gift can be seen as prophetic of the death of the Messiah. So, these three gifts together underline the Messiah’s offices as prophet, priest and king. These wise men had traveled around close to 1,000 miles to worship this child, and present him gifts expecting absolutely nothing in return. Their motive was only love. They were motivated by the Master! Once they looked upon his face, they were completely satisfied for they had seen the Messiah! Are we motivated by the Master? Do you long to look upon his face? Let’s get motivated by the cross, by the empty tomb, by his grace, mercy, and forgiveness that he bestows upon us every day! Our greatest motivation should be his second coming! Blessed is the servant he finds so doing when he returns!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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