Have you ever been asked the question, “What motivates you?” Over the years I have been asked this, or something like it, by people curious about why I do the things I do. Whenever I am asked I typically give an answer like:
“I am motivated by a love for my family. Everything that I do is for them.”
“I am motivated by a love for God. I know what He has done for me and I would do anything for Him.”
“I am motivated by a love for life. I want to make the most of the one that I have and leave something valuable behind.”
Apparently there are quite a few things that I love! What is interesting about each of those answers, and answers like them, is that love really is a pure motivation. Love is an entirely selfless desire to meet the needs of another and when we love there is nothing within our ability that we will not do for the one that we love. And here’s the thing: love is not a burden! We do it because we want to. The Bible says this about love in I John 4:18:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
I struggle with this verse because I don’t like what it implies.
I could go on, but I think the point is understood. I also know that not everyone will agree with me, but I think it is possible to have concern for the people and circumstances that we care about without being overwhelmed by fear. Fear, in my opinion, is saying something like this:
“God, I do not believe that you are big enough or powerful enough to work in this situation. Since you are not big enough, and I am not strong enough to control the situation myself, all I can do is allow the emotion of fear to drive me.”
When we are motivated by love for God and others we will do all that we can to use the resources available to us for their benefit and trust God to do what only God can do. There is no fear because I am not and DO NOT NEED TO BE in control.
2. The other thing it implies is that I am often motivated by fear.
I know and believe everything written in the last point, but I still choose, often, to allow fear to be the primary motivation in my life. I do things, or more often don’t do things, that are outside of my ability to control and determine outcomes. When I am forced to do things that I can’t control I get angry or spend my time worrying about what might happen. I make decisions emotionally, based on how I feel in this moment, instead of considering what is best even though it may not FEEL best.
We all respond differently to fear, but the one thing we all have in common is this: When fear is the motivation we will fall short of accomplishing the things we were put on the earth to accomplish. Why? because accomplishing anything truly meaningful requires us to allow love for God, or family, or others (and sometimes all three) to cast out fear and clear the way for us to accomplish. We can do pretty well when motivated by fear but “pretty well” falls short of doing all that God intends.
So, when motivated by fear, what do we do?
Fear is something that EVERYONE deals with. Those who accomplish all that God created them to do have simply (and sometimes not so simply) decided that it will not control them. Let the motivation of love cast out fear in your life and trust a God that really can control outcomes for the future!