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What Should be My Motivation in Doing Something for God?

Updated on August 31, 2015

How can we know if what we’re doing pleases God? Is it enough to put, "Glory to God," at the end of everything we do? Are we to forget that God looks directly to our hearts? Because the truth is even if we are seemingly doing something for God, if it’s not from the right motivation (and according to His word) then it is definitely not of God; thus it will not be pleasing to him. (E.g. of wrong motives; to please people, protect one’s reputation, etc.)

It’s like this, we can do something carnal and just say, “Oh, I’m doing this for the glory of God!” This can deceive us into thinking that we can glorify God in our own terms as long as we declare that we did it for His glory.We can even keep God’s word yet still not be pleasing to God because our motives are wrong. It’s very important that our motivation should be our devotion to God Himself. And if we are genuinely devoted to Him then we will follow His ways and obey His commandments naturally. It will not be drudgery or burdensome, rather it will be both a duty and a great delight!

Being devoted to God means we bow down at our acknowledgement of His holiness and power, we fall on our faces because of the depths of His love, mercy and grace; and then we long to know Him more, to worship Him and praise Him more and more each day. Because of His glory and all that He is, we agree that He deserves our highest praises, our obedience and utmost devotion. Why? Because He gave us everything. He is our King, our Savior and our God.

Remember when Joseph refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife? He refused not because he feared the consequences of punishment from his master, or that he wanted to protect his reputation, not even to please Potiphar. Joseph’s motivation was his devotion to God. He feared God and desired to honor Him. He says in Genesis 39:9; “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” His obedience was because of God and for God.

Now let’s look further at this kind of devotion God desires in each one of us.

Devotion to God

Back then I thought devotion is merely an activity. Something we do when we wake up or before we sleep. Little did I know how much deeper its definition truly is. By the grace of God through His word and the ministry of a brethren (“The practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges), I have come to understand that devotion is not just a mere activity but an attitude; my attitude, our attitude, towards God. It’s not just a warm feeling or an empty resolve. Rather, it is a devotion in action.

Furthermore as I would like to emphasize, biblical devotion to God is the only motivation every blood bought saints should have in living our life in Christ. We don’t just live in Him, we should also live for Him. This kind of devotion is also the true foundation of Godly character that results in a life pleasing to God. And it is quite easy to test or examine ourselves of what kind of devotion we presently have; and that is in our obedience. You see devotion to God involves three aspects; 1. Our fear of God (Revelation ch.4,5, Isaiah ch. 6, 40,Psalm 139) 2. The love of God (Isaiah 53, Psalm 103, Ephesians 1-3)3. The desire for God. (Psalm 27)

If we fear God, that is to see Him in His transcendent glory and to respond in reverence, awe and veneration, we will obey Him. If we seek to comprehend even more how wonderful and boundless His love for us is and to see how undeserving we are of it, we will obey Him. If we fear Him as much as we love Him; to adore, worship, and love Him in the glory of all His attributes, we will desire for Him even more. That we are satisfied in Him alone yet never satisfied with our present experience of Him.

Such devotion will draw forth obedience, obedience will then bring forth holiness, and overall we will live a life that reflects the Lord Jesus Christ and bring back all the glory to God alone. Therefore, obedience is a duty and a delight to those who are truly devoted to God and continues to grow thereof. Obedience also happens to be the key to living a life worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[From his book, “The practice of Godliness”, Jerry Bridges explains that scripture teaches us how important it is (because we are commanded to) to have a biblical, genuine and growing devotion to God. If you want to study further about this kind of devotion I personally highly recommend this book mostly because it is biblically sound. And that I think is the most important if not only criteria in evaluating Christian books. ]

In the fear of God

It brings us back to the humbling truth that God brings us to Himself but we cannot approach Him in our sinful state. That is why He fulfilled His purpose and accomplished our salvation through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we cannot expect to continue living as we were before, and then expect God to be pleased with it. We were made holy before our standing to God only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but we are then clearly commanded to live blameless before Him by being holy in our conduct--- becoming like Jesus aka sanctification. (1 Peter 1:15-17/ 1 Thessalonians 4:7)

Consequently, we were saved to be His people, to be to the praise of His glory. This we often overlook if not taken very lightly. Come to think of it, if we have truly experienced the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how then can we willfully (guilt-free) continue in sin? If we truly understand the riches of His grace and mercy and all of the undeserved spiritual blessings He has given us in Christ, how then can we neglect His commandments and not desire to live worthy of Him? It’s completely impossible.

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”-2 Corinthians 7:1

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”-Colossians 3:22-23

That my friend is the only motivation that God is pleased with. We see in numerous verses how everything we think, say and do be to the glory of our God. How our attitude towards one another (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:13, John 15:12), our submission to earthly authorities (1 Peter 2:16-17), the standard of our morality be according to His word, to the glory of His name. That is the standard. That is our motivation--- that it be “to the praise of His glorious grace,” and that we are to be “to the praise of His glorious grace.” (Ephesians 1)

Ephesians 1

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before [d]Him. In love 5 [e]He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the [f]kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In [g]Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He [h]lavished on[i]us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He [j]made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His [k]kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration [l]suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things [m]in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him11 [n]also we [o]have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in [p]Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In [q]Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also [r]believed, you were sealed in [s]Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is [t]given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the [w]knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart[x]may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the [y]saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

-Ephesians 1


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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I like your definition of devotion. Fearing God means that we are aware of His presence always, and no better way to respond than in true devotion. Beautiful message here!