Fueled by Faith or Fear: What’s Driving Your Motivation?

Is Faith or Fear in the Driver’s Seat?

I realized a disturbing truth recently when it hit me that some of our positive attributes are rooted in negative ones. Some of our good habits are actually motivated by fears, pain, and anxieties –  not the grace of God. While these behaviors and patterns can be beneficial to our lives, if the root of the matter goes unchecked, we won’t get the proper healing. If we’re going to live full lives and reach our potential, we need to be whole.

faith or fearThink about all the life-changing or traumatic events in your life and how they have shaped you. For example, some people are very independent and self-sufficient because they have abandonment issues or because they were neglected as a child. Being independent and hardworking is a great character trait, however, if the root of it is pain – is it authentic?

Whether we realize it or not, those traumas we fail to address will manifest in some way or another. The personas we take on as adaptations to unpleasant circumstances are not our true identities – even when they bring good results.

Is Our Character on Shaky Ground?

Proverbs 17:20 (MSG) says, “A bad motive can’t achieve a good end…”

This is not to say that we shouldn’t learn from our past and make positive or necessary changes, but we can’t build on top of bitterness or resentment. We have to acknowledge our hurt, forgive, and then move forward peaceably. The Lord wants us to be pure and blameless – that’s why He says, “bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28). We all need deliverance and forgiveness; we all need grace. God doesn’t want people or circumstances to harden our hearts.

I believe that motivation reveals what has our heart – what controls us. This is why we have to be internally led by the Spirit.

If I hoard money because my mother had an issue with gambling, it means that fear has me bound and I have allowed it to dictate the way I live. How does that then affect my giving? Will I worship my job? Will it be hard for me to accept Jesus as my provider or trust Him to give me the wisdom to steward over my finances?

When we are motivated by negative experiences, we subconsciously forsake the Word of Truth in that area. A lot of what becoming Christ-like means is unlearning our ways and adopting His way – even when it’s uncomfortable.

The Word of God Over Our Experiences

identity in christGod’s Word is loaded with truth about who He created us to be and how he wants us to live and prosper. We have to study and meditate on those truths in order to be moved by them.

We have to take responsibility and cooperate with Him to be made whole. The identity He has given us in Christ will bring about long-lasting change and peace.

I was praying the other day about consistency and work ethic. I was troubled by my fickle work habits and (to be frank) a bit embarrassed by my apathy. My job is such a blessing, I prayed for it – so what was the problem? God began to reveal that I will continue to burn out because I am motivated by the wrong things. The Bible says, “do everything as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). I realized I was looking at my job as a means to an end, constantly burdening myself with worry about things I need to get or do, and it was wearing me down. I wasn’t working as unto the Lord, focused and diligent to each task – I was completely consumed by my “needs” that He promised to supply.

Psalm 23:1 (NLT) “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

When we meditate on scriptures like this, it takes root in our heart and changes us. If I fully understand that God is my shepherd and I have all I need, then I am no longer bound by that need. I am no longer burdened or fearful of lack or loss.

How do people who don’t need to work show up to work? Joyfully! At this point, our work is now simply another vehicle we use to worship and bring Him glory. It’s another opportunity to grow and perhaps even share Him with others. Security in Christ changes our perspectives and we are no longer motivated by things we already have in Him.

Internal motivation is vital to our success. Success is more than the lifestyle we’ve always dreamed of. It’s about peace and freedom, joy and passion. Loving and being loved.

When we know who we are and accept our God-given identities, we experience true success. Team, if you’re struggling with motivation, I would challenge you to ask yourself what is driving you. Pray for the Lord to reveal areas where you have been bound or moving out of fear.

God wants you to be whole, He wants your heart. Freedom is available to us when we accept His truth.

So, What’s the play call?

  1. Ask the Lord for revelation on your drives and motives; make sure they’re rooted in Christ (James 4:3).
  2. Remember that the pain you suffered should not be the basis for your character. Forgive and move forward.
  3. The key to real change is feeding on the Word daily. Feast on the bread of life!

Be blessed.


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