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MOTIVATION of the God-Made Movement

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

"Love" has such a broad meaning. I can look at my wife with loving eyes and say, “I love you,” and then look at the Little Debbie Nutty Bars on the table and say, “Boy, I would love one of those.” In all the marriage counseling that Karen and I have done, we sometimes wondered if the love the couple is talking about is more “Nutty Bar Love." Love from Jesus’s perspective could be described as a self-sacrificing affection for another that places their real needs and legitimate desires above my own. This describes how God loves us and what motivated Jesus to abandon heaven and come to earth to live with us, to die for us, and, through the resurrection, to now intercede for us. Allow me to share with you a quote from my book:

When I look into my wife's eyes and tell her that she is the only one for me, she does not want to know I am faithful to her only because of obedience to God’s command. She does not want to know the reason I do not cheat on her is the investment I have made in her and our children. NO. Although all of these are good reasons for my faithfulness, my wife wants to know that I do not violate my vows to her because I love her, uniquely her. She wants to know that to break her heart would break my heart, to violate her trust would violate me, to cheat on her would be cheating on me. Oh, that the next husband to engage pornography would feel the betrayal, the next man that gets on the Ashley Madison website would feel the pain that it causes their spouse. You would have to be pretty close to someone to feel their pain. You would have to really know them as a person to share in their suffering. This would be intimacy. -- Creating a Transformative Church Culture

The big question when we stand before God will not be "What did you do for me?" but "WHY did you do for Me?" You see, you can do the right thing in the right way at the right time and get no credit for it because you did it for the wrong reasons. Yes, motivation is that important. In 1 Corinthian 13:1-3, Paul makes a list of highly valued gifts which he raises to their highest level: "tongues of ANGELS," "know ALL mysteries," "have ALL knowledge," and "have ALL faith TO MOVE MOUNTAINS." He then knocks each off its pedestal as meaninglessness without the motivation of love. Then, again at the end of the chapter, as he gives a triad of Christian values, i.e., faith, hope, and love, he points out the superiority of love. Why? Because one day faith will be sight and hope will be reality, but love will go on and on. It is the eternal motivation.

In the Great Commandment found in Matthew 22:36-40, we also see the priority of love: it is God first and then others as self. John, the closest friend of Jesus on earth, understood that our capability to love comes from God Himself. It is because God first loved us to the point of sending His Son as the payment for our sins that we have the capacity to really love (1 John 4:1-12). It is in experiencing His love for us that God gives us the framework by which we can understand love and, thus, love God in return and others as ourselves. I have many friends whom I love so much that I might die for them, but I do not know one of them for whom I would give up one of my children. Giving up one of my children would be giving ALL. God loves us so much that He gave ALL in Christ for us, and He asks of us no more than He was willing to give us – ALL! Understanding and experiencing God’s love for us prepares us to love Him with all our being, and this relationship provides the security by which we can love others.

You cannot have a movement of God that is motivated by anything less than the love of God expressed in and through Jesus. This self-sacrificing affection for another that places their real needs and legitimate desires above my own is the only motivation that will start and sustain a movement of God.


  • What's your motivation for service? Why do you do the things you do for God?

  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "very little" and 10 being "with all my heart, soul, and mind," how much do you love God? How much do you love others?

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