Why Do You Do What You Do?
You can go into any bookstore and find shelves stacked with motivational books. There are seminars and research studies on motivation. Whether motivation comes through money, prizes, other external rewards, or just the reward of a job well done, we want to motivate people to do the right thing.
But what is it that motivated guys like Paul the apostle? Just think for a moment what he went through...traveling long distances, suffering heat, cold, and fatigue, enduring shipwreck and beatings and antagonism and jail over and over again. What motivated him to do that? What motivated any of the men who gave their lives in service to God?
Second Corinthians 5:9-11 tells us. "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
These verses give a threefold incentive that drove Paul the apostle. First, he had a Godward ambition. Verse 9 gives Paul's stated goal for his life: "To be well pleasing to Him." He said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). I believe this is very rare today, even among most Christians. Paul said, "For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:21).
Do you know why you were made, why you are here on this earth? It's simple: to please God. The anthem that will be sung in heaven is, "For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11, KJV). The truth is, the more you do as you please, the less you will be pleased with what you do. But the more you live to please God, the more you will be pleased with your life.
Second, Paul had a heavenward motivation. What made him this way? In 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, he's talking all about the future glory, and also the future judgment, that he calls here the judgment seat of Christ. You will be there, if you're a Christian.
The phrase "the judgment seat of Christ" means that in heaven we will be given rewards based upon what we do in this life for Christ. Now don't misunderstand: You don't get into heaven through works, but by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. However, you will get rewarded in heaven based upon your works done for Him on the earth.
The judgment seat of Christ is a final assessment of what Christians do from the time they're saved to the time they get to heaven. And our lives should be motivated by that.
Finally, Paul had an earthward occupation. The truth is that everyone will stand before God at some point. It's going to be so awesome for us, but it's going to be an absolute terror to others who don't know Christ. And that should motivate us to persuade as many unbelievers as possible to be right with God. Christian, when you die, you're going directly to heaven. But until that day comes, you have a task, and that is to persuade people.
Paul's ambition, his motivation, and his occupation should be ours a well. We need to filter all of our hobbies, our interests, our passions, our ambitions through the grid of "Am I living to please Christ?" As C. T. Studd said, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last."
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