Motivation

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“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.

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.

Self Interest in Psalm 23

My Self-Interest (in purple)

God’s Self-Interest (in red)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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.

O Bless Me Now, My Savior

Does God want us to be motivated by his rewards?

For a very long time people have been singing of their great reward. And not only Americans.
The Hebrew book of worship, the Psalms, is prefaced by the following:

Blessed is the man
 who walks not
In the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stands in the way of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
 planted by streams of water
That yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
-Ps 1:1-3

Here are 50 of my favorite lines of blessing in the hymns.