by: Dr. Bob Gray II
There are two opposing thoughts in Christianity and especially among Independent Fundamental Baptist ranks concerning the twins of DUTY and MOTIVES. There are some who teach motives do not matter in the Christian life and that duty is the supreme ruler leading us to be good Christians. Their conventional thinking is this: your reason (motives) for doing (duty) is of no consequence.
However, when you read the Bible, you are constantly walking away with a glaring fact that your motives or reason for doing should be the foundation for your duty. I Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that our motive or reason for eating, drinking, or whatever should be based in glorifying God.
Those who preach that duty trumps motives will experience a performance-based Christianity that leads to spiritual burnout. Proper motives produce a longevity in Christians that simple duty cannot. Duty without love over time leads to weariness and frustration; however, we must constantly be pushing the biblical message of John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” The more we work on our love for the Lord, that is our motivation, the more we will find Christians keeping the commandments, that is our duty.
Should duty and motives be two opposing thoughts? No! Duty and motives should be one harmonious thought arranged in the proper order. Motives are the reason and duty is the result. When we work on our heart relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, our duty will be an easy yoke and a light burden; thus, fueling an excitement for Jesus which will motivate us to do more for Him.
A duty-based Christianity or ministry yields quick results that cannot be sustained over a long period of time. Duty based Christianity and ministries produce a false litmus test that being right with God is directly tied to how you do, rather than how much you love. Let us never forget what the greatest commandment is as given by our Lord. “Thou shalt love…” not “Thou shalt do…” Jesus even gives us an example in the story of Mary and Martha. In Luke 10, Jesus told us what was needful and what was the good part that would not be taken away. Martha (duty) and Mary (motives) are the poster children for this very thought. While Martha (duty) is very needful to accomplish for the Lord, Mary (motives) found the motivation that gave her the reason to perform her duty. Mary’s motives were fueled while sitting at the feet of Jesus.
When you are deciding the kind of Christian you want to become or the kind of ministry you want to have, always remember to find your motivation at the feet of Jesus which will turn your duty into something wonderful and exciting that will last a lifetime. MOTIVES DO MATTER!
Dr. Bob Gray II
Longview Baptist Temple