Motivation

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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.

A Flowchart of Self-Interest

Why do you follow God?

At foundation, the proper motivation is self-interest. Many don’t want to believe this. How do you convince them?

Keep asking “why?” 

If there is an answer at all to the question of “why?” it must be a reason and it must be a reason for that person. If you can convince a person to keep asking why, he will keep getting closer to the inevitable answer of self-interest.

Love of Self?

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A couple days ago I wrote about my bold position on self-interest in the Bible. I gave verses that point to one’s own life as the standard of value. One reader responded with a set of verses that seem to deny self-interest. Today I’ll explain one of them: 2 Timothy 3:2.

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…”

The verse condemns wicked people for being “lovers of self.”

In light of this verse, should I change my view on self-interest?