Because God Wants Us To

Dr. Charles S. Mims By Dr. Charles S. Mims, 28th May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Why do we do the things that we do? What motivates us? Even to do good things, our motivation needs to be pure.


2 Corinthians 5:11-19 (New American Standard Bible)

11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

12We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an
occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.

13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.

14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;

15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

The story was passed on over internet about Little Billy, a Jewish boy, who was failing his math lessons. His parents tried everything they could to get him to do better in this subject, but he continued to fail. At last, they took him down to the Catholic School, and enrolled him. After the first day, Billy came home and went up to his room, closed the door, and went to work on his math. His parents could hardly get him down for dinner. After dinner, he went back and “hit the books again.” When his report card came next time, he laid it on the table for his parents to find. When his mother read it, she was amazed. He had an “A” in math. She questioned him about it wondering how such a change had come about. She asked him if it were the teachers, or the kind of books they used, but he said “no.” Then why the change in his math scores? He said, “That first day at school, I looked up on the wall, and I saw a man nailed to a plus sign, and I knew that they were not fooling around here. So I went to work on my math.

Sometimes all it takes is just a little bit of motivation! So what motivates us today? What motivates us to walk in Christ in spite of the world’s condemnation? What motivates us to get out of that nice comforting bed on a Sunday morning and drag ourselves to the meeting house to be with other people like us?

Paul lists several things in this passage of scripture that kept him motivated, and they are the very things that should motivate us as well.

We are Motivated by the Fear of the Lord

We do what we do because of who we serve. God has certain expectations, and the wise man doesn’t want to disappoint God.

Romans 14:12 says, “so then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

When I say fear, I’m not talking about the abject terror you feel when you stumble upon the snake in the grass; I’m talking about a fear born of respect for the authority of God.

The philosophy for dog obedience training has changed quite a bit in the last few decades. It used to be that many dog obedience schools operated by teaching the dog, “you better obey me, because I’m your master. And if you don’t obey me, bad things will happen.” And plenty of dogs were trained this way, and trained well. They obeyed, but they obeyed out of fear. But now there has been a shift in the thinking of many trainers, though some still do it the old way. If the old way was punishing disobedience, the new way could be characterized as rewarding obedience. In this new way of training, you don’t strike the dog, you don’t yell at him any more than a firm “no!” But whenever you catch him doing something good, he gets praise and rewards. The thinking here is that the dog is going to want to do the things that make you happy, because positive things happen to him when you are happy.

Both obedience philosophies get results, but they produce very different dogs. The old way produces a dog that is terrified to do the wrong thing. The new way produces a dog that is eager to do the right thing. And these two schools of thought work not just for dogs, but maybe you’ve seen children raised by these two ways. And this should be nothing new for us, since basically we are talking about the difference between Law motivation and Gospel motivation. In our lives, sometimes we do things, like hitting the brakes when you see a cop car, that would be obeying out of Law motivation. It is the fear of punishment that motivates you to slow down. But now let’s say that you are driving your children in the car with you. You are so happy for the gift of a family that God has given you, that you want to drive as carefully as possible, and so you don’t even think about breaking the speed limit. That would be Gospel motivation. You are motivated by thanks and love.

We are Motivated by Love

This brings us to the second motivation. Christ has done something for us that not only did we not deserve, but something that we can never repay. Look at verse 14:

14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;

Paul is saying that the love of Christ compels him to strive for better things. The idea of compulsion gives the feeling that it is something we cannot refuse to do. One might say, “well that takes away our free will”, but to say that misses a very important point. The compulsion is born out of a realization of the love that Christ has for us.

Each of us is more willing to go just a little bit further for someone we love, and someone that loves us. That’s human nature!

In 1858, Francis Ridley Havegal visited Germany with her father, who was being treated for an eye problem. While in a pastor’s home, she saw a painting of the crucifixion with words under it that said:”I did this for thee. What has thou done for me?” Quickly she took a piece of paper and wrote a poem based on those words. However, she was not satisfied with it, so she threw the piece of paper into the fireplace. The paper came out unharmed, so her father encouraged her to publish it. Later the famous song writer and composer Phillip Bliss put music to the words and today people all around the world sing it,

I gave My life for thee,

My precious blood I shed,

That thou might’st ransomed be,

And quickened from the dead.

I gave, I gave, My life for thee,

What hast thou given for Me?

We are to be motivated by a respect for God’s authority, and a desire to return the great gift of love that he gave to us.

Motivated by the Call of Christ

2 Corinthians 5:20 (New Living Translation)

20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

God is calling us back to Him. We are His creation, and over time we have wandered far away. God is saying to us that He wants us back.

We are called to represent Him, not ourselves.

While Secretary of State during the Regan presidency, George Shultz kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him and when ambassadors returning from their posts for their first visit with him were leaving his office, Shultz would test them. He would say, “You have to go over the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country.” They would go ov er, spin the globe, and put their finger on the country to which sent–unerringly. When Shultz’s old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. This time, however, Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States. He said: “That’s my country.” On June 27, 1993, Shultz related this to Brian Lamb on C-Span’s “Booknotes.” Said the secretary: “I’ve told that story, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out. ‘Never forget you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.’ ”

We must never forget who we represent. We represent God! Because we are new creations, because what we do is now according to God’s will and not our own, we have been called to carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ. Instead of pursing our own goals, we now pursue His goals. Instead of living our lives, He now lives His life through us. And the ministry we have been called to is the ministry of reconciliation.


God could have chosen the angels to share His message. God could have created a new race of super-Christians that always obeyed his every command. God could have chosen to carry out His will on His own, He certainly has the power to do so.

Yet God chose none of these options. He chose to use you, and He chose to use me. He chose ordinary people in ordinary lives with ordinary abilities to build His kingdom.

Why do we do it? Because God wants us to.


Christian, Love, Motivation, Motivational, Obedience, Sermon

Meet the author

author avatar Dr. Charles S. Mims
Charles Mims has been the pastor at South Peninsula Baptist Church in the heart of Daytona Beach for fifteen years.

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author avatar Tlchimes
28th May 2011 (#)

I was just talking with some friends about this very topic... that we are all in this together, to help each other, and why we do it.... and it isn't from fear but from love.

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author avatar Dr. Charles S. Mims
28th May 2011 (#)

Love should always be the primary motivator.

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