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'Winging It

    by Stan Smith

What's My Motivation?
Date Posted: May 25, 2022

Have you heard that one? "What's my motivation?" It usually comes from an actor playing a part and wants to know better how to play the part, so asks the director, "What's my motivation?" because knowing why you do something helps you to do it better, more authentically.

In Romans 12, Paul beseeches his readers (where "beseech" is more of a command than a plea) to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice." Now, you have to admit, that's quite a command. You see, a "sacrifice" is not small. It is costly. (A "sacrifice" that costs nothing is no sacrifice.) And while normal "sacrifices" end their lives on the altar, Paul is calling us to be living sacrifices. We end our lives for us and live them for Him. So we must ask, "What's my motivation?"

Romans 12:1 begins with the "why" to the command. It is the term, "therefore". What is that "therefore" there for? Well, while most biblical "therefores" can be traced back to a few verses prior, this one is the product of the previous 11 chapters. Paul has laid out a huge piece of doctrinal truth. God is angry at Man because he has failed to properly worship God. This failure is universal and complete. But God sent His Son to become the propitiation for our sin and, in so doing, became both just and justifier. Now we are not saved by working for it, but we are declared righteous by faith alone. The death of the man, Jesus, was sufficient to counter the sin of the man, Adam. And we who in baptism are identified with Christ's death and resurrection are no longer slaves to sin. While we still suffer from them and even greatly, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We have His Spirit in us and know that He works all things together for good. Since our Accuser is our Defender, no one exists that can separate us from the love of God. Saved, then, by the will of God and not by the will or efforts of ourselves, we find ourselves grafted into God's tree of the Chosen. "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

Therefore, on the basis of all that, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. It is reasonable service to perform as an act of worship. That's your motivation.

You see, human motivation is fairly simple. There are only two: hope for gain or fear of loss. When we start out, our main motivation is hope for our personal gain or fear of our personal loss. If we mature some, we might grow into a hope for the gain of others or the fear of the loss of others. Paul is calling us to the highest motives: hope for God's gain and fear of God's loss. At this point, given all that we are not and all that God has done to remedy that, we become insignificant. In the words of John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). We arrive at the point that even our good acts simply glorify our Father in heaven. It's only reasonable. It is worship. That's your motivation.

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"God's Words For US" from Cecelia Lester


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Biography Information:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. 'But God ...' I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.

I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.

For more writings you can see my blog at
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