Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?
Really though, think about it. What is your because, your reason for living like you do?
On the surface it may be easy to say something like ‘Well I’m a student and I’m motivated to get a degree’ or ‘I’m young and I do what I do because it’s fun and that’s what people do in this stage of life.’ But don’t these questions beg for more? When we dig below the surface don’t we find that we are motivated by things like security? Comfort? A desire to belong? It can be tough thinking through the because of why we make the decisions we make or why we live life the way that we do because this can be where we encounter our own brokenness, sin and vulnerability. It’s messy, and we don’t like messy.
For Christians it can be especially easy to forget the foundation of why we do what we do, our own because, in the routine of everyday life. We become numb to what God has done for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Going to church is a bore or is simply a social club. Reading the Bible lacks any power or significance. Prayer is forgotten. So what do we hold on to? What reminds us that living for Jesus and loving others is worth it? I believe that the Bible offers us a short yet beautiful perspective in 1 John 4:19, “Because He first loved us.”
In these five words I find a personal call to remember what Jesus has done for me. The gospel of grace says Jesus loves me and has died so that I may live. I must respond to this grace by believing in what Jesus has done for me on the cross and allowing him to be the Lord of my life. Yet I had no part in making this happen. I didn’t do the right thing, say the right words, or pray the right prayer to deserve Jesus’ love for me. In his book "The Ragamuffin Gospel" Brennan Manning has this to say, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” Jesus does not love me any more or any less based on what I’ve done, he simply loves me because that is just who He is. This redefines love in a world that loves based on what it will get in return.
So as Christians, when we ponder our because, our reason for being Christ followers, we need to find ourselves first and foremost reflecting on God’s love for us, asking ourselves ‘Is my life lived out of the knowledge that I am first and truly loved by God?’ There is a nakedness and freedom that come with this truth. Nakedness in the sense that God knows exactly who I am and He loves me before I could ever attempt to make myself more presentable to Him. Freedom in the sense that my life is not a performance before God. I am free to simply respond to His love with my life, it is the only response that makes sense…because He first loved me.