La Raison

March 18, 2017

Image result for the raisinettes

(ok, if you haven’t had french, this is a pun)

Imagine two friends, John and Jack, who engage in similar behaviors. John regularly eats vegetables, as does Jack. John regularly wakes up a 6 a.m.; so does Jack. John frequently comes to the aid of his neighbor, which Jack does too. On the surface, the behaviors might appear exactly the same yet be radically different in regard to their motivating factors. The reason is that Jack is a Christian and John is an unbeliever.

 Jack eats vegetables because he believes his body is a temple and wants to treat it well. John just likes the taste of them. Jack wakes up at 6 a.m. to pray. John does it to work on his fiction writing. Jack helps his neighbor because he feels called by God to do so. John just wants to be a nice guy. See how both perform the same action but are motivated by different things?

 Human behavior occurs when three factors come together: motivation, ability and a cue. Out of these three, the most important and influential is motivation. Motivation is the reason or reasons we have for acting or behaving in a particular way.

 This seems surprising because ability might seem more important. For example, if you lack the ability to perform surgery, you can’t successfully perform a heart transplant regardless of motivation. But in general, motivation is usually more significant because it can prevent us from engaging in a behavior whether or not we have the necessary ability.

 To change a behavior in a way that glorifies God, we need to have the right motivation. The source of our motivation is found in Colossians 3:1: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Because we have been raised from death and united with Christ, we are free to set our hearts on “things above.”

 In verses 23–24, Paul writes about another clear motivation: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

 Here are four questions to ask regarding your motivation for wanting to change your behavior:

  1. Does God want me to start/stop this behavior? Before considering how to change a behavior, we must first ask whether it’s something God wants us to do. In some cases, the answer is clear; the Bible requires us to engage in certain behaviors and avoid others. Similarly, some behaviors require that we rely on a Biblical principle to guide us in knowing what to do. Other behaviors can affect Biblically proscribed or prohibited behaviors yet are not required by God. For instance, we might need to set our alarm clock for 6 a.m. to spend more time praying or reading Scripture. While God doesn’t require we get up at a certain hour, that behavior might be necessary for us to be more faithful or obedient.

  2. Is God my primary motivation? Take an honest assessment of why you want to change a behavior. There might be nothing wrong with a secondary motive, but God needs to be the ultimate motivation. For instance, you might want to change a behavior to please a spouse. But the ultimate motive should be that your love for God compels you to act in a more loving way toward your spouse.

  3. What specific things has God done for me in the past? If you need to develop healthier habits, one way to become motivated would be to think of a time when God healed you from an illness. Remembering what God has done in the past can motivate you to behave differently in the future.

  4. Am I maintaining the right motivation? It’s not enough to have the right motivation to initially change a behavior; we also need to sustain the right motivation. For instance, we might initially begin an exercise program because it helps us have the energy to serve the Lord. After several months of activity, though, we might find our motivation has changed, and that we do it out of vanity or a desire to impress others. Frequently accessing your motives ensures that “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, [you] do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Lori in prayer as she goes through chemo

Her daughter Elizabeth.

Roger S, skin cancer

Praise from Bonnie B, 10 years today,, accepted Jesus

 

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