Friday Devotion

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

All of us are motivated by something. It might be pleasure, a sense of thrill, a loss, desire, fear, an obligation, need, or just about anything. And, just as we’re moved toward homemade chocolate toffee by our sweet tooth (hint hint!), so too we can be catapulted into revenge out of hurt or embarrassment.

What motivates you? In particular, what motivates or stirs you to pursue your faith and try to stay faithful & resilient in your walk with Jesus?

As a kid, I saw for years some of my first profanity, written of all places, on the wall of our church’s men’s bathroom stall. It said something like, “I don’t mind Jesus, it’s just all those (expletive removed) Christians that tick me off!”

Well, once I got over the shock of seeing the “F” bomb explode in our CHURCH bathroom, I was continually amazed that for years that single line, penciled in, graffiti stayed on that wall. Never erased. Never painted over (though the bathroom had been painted a couple times through the years since). For all I know, maybe it is still there to this day. Wouldn’t that be something!

Sometimes small phrases, little accusations, ring so powerfully true and have such an “everyday” person’s following and resonance, that they stick with us even if a bit brash, hard or profane. With a wry smile and a simple nod of the head, we are immediately in agreement and understand the sentiment of the words.

Christians are, as people are in general, broken, imperfect and often times hypocritical. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the nature of our humanity. And as a created being, I often times get it wrong.

What motivates Christians to pursue Christ, to strive to be obedient to God’s Word, or to attempt lives pure and blameless? Guilt? Shame? Fear of hell or disappointing a parent, spouse or spiritual mentor?

Sadly, most of my life has been a real screw up. It’s true! I know every time you see me, you see perfection and almost next to godliness—NOT!! Ha! Ask my wife, or those who know me best. They’ll tell you. And I’ll bet a lot of us feel that same way. We’re just good at covering up or not letting others very deeply within. I have discovered acting out of guilt or shame, even remorse and fear, only motivates me for the short term.

It wasn’t until I became aware of His love, patience and sacrifice, and that He still desires a friendship with me, that I was deeply impacted and moved. Out of gratitude, I found myself strangely motivated more consistently and more with purpose. I discovered thankfulness--gratefulness, moved me more deeply than shame or guilt--or fear, any day.

Search the scriptures. Pray and ask to be shown. Look, and see, what all He has done (Psalm 34:8) and I believe you too will be moved…more closely to Him.

An “attitude of gratitude”. That’s why my mom used to say. And you know what? She was so right. Having an attitude of gratitude, realizing all He has done for me, has spurred me more dearly to pursue Him and His righteousness. Am I great at it? Am I perfect? Hardly. But my heart is moved. And where my heart is moved, so too my life, my actions, my spirit, my aspirations & my dreams.

“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks.

Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”

–Tim Keller