Bible Study – Check Your Motivation – Genesis 14

Written by Dave Urbanski

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What are your motivations? What drives you to do what you do day to day?

The Bible has a few things to say about human motivations. For example, each one of us tends to believe our own moves and decisions come from places of goodness and justice (“All of a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord”—Proverbs 16:2). It’s also very easy for us to be people pleasers rather than God pleasers (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Or as James notes in the fourth chapter of his epistle, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Who among us can’t relate to that latter observation? How often do we pursue happiness or pleasure, only to find that it doesn’t last or that the objects of our pursuits are sorely lacking? Instead the Scriptures repeatedly implore us to take the narrow road that leads to God himself — and in the end the Lord will meet our needs and much more.

On Sunday Pastor Scott gave us two lists — one that spells out external motivations and another that looks at internal motivations — and noted that as believers in Jesus, we should be driven by internal factors. Specifically, rather than being motivated by things like fear of punishment, peer pressure, desire for fame, power, and control, the tendency to compare and compete, Christians should instead have internals on our minds and hearts — motivations such as love and loyalty, gratitude, the desire to serve the Lord and make the world a better place, personal growth, a sense of accomplishment, and responsibility and integrity.

And we also learned Sunday that three important decisions Abraham made in Genesis 14 were based on internal motivations. For example, love and loyalty to his family likely drove Abraham to leave the safety of his home to rescue Lot, who had been taken captive after making a bad decision to move in close proximity to Sodom. And Pastor Scott said something that really hit home: As Christians we should be embarking on rescue missions of our own every day! Not necessarily physical rescues — although they certainly can and do happen — but spiritual rescues. Missions of the heart based on love for others and our motivation to see them be made whole inside and out by believing in and trusting in Jesus.

We also saw Abraham was motivated by gratitude when he gave Melchizedek king of Salem a tenth of what he’d won in battle (decision #2) and by personal integrity when he declined to take anything away from the king because Abraham had made an oath to the Lord not to (decision #3).

Such examples from Scripture beg the questions: What is driving you? What is motivating you?

As we grow in our faith, we should be noticing that internal motivations such as love, integrity, and gratitude are driving us. We should be making it a practice to forgive others as the Lord has forgiven us — to bear the burdens of others, to help the weaker among us. To be rescuers.

So, here’s a challenge for all of us this week: Will you ask the Lord to shine his spotlight on your heart and show you the forces that are driving you? And that if externals such as fear, peer pressure, or the desire for power and control are motivating you, ask God to help you put such motivations aside.

The Lord will always honor such a prayer request!

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