Faith

Motivated by Worship

I worked for a Christian organization for nearly 7 years where I heard over and over again motivational chapels and messages for working towards our God-given mission. Yet I grew weary and often avoided these times because I was left feeling overwhelmed. After sacrificing to work there, being fully committed to the mission and working over 60 hour weeks to accomplish it, I would hear about how much I have as an American, how much more I should be loving and how much more I should be doing. I could respond by digging deeper and giving more or feeling deflated and immobilized.
How do you motivate yourself and others to care about the brokenness and poverty of the world we live in? How do we not fall into self-protection of keeping our hearts from feeling anything because it is too risky to feel everything? How do we learn and respond to causes when there are so many demanding our attention and resources? How do we muster up the effort to respond to God’s call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly? (Micah 6:8)
Tim Keller has reminded all of us of the distinction between religious responses and Gospel responses. We can grasp that many of the questions I asked above are simply a failure to live out the realities of the Gospel. If I am living by faith in Christ, I am free from self-effort to earn anything or accomplish the good works prepared for me . (Ephesians 2:10) But even this message can be viewed as a formula for motivating others and myself. How easily we can fall into guilt-ridden motivation even while labeling it a Gospel message. If I truly understand the Gospel, I would look like this, do these good things and serve more. Oh the danger of un-defined trendy terms! So what does a Gospel-centered motivated response to a hurting world look like?
Maybe we try to motivate ourselves with a Gospel pep-talk, looking at the completed transaction rather than the author of the transaction? Maybe we try to create the how-to steps to living out the Gospel rather than simply resting in the relationship it purchased for us. Maybe we need to be cautious with over analytical questioning of our motives and religious responses because even this can be a distraction from the person of Christ? Maybe we need to start fellowshiping with God more than we talk about Him?
In the “Gospel in Life”, Keller compares a religious motive for prayer to a Gospel-centered motive. Religion views the main purpose of prayer as an attempt to control your environment while the Gospel views it as fellowship with God. Prayers overflow with praise and adoration for the one who is not only lovely to behold but condescended and sacrificed to pursue and save you.
We can never dig deep enough, we can never grasp the results of the Gospel without first knowing its author. Linda Dillow said, “It is so important to be able to say, ‘I am not primarily a worker for God; I am first and foremost a lover of God. This is who I am.’ Too often there is an emphasis on making Him known rather than on knowing Him. Often my pursuit of service and ministry superseded loving my Lord and sitting at His feet and worshiping Him.”

Committed to the most vulnerable around the world.

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