Paul's Motivation
For much of this week, we'll be talking about several aspects of motivation. To help us in this study, we will consider one of the most highly motivated men of the Bible--the apostle Paul. Even before Paul was an apostle, he seemed to be a highly motivated individual. Have you ever wondered why he was so motivated?

What caused him to be so motivated for the law of Moses that he lived as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians from city to city--even to the point of death (cf. Acts 26:10,11)? What motivated him to admit he was wrong in persecuting the church and actually caused him to become a Christian (cf. Acts 22:3ff)? What motivated Paul to continue living as a Christian after he was scourged five times, beaten with rods three times, and suffered a multitude of other afflictions (cf. II Cor. 11:24ff)? What caused him to be so motivated for the Lord and His work that he willingly, fearlessly, and joyfully risked his life time after time?

Stephen, that's a lot of questions to answer! Indeed, it is, but in spite of that fact, these questions can all be answered with one simple statement: Paul was motivated in all these various ways because he loved God with all his heart!

His motivation for the law of Moses was due to his love for God. Initially, he considered Christianity to be an abomination to God, and he believed he was acting righteously before God by persecuting those who followed Christ. His love for God, even though he was mistaken, is what caused him to be such a terror to the church. Of course, his great love for God is also what led him to be converted! Had Paul's heart been impure at all, it would have been so easy for him to either reject the gospel or make excuses as to why he couldn't become a Christian. Yet, because he loved God with all his heart, he was willing to admit his grave mistakes and change his life completely. Paul's deep love for God is what kept him from losing heart and quitting after he was beaten and abused so many times and in so many ways. He didn't care about his physical life. Paul wasn't afraid of being persecuted for His faith--even to the point of death! Again, the reason why is centered on the simple fact that Paul loved God with all his heart!

I believe we would all benefit from analyzing Paul's motivation and comparing it to our own. I invite you to honestly examine your own motivation for the Lord and His work and see how it measures up to the motivation of this great apostle. I believe that Paul's motivation is worthy of our imitation, and I believe that, if more Christians were motivated to the extent that Paul was, the church in general would be less lethargic. If we were motivated like Paul was, we would be more spiritually focused and less worldly-minded. We would be more knowledgeable of the Scriptures and less interested in the vain knowledge of this world. We would be more dedicated in teaching the lost and trying to save their souls from eternal hellfire, and we'd be less interested in the things of this life that aren't going to matter one bit in the eternal scheme of things.

Christian friends, we need to be motivated like Paul was! We need to love God with all our heart! We will continue this theme tomorrow by considering a quote from Paul in Acts 20:24.