Reframed: What Motivates You?
Updated: 6 days ago
“If we do not have a purpose we will fear future pain” -unknown
“What motivates you?”
I love this question because it gives insight into where we find our purpose and a sense of meaning. Think about it, whatever motivates us is the driving force of our lives. It’s the underpinning of endurance, focus, and determination. Thus, purpose influences our life choices, giving us direction, and a sense of fulfillment.
We were designed for a purpose so it is only natural that when we feel as though life lacks a specific direction, we experience distress- more specifically discouragement or even depression. If I being honest, I have felt these exact feelings and they have distorted my perspective in many seasons of life.
The pursuit of purpose is a cross-cultural phenomenon. We all desire what Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as, “an objective, an intention; a determination, or resolution.” Just look at the way we chase the concept of purpose in our American culture. Whether it be by climbing the corporate ladder, raising a family, or building a brand, our drive for direction is evident. We crave purpose yet in many ways feel as though we lack it or even worse cannot grasp it.
How did we get here? What information have we begun to believe and base our perspectives on that has created such distortion of what matters and motivates our lives? How do we begin to reframe our perspectives?
| Popular Perspectives |
As I have shared through last week’s post and videos our frames (available knowledge and perception of such knowledge) functions within a fallen world. So, let's first explore the popular opinions of purpose and their impact on our current perspectives.
As you know, we are daily bombarded with finding our meaning and significance in what the world offers. Whether by fame, financial gain, or thousands of followers, culture offers us many enticing perspectives of what gives us value. I believe culture has created the most distorted view of one's purpose, as we have been trained to measure our value with our number of likes while fighting the feelings of shame, inadequacy, and comparison.
Many of us are familiar with the way Christian culture has promoted purpose yet I would argue that we have in many ways been led astray by sugar-coated sermons and statements that promote purpose as an abstract concept. Much like the world, Christian culture has in many ways pressured our purpose, emphasizing our works over our worship and our serve over Christ’s sufficiency. Purpose, in this context, feels obscure and unattainable.
Finally, I believe that our individual personalities can pressure our perspectives of purpose. There is generally one of three types of personality we identify with: perfectionism, performance, or passiveness. For the Perfectionist, the purpose is a priority and an aspect of one’s identity. So, for the perfectionist, purposelessness can be often viewed as a personal flaw. This perspective pushes us to work harder and harder to compensate for what we feel we lack.
The performer may confuse purpose with their goals. Self-directed and driven, the performer can create a sense of “purpose” within their achievements. With this perspective, the performer can easily misplace their purpose or lose it suddenly within opportunities of failure.
Finally, the Passivist (NOT Pacifist) may lack the intrinsic motivation found in the perfectionist and performer. Their search for their purpose is found within the moment and fluctuates with feelings. This personality may experience purpose in waves, coming and going in seasons yet never finding a foundation for their motivation and thus feeling as though they may at any point miss their true purpose.
So, where do we go from here?
Now having identified the many ways our frames, filters, and focus impact our perspective of purpose, we need to begin to evaluate where a REFRAME is needed.
I think it is also important to note that the purpose I am speaking of is a collective term rather than a specific one. Simply put, what is Mankind's purpose.
To Know Christ
To understand the foundation of our biblical purpose we must go back to the very basics and review the most common Bible verse in all of scripture, John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
For this was God’s purpose for us, that we might come to know and believe the love that He has for us (1 John 4:16).
Before we can even begin to grasp the purpose we possess, we must first come to know and believe in the purpose God has for us as His child.
I John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
In Galatians 4:4-9, the Apostle Paul breaks down the purpose of knowing and being known by God saying,
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
What meaning does this knowledge add to our lives?
Have we come to take hold of the depth of God’s love for us?
That which compelled Him to offer Christ in exchange for our reconciliation. That which allows us to be, as Paul put it, “heirs through God” and "co-heirs with Christ".
This value of everlasting life and adoption into the family of God is Truth's primary purpose for us. It is the invitation to a life of meaning. A gift to a greater reward, one which the world can never offer us.
Do we know Christ?
Do you know Christ personally? Have you come to know and accept the love which has been so graciously given to you?
I know for me, this step towards a life of purpose is one that I must go back to time and time again because there are days when I forget the magnitude of my purpose in simply getting to know Christ. This world offers so many "good" things yet Christ says, He offers us much more, as we simply learn to sit at His feet and abide in Him.
So, why is it that even though we come to know the freedom found in Christ, we so easliy believe the distortions of our fallen perspectives filled with the pressures of perfection and performance?
To Follow Christ
Ironically, my previous blog series (EVERYTHING) was a study through Philippians 3 and its themes are resurfacing once again. The apostle Paul gives us the most challenging reframe in his words to the church in Philippi saying:
“ But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
What a way to view our purpose, huh?
Paul is basically saying, everything we have done apart from Christ to find value, competency, significance, meaning, is actually WORTHLESS.
I mean, I don’t know about you but this truth is hard to read because it challenges my core values of “meaning” and “purpose”.
We see this interaction play out with Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler, in Matthew 19. Jesus engages the young man’s efforts to achieve his goodness and value, yet then Jesus states in verse 21, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Jesus continues this dialogue with his disciples and Peter, challenged by this perspective asks, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Jesus responds with such an eternal perspective saying, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”
These passages are what we must renew our minds with each and every day, being reminded that our purpose is one of surrender and sacrifice on earth for the sake of our eternal inheritance is in heaven.
Jesus' invitation to pick up our crosses and follow Him (Matt 16) is a daily choice to pursue Christ-likeness; to be molded by the truth of His word and cast off anything and everything else this world deems valuable for the sake of gaining Christ.
This purpose is not popular or painless, yet in following Christ we let go of the pressures and measures this world has given us to achieve our value and simply lay ourselves down at the feet of Jesus, choosing to seek His Kingdom above all other things.
To Live for Christ
Finally, our purpose is found in living life with a heavenly focus. Knowing that all that this world has to offer is momentary and temporal, we can shift our perspective to what is lasting and eternal.
Paul reminds us of this eternal empowerment, in the final verses of Phillippians 3, He says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus..”
This is such a helpful reminder as we press into our purpose to live out the Gospel of Christ.
What does this look like here on earth?
Well, Paul gives more wisdom on living our purpose in Colossians 3. In light of our heavenly focus, Paul says,
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearings with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12-17).
Whew! Don’t be overwhelmed by this list, remember Paul’s words of encouragement while learning to daily “put on” our purpose as God’s chosen ones. Ultimately, our purpose is so simplistically captured in Paul’s final words of this passage, when He says, “ Do everything, word or deed, in the name of Jesus”.
This is our motivation: To glorify Christ's name.
Our paths may each be vastly different but our purpose as Christ’s children is the same-to know Christ and make Him known. We may preach, teach, parent, climb the corporate ladders, build successful brands, or be a part-time barista. Regardless of profession or position, our purpose is powerful and our direction is heavenward!
Let's never forget it.