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What's The Difference Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation? Find Motivational Words and Bible Verse

Updated on March 28, 2016

Motivation - The types and motivational words and Bible verses

Explained are the types of motivation intrinsic and extrinsic as well as the components of motivation. Then the best part is the motivational quotes and Bible verse to help motivate and keep the motivation on track.


Motivation - some call it desire, the catalyst,enthusiasm, the impetus, or the reason why.
Motivation is a noun defined as the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. See Google for complete definition.

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." Norman Vincent Peale

Napoleon Hill in his classic “Think and Grow Rich” gives desire and even more importantly burning desire a thorough explanation. He talks about a man who turned a thought into a desire into reality.

“Maybe young Barnes did not know it at the time, but his bulldog determination, his persistence in standing back of a single Desire, was destined to mow down all opposition, and bring him the opportunity he was seeking. “

The Bible talks about motivation in many ways. Sometimes it is the carnal part of us that drives us to do something. Some motivation may be greed or lust. Some motivation may come from our Spiritual Gift. Other motivation may come from love and wanting to help or care for a person, animal or even a thing. Some motivation is done for rewards or praise or recognition.

Following will be more definitions and examples of the types and components of motivation.

The Types Of Motivation

Psychologist can help help us understand motivation as they break it down into two types.

Extrinsic - Once again science confirms what the Bible has said for thousands of years. Extrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from outside oneself. These are the rewards, the praise, and the recognition.

Intrinsic -Intrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from inside a person. These motivations can include the sense of accomplishment, love of knowledge, enjoyment, and Spiritual gifts.

The motivation whether intrinsic or extrinsic is neither right or wrong. Motivation is just a tool to get people to do something, to accomplish a goal. Tools can be used for good or bad. At times the motivation can be stacked and have intrinsic and extrinsic reasons to make a person do something.

An example is a motivation to help abused women and also a motivation to be recognized. So one helps the abused women find shelter and then months later they are given recognition at a banquet.

In the Bible David hears about Goliath and the reward for killing him. 35 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel.”
Then David says to the king 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” 1Samuel 17:35-37 eSV
David was motivated by the reward and by the will to help Israel. 1 Samuel 17 contains more details of the story.

Motivation is not always to be looked at as good. Sometimes people get motivated to harm others in many different ways. Here is an example of a motivation that has gone off the tracks.

Haman was an official with more authority than anyone except King Ahasuerus. Haman was furious about certain circumstances and plotted to kill all the Jews.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. Ester 3:5 ESV

Read the rest of Ester to see how Haman is destroyed and many others. Mordecai and the Jews were saved from destruction. You can read about Modecai’s persistence and motivation for his people.

The 3 Components of Motivation

Activation - let’s go back to the “Think and Grow Rich” example of burning desire. Earlier in the first chapter Mr. Hill was talking about Barnes saying it was first a thought that changed to a desire. So thoughts without activation are nothing.

Persistence - Barnes had no way to accomplish his goals. The first being to work with and not for Thomas Edison and the second being a way to get to New Jersey. However, he persisted in thought and found a way to get to New Jersey and meet Edison. There is a component of self-discipline. The self-discipline shows in keeping focused in not wavering and keeping after the same goal no matter what obstacles are in front or what new shiny object has shown itself. The self-discipline corrects course and keeps after the goal.

Luke 18:1-7 ESV 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And vwill not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

Persistence can mean days, weeks, months or years.

Intensity - Thomas Edison said of Barnes “I had learned from years of experience with men, that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.” There is no distraction in intensity. It is a focus. It is like a lion chasing a gazelle. The lion gets its eye on one and goes after it.

It is difficult to have that intensity every minute of everyday. That would be like running a 2 minute offense in football for12 hours. We just are not meant to go at the pace for such a long period of time.

Now that we know what motivation is and what it looks like in the natural world. How does motivation look in the supernatural world - the spiritual world. The Bible has much to say about motivation. It may not be directly called motivation however there is zeal, work, commitment, discipline, and other phrases to talk about motivation.

Christian motivation - the reason why we do what we do is to glorify God, to show gratitude to Jesus for paying for our sins and giving us eternal life. Unbelievably, and yet believable Jesus paid for all of our sins and we took His righteousness. The motivation is the reward of an eternal life that is beyond belief. The motivation is to let others know what they can have with assurance.

The will of God should supersede our will. First God is a kind, loving and all knowing God who wants His best for us. Second God tells us not to do things - not to deny us but to keep us from harm or to give us something better. Our motivation should be “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. “ Proverbs 16:3 ESV and “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9 ESV

Motivations of Spiritual Gifts

God has blessed all believers with fruit of the Spirit and with Spiritual gifts. Everyone has a different measure of the fruit and of the gifts.

Galations 5:22-23 ESV says But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Also in 1 Corinthians 12 there is a list of the gifts which includes administration, apostleship, discernment, faith, healing, mercy, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, wisdom, tongue interpretation

The gifts are mentioned here since they have an impact on the motivation of a person. There is the Spirit on the inside of us and first He gives us the gifts on the measure He sees fit. Second the measure we have a gift is the measure we are motivated to do something or how we react to a situation.

As an example if there was a dinner and someone knocked a plate of the table and it broke people would react differently. The person with the gift of administration would organize the guest to get it cleaned up. The one with the gift teaching would instruct on how not to place the plate close to the edge of the table. The one with the gift of mercy would comfort the person. The one with the gift of faith may pray over the situation.

The Ultimate Motivation

We can see from the examples that motivation can move us to action, to be successful or to be a terror. Can we be motivated to be better at whatever we are doing? Absolutely, Paul said “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:11 ESV and “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

We are to serve God and to be the best we can be. The motivation can get askew when it is about us and us only, when the motivation puts us above family, above others and above God. Be motivated, be persistent, and intense all well showing grace to others and keeping God first.


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    • VictoryMinded profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Massafra 

      4 years ago from Pennsylvania USA

      Thank you! I hope you found the motivating and inspiring.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Excellent Materials.


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