Motivation

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Rational Self-Interest and the Worship of God

I advocate an unusual approach to these topics based what I see as a foundational principle in Scripture: Holy Self-Interest.

The principle says:

“It is always in your rational self-interest to do the right thing.”

Rightly understood, self-interest and morality are inseparable. The right thing is the right thing because it leads to your own rational self-interest.

Why Be Moral?

When you ask “why be moral?” your answer needs to be more than, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” That is circular. What makes something the right thing? What goal does a man achieve by doing right?

Some answer that, “Virtue is it’s own reward.” Others answer that “Morality benefits others, and that is what really matters.”

But what motivation does Scripture offer? Your life. Your reward.

The Importance of Reversing John Piper’s Maxim

Can John Piper’s famous maxim be reversed?

Piper said the chief end of man is “to glorify God by enjoying him forever.”

But what if we said the chief end of man is “enjoy God by glorifying him forever”?

These statements have different meanings. Let me show how they are both true. Piper’s version speaks of God’s purposes for us. God made us so that we could enjoy him and thus bring him glory. There is a means and an end.

Save Yourself

A Bible challenge: Who said the famous words: “Save yourself”?

“Save yourself” sounds suspicious.

As Christians, we believe it’s Jesus who saves. Also, doesn’t the plea to “save yourself” seem overly self-centered?

If the phrase seems off-target, you may be surprised who said it.

“Self” on Trial: A Look at Christian Motivation

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As Christian leaders speak out for missions, some have set up “self” as a bogeyman. I regularly hear pastors rail against “self.” Apparently, the lowest insult is that a person be “selfish.”

I don’t accept this understanding of Christian motivation. In fact, “right and wrong” are categories for guiding us in pursuing life; and for any individual man, this means: his own life. Therefore, “self-interest” (a.k.a. selfishness) is the very foundation of morality.