Should Christians Care about Motivation?

Why should we, as Christians, care about motivation?

Isn’t this “internal locus of control” just a bunch of psychological blowing into the wind?  What does the Bible say about motivation?

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

This verse tells me that, while always trusting Him, I should continually press on in my calling and work in the things that He has called me to do.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

In my previous post, I explored the idea that choice is the key to motivation.

We might also ask the question:  If we believe that God is sovereign, won’t He will make sure what needs to happen actually gets done?

Absolutely, He will.  But it is also clear throughout scripture that He created us to be motivated by choice.  Adam was privileged to choose names for the animals even before the Fall.  Abraham chose to obey God, leave his home and eventually to sacrifice Isaac.  Mary and Joseph chose to submit to God’s will.  The study of how God created our minds to work has simply confirmed this.

And what a fascinating study it is.  God reveals Himself to us through His creation (Romans 1:20).  In all of creation, what could be more revealing a lens through which to know God than the mind of man, created in His image?   

As Christians, what motivates us to act?

What are the reason behind our actions?  We seek to glorify God in all that we do – in word and in deed.  We seek to know Him better through His creation as well as through scripture.

However, we also sometimes fall into the comparison trap.  What truly motivates us:  Doing what others do, having what others have, or glorifying God in all that we do?

When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.  2 Corinthians 10:12

This goes back to finding our “why”.  When we stop to examine our why, the motives of our hearts are revealed. And we can pray the next, more important question, of whether this thing that we want (or don’t want) to do aligns with His will.

If learning how our minds work helps us to know Him, and using that knowledge encourages us to press on toward His calling, then I would argue that it is time well-spent.

What do you think about the study of psychology as a Christian?  Do you believe that it is a revelation that God gives us as a gift for us to use?  Or is it a man-centered worship of our own creation?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.