Why do you do the things you do? Why do you go to work each day? Why get an education? Why fellowship and take part in leisure activities? Why do you do household projects or hobbies? Why play with your kids? Why do volunteer work? Why take a stand against injustices? Why do you serve the Lord at Church? Why give money to charities or tithe? Why support ministries?
Perhaps those could be construed as silly questions with obvious answers such as these. We have to go to work or school. We enjoy being happy and pleasing others. We feel good when we are productive. We will make more money if we have an education or will be more respected. We like to be liked. We love using our talents and gifts. We enjoy investing in our children. Volunteering is simply giving back what we’ve been given. We want to make a difference and do the “right” thing. We love the body of Christ and want to serve with them. We need tax deductions. We want to help those on the front lines by supporting ministries. We want to obey God by tithing.
Those might all be good answers but a problem arises when we don’t get those expected results? What if we don’t succeed at work or school? What if we are never happy or feel like we can please others? What if we don’t feel productive no matter how hard we try? What if our education simply over-qualifies us and we are stuck in a low-paying job with no respect? What if people don’t like us? What if we don’t even know what our talents and gifts are much less use them? What if our kids or family don’t even seem to like or support us? What if we feel unappreciated or don’t feel we are making a difference? What if doing the right thing gets wrong results? What if our brothers and sisters in Christ don’t jump in and serve with us? What if we don’t get a tax deduction for giving? What if we want to be on the front lines in ministry but are overlooked? What if we get disillusioned with those we are supporting in ministry? What if we don’t want to tithe to our church?
By answering the “What if” questions we get to the core of why we do what we do and discover our “motivation” for doing things is not exactly what God has in mind for us. Often times, whether we admit it or not, we “do what we do” because there is something in it for us. Likewise, when we “do what we do” because it benefits us, we usually stop “doing” when we stop “getting”. This is where people get messed up in life and off track with God because they work, learn, invest, support, or play for worldly reasons like being happy, to get ahead, to be respected or appreciated, or to feel good.
Without even being aware of leaving God’s track, a tragic thing happens when we are motivated to “do” for worldly or selfish reasons. We become conditional people. We base our willingness to work or get educated on what we get out of it. We choose to fellowship only with people who feed our egos. We only serve where we feel appreciated. We only tithe if our church or leaders make us feel good, agree with us, or give us what we want. We only use our gifts and talents where people notice how awesome we are. We only invest where people make us feel like we make a difference.
Unfortunately most of us will deny we live this way. We like to think we do everything for the right reasons because we have good hearts. But the Spirit of God has taught me just how impure our heart motivations truly are and though it may be hard to swallow we thank God because He only disciplines those He loves. We rejoice for His heart in telling us the truth, which literally changes lives!
I once heard a prophet say something which I initially agreed with and applied but have since repented along with all its’ effects. I know his intention was good and perhaps you might even find yourself agreeing with him but I’m just saying it led me “off-track” with God. He said, “I do not go into places where I am only tolerated but I go where I am appreciated.” I understood his point since he has a strong prophetic gifting and was often rejected and battled strong opposition in the spirit realm. It made perfect sense for me to take this attitude in ministry and life because even Jesus said if you are not received wipe their dust off your shoes and move on. Of course, I dismissed the thought you actually have to go into places you might be only tolerated in order not to be received. If you only hang out where you are appreciated you will never wipe any dust from your feet. Not to mention Jesus was talking about preaching the Kingdom in those verses!
If we only go and do where we are appreciated or where we get something out of it, we become conditional people because our motivation “to do” is based on what we gain or receive and not on sacrifice, obedience, and giving. But if we go and do in obedience when there is nothing in it for us, perhaps even just tolerated or even persecuted, we are challenged, strengthened, and will grow in the Lord because of our dependence on His ability not our own, and interested in His favor and rewards not those of men.
Conditional people move on quickly and efficiently, trashing relationships and opportunities on a whim if they don’t “get” what they expect through their “giving”. They develop a mentality of feeling justified in making decisions to desert because of feeling they are worthy of far better treatment. To be honest this attitude only lends itself to the development of a victim mentality and/or a spirit of entitlement. We will either feel people are abusing or disrespecting us leaving us as victims, or we rise up in pride and arrogance as we develop an appetite for constant approval and appreciation filling us with entitlement!
I would say most of us have no idea we have become conditional in our relationships and “doings” of life. Most of us have been hurt in relationship, wounded by risking, betrayed by trusting, overlooked by investing, and hardened by the effects of all these! But there is a simple remedy in the Word of God that brings freedom from this “me” attitude. First we must allow Holy Spirit to soften our hearts, trust Him enough to bare our souls, and humble ourselves enough to say “Yes, Lord, this is true of me.” Then we begin to do life His way!
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”Whatever we do! Whatever means anything, no matter what, whatsoever, doesn’t matter what! “Whatever” includes everything from the first paragraph! Why do we do the things we do? Because we do whatever in the name of the Lord Jesus! When we do all in His Name, there is nothing in it for us! Our motivation is pure, holy, and undefiled! All conditions are removed because we are motivated “to do” all in His Name!
Every answer shared in the second paragraph is about self and others and though they might be good answers, Jesus trumps them all! And every “What if” question can be easily answered with “It doesn’t matter!” You see, when we choose to give thanks to God the Father through Jesus, and we do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, whatever we do in word or deed is very good! And that is the truth! So let me ask again, “Why do you do what you do?”
If you are holding back because there is nothing in it for you, because you aren’t getting back what you want, expect, or feel entitled to, or only “doing” if you are “getting”, today is a new day! Today is a day to try something new! Find something where there is NOTHING in it for you, then give it EVERYTHING you have! Why? Because then you will position yourself to learn how to do “whatever” in Jesus’ Name and for His sake and glory not your own.
Life is all about making unconditional choices. Life is all about saying and doing whatever ALL in the Name of the Lord! What a simple but powerful truth! We see this approach to life displayed again in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Again notice the all-inclusive “whatever you do”! Beautiful, encouraging words for sure. Words that focus our attention, our words and behaviors on God not on ourselves and others! In this fashion we continue to do, irrespective of whether anything is “done” for us! We stop mentally keeping track of all the things not done for us and/or the things done to us! We simply do whatever all to the glory of God!
There is more! The Bible says it again in Colossians 3:22-23 “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…” This is significant because it speaks specifically to bond servants. We don’t think in those terms today so think about children, students, laypeople, or employees to grasp the implication.
Nowhere is the suggestion to obey only when we agree, when we feel like it, want to, or when there is something in it for us. It doesn’t give permission to disobey, walk away, dishonor, or disrespect our masters. If we don’t like the word “masters” insert parents, teachers, professors, pastors, or bosses to get the gist of what God is telling us here. We don’t “do” just to get attention, to impress or please superiors but we do “whatever” with a sincere heart. A heart after God with a desire to please Him! When we do things for others as if we are doing it to the Lord there is great joy in whatever we do!
And we do it with the fear of God! If you have fear of God – you have it all! So, whatever you do, do it with all your heart, do it as to the Lord, and do not do it unto men! “Doing what we do” God’s way does bring its reward! Colossians 3:24 “…knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” As we serve men with sincerity and fear of God, we serve the Lord and God pays us! We receive His reward which far surpasses anything man can give to us. We don’t look at what people can give us in return for our service, we only look to God.
What a difference this will make in our lives when we do “whatever” in Jesus, for Jesus, and because of Jesus! Watch out world! It’s a New Day!