What Motivates You

Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. Psalms 38:9 (NKJV)

Have you ever thought about what motivates you?  The fact is we are all motivated by something — the question is, what? I believe every motivation for us falls into one of two camps — it is either external (extrinsic), or internal (intrinsic). Let me explain.

External motivation comes from outside of the person.  Expectations from a parent or boss can be external motivators.  Schedules requiring us to be at a specific place at a certain time, or deadlines are examples of external motivators. Externally motivated behavior will continue as long as there remains the possibility of punishment or reward. It is when we are controlled by external incentives.  The thing about these external motivators is that we are all tempted at times to despise them, and even resist or rebel against them. 

Internal motivation is the willingness of the person to act based on the potential satisfaction they will experience in exchange for the action. It will usually stem from our personal desires.  An example could be the desire to succeed in a task, or the feeling associated with accomplishing the task. The internal motivation can even stem from the fear of failing at the task. Therefore our internal motivation is fueled by our desires.  When we feel “pulled” to do something inside us we will be motivated to do it — we see this with volunteers.  Internally motivated behavior requires no threat or reward.  

Simply put, external motivation is an example of control, and internal motivation is an example of commitment.   

Internal and external motivations are very important to us in our Christian walk as believers. Whether we are motivated by external or internal reasons, and whether those reasons are positive or negative will largely shape our walk with God, or lack thereof.

If there is a lack the internal motivation within us to do something, we will probably not do it, even though it may be exactly what is best for us. For example, a person might not have a problem going to work, or doing other strenuous things, but when they need to get themselves out to do some physical exercise, which is only for them, they might not find the energy.  It can be the same way with reading our Bibles and being faithful followers of Jesus. 

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)

So, if we don’t have a desire in our heart to do the things of God, such as reading our Bibles, seeking to have a relationship with Him, or to pick up our cross to follow Him, then we probably won’t. 

So, how can we be internally motivated to have a proper relationship with God?  I believe it starts by remembering that He desires to have a relationship with us. When we truly understand how much God loves us, how He has proven His love by providing a way for us to have fellowship with Him through Jesus, we will be motivated to seek Him with an earnest desire.  

The apostles knew this and they willingly became bondservants of God and of Jesus (Rom. 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1).  Jesus touched these men’s hearts, and as a result they were willing to let God use them as He saw fit. They were willing to lose their personal ambitions for pleasing themselves; instead they desired to seek God and to serve others as Christ did. This is an eye opener for us.  It leads us to ask the questions, 

· Am I internally motivated to desire to know Jesus personally?

· Am I internally motivated by God’s sacrificial love for me — to pick up my cross and follow Jesus?   

· Am I internally motivated to desire the things of God more than the things of this world?

· Am I internally motivated to desire to read His Word — knowing it will transform me, guide me, and provide wisdom? 

STUDY QUESTION: What did Jesus ask His followers in Matthew 16:24?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you desire to follow Jesus and to be transformed to be like Him?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Ask God to reveal any area within your heart that desires the things of this world more than the things of God.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for Your transformation of my life.  Thank You for giving me the desire to follow You.  Help me to continue to see things as You do, and continue to give me a deep desire to read Your Word.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


Be Blessed, Pastor Scott




Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000