Christians are called to live godly, holy lives. That
is the mandate from our Lord. Pretty simple, right? Yet all too often,
we lose sight of why we do what we do. I know I have/do. Why do we do
the things we do, regardless of what it is we do, what is the motive?
would expect the things we do are as varied as we are. Yet the motive
behind it should be the same. I doubt, however, that it is. The Gospel
is simple. Jesus lived a sinless life, died on a cross to pay the
penalty for our sins, and rose from the dead to defeat Death and Satan.
We are saved by faith in His substitutionary death on our behalf. With
this marvelous gift, you'd think we would "get it." (But we don't.)
I said, the motives that Christians have for what we do are as varied
as we are, but it shouldn't be the case. Some people do things for
Jesus to earn their place in heaven. Others do so out of guilt. Others
try to merit rewards. Others to please men. Yet none of these please
God. As it is written: "Be careful not to do your 'acts of
righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have
no reward from your Father in heaven. "So when you give to the needy,
do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the
synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the
truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to
the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is
doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees
what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4 NIV) Those who
do things to be seen by men have received their reward on earth. They
shouldn't expect anything further.
What then should be our
motivation? Gratitude. We should live to please God. That alone should
be the reason why we do what we do. Paul tells us, "Finally, brothers,
we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you
are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this
more and more." (I Thessalonians 4:1 NIV) Whatever we do should be done
out of pleasing God. Doing whatever He has called us to. Doing it out a
heartfelt gratitude for what He did for us.
When we have a right
understanding of the Cross, we will have the right motivation. Anything
else has its reward only on the earth.
Roach is an Evangelical Christian. An Elder-at-Large with The Potter's
House, John is an author of Christian discipleship books, and is a PhD
candidate in Theology at Trinity College and Seminary.