2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died;
2 Cor. 5:15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.
Motivation – That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. How powerful is motivation in a person’s life? When you look at the definition it is quite obvious that motivation is a key component in our lives that leads to action and determining our choices. The proper motivation in a believer’s life can make all the difference in obtaining all God desires for you.
Have you ever seen what an Olympic athlete goes through to prepare for the Olympics? Many of course begin at a very early age. They dedicate years of their life, thousand of hours, money, and sacrifice all for the opportunity to go and represent their country with the hope of winning an Olympic medal. One of the first things they address is a major change in their daily routine to prepare and train in whatever event or events they hope to compete. Not only does this routine involve physical training, it also involves a complete change of lifestyle.
These athletes change their diet to a strict regiment designed to help them obtain optimum physical conditioning. Not only do they change their diet, the hours upon hours of training, pushing themselves beyond what their bodies seem capable of doing is one of the toughest challenges they face. Many in America have parents who spend thousands of dollars to get them with a personal coach who will be able to help them become the best they can be. They put up with these trainers pushing them day after day to become better at what they do. After years of training, workouts, and sacrifice it all comes down to the goal of getting that medal. Some succeed, yet many fail.
I have heard many of these athletes talk about what their motive was that caused them to push themselves so hard for so many years to obtain this prize. The motivation for many is the hope of standing on that medal stand in front of all the world and being recognized for that moment as the best athlete in their field. There are others who have actually acknowledge that their motives may have been for a family member, or just to have the opportunity to make it in the Olympic games. One thing is for sure, if Christians get the right motivation in their lives in dedicating themselves in their walk with God like these athletes in attempting to win a medal, we are going to see some incredible results.
1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1 Cor. 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Here we have the apostle Paul referring to this very analogy in us running our race of Christianity here on earth in such a way that we may obtain the prize. He refers to the natural athlete in verse 25 as one who is temperate in all things. They do this to obtain a perishable crown, but we are doing it to obtain an imperishable crown. The reward we will receive will be an eternal reward. Just like the athlete competing for a natural crown, we can find the right type of motivation that will energize us in walking with our God. It will inspire us and even push us beyond what the flesh desires so that we can walk out what is God’s will for our life here on earth.
In our foundation text of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, we get a picture of this very motivation that was at work in Paul’s life. Notice in verse 14 he tells us that the love of Christ controlled, urged, and impelled them. What did in control them to do? In verse 15 he reveals that the love of Christ was the controlling factor that caused him each day to no longer live for himself, but instead for Jesus who had died for him. When Paul refers to living for himself he is referring to living for his own will and not for the will of Christ. This love that was now controlling Paul’s choices was seen in what is the greatest motivation the believer has to look to each and every day – the cross.
Notice that he begins by saying this love was revealed in the death that Christ died for us, for if this One man died for all, then it was clear to him that all had died. This death he is referring to of course is spiritual death, or separation from God. Paul had revelation in his heart of the power of this love revealed to all of mankind through what Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus on the cross was the greatest demonstration of God’s love to the whole world. Notice what Paul goes on to say a little farther down into 2 Corinthians 5.
2 Cor. 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.
When Jesus hung on that cross, He was made to be sin. What this means is He was made to be everything we were. He became a murderer, prostitute, thief, a liar, fornicator, adulterer, and on and on. Jesus became what we were so that we could become what He is, righteous. Righteousness is a free gift from God, which means to have right standing with God. You can only get right standing with God by being born again. When this happens you are no longer spiritually dead, separated from God, but now filled with new life, the very life of God. I don’t think most believers really have revelation of the new creation they have become, and the fact that the Spirit of God Himself is now dwelling within their spirit. How awesome is that!
Is. 53:4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!
Jesus did something more than just become sin; Jesus also took the punishment our sin deserved. Isaiah here looking prophetically into the future and referring to Christ on the cross reveals that those who would look at Jesus on the cross would think that God was punishing him for His own sins. But He had not sinned. The Father was in fact punishing Jesus, for if He had not taken upon Himself our punishment then justice had not been served and man could not be forgiven. The punishment Jesus was taking is what all of us deserved. Jesus took God’s wrath for our sin. He was being punished in our place.
Imagine if someone had committed a murder and was proven to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then sentenced to death by the judge according to the law, yet at the time of the execution someone stepped in and declared they would take their place so that they could be set free. If it was possible for one to do so imagine what that person who was guilty of the crime would think about the person who did not deserve death, for they had done nothing wrong, yet because of their compassion for this person they chose to do so. That is exactly what Jesus did when He died in our place. He was punished by God on the cross, and then was completely separated from His presence, which He had never experienced before, and then went into hell itself where we deserved to go. How can we not be like Paul and recognize if He became sin, bore my punishment, and went into hell itself, how could I not choose to now live everyday for His will and no longer for my own?
John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Jesus as our very example stated that He had not come to seek out His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. Think about what He said here. Jesus had His own will He could have fulfilled, but He chose to fulfill the Father’s will instead of His own. All through the gospels we see Jesus referring to this fact. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had cried out to the Father asking Him if there was any other way to accomplish what needed to be done, but then declared not His will but the Father’s will be done. We can walk in the footsteps of our Savior.
Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
Jesus declares to us that if there is anyone who wants to be His disciple, losing sight of self and one’s own interests, and conform wholly to His example of living, they must deny self (their own will), take up their cross, and follow Him. Taking up our cross is taking up the motivation set before us to live for Him. Jesus Christ on that cross is the greatest motivator any believer has to daily walk away from what your will is, and chose instead to follow in the Father’s will. When we walk in the Father’s will we choose to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. We make choices that line up with what He reveals to us through His Word, and the example He set for us. So just as an athlete can push beyond what they thought was impossible, so can we push beyond our flesh and our fleshly limitations. Godly motivation will help you accomplish that goal.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker