Why should we seek Jesus Christ? Are we seeking Jesus because his righteousness inspires us to greater righteousness than we currently attempt? Are we seeking Jesus because we have the promise of the present and eternal sabbath as we “enter into his rest?” Or, are we looking to him because of fear, obligation, guilt, or wordly prosperity?
Within Christian teaching, preaching, ministering – whatever you want to call it – there are many ways we might find “motivation” for salvation, but are these forms really all that effective?
For most of my adult life, my “love” for Jesus was not really a love for all he stood for and promised; it was a love for my own self-preservation. I feared burning in hell forever, so I thought, “well, if Jesus isn’t real, then believing in him will do me no harm, but if he is and I do not believe, I will be tortured forever.” No-brainier choice, right? Later on, this ulitmatum, among other life-long conflictions about Christian traditions, caused me to almost lose what faith I had because I lacked clear understanding and motivation for being a Christian.
Had I continued in this form of “faith” forever, I would surely fall away when any real trouble arises, much less persecution for the faith’s sake. I would have grown very little in righteousness and in the kingdom of God, and I would probably not inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven.
In-fact, there was a time in my life before coming to the Truth that I explored other avenues of “spirituality,” “enlightenment,” and the like that also promised peace, happiness – and most importantly – life. Had it not been for the strong calling of the Lord towards seeking the Truth, who knows where I’d be today, or if I’d be here at all.
I believe that many things we use to “motivate” us as Christians actually lead us further away from the fullness of the gospel, keeping us bound to this world and the prince of it. We continue bound to selfishness and fleshly desires, fear, self-condemnation, and more.
Consider these things for yourself. What is motivating you to seek Jesus Christ? Many of us are just going along with the crowd or what we were raised in. Many of us have selfish motivations, whether we want to admit that or not, such as social benefits, fear of eternal torment, or “prosperity” preaching. Many of us are preached to in a manner that makes us feel overwhelming shame for our sin, so we approach Jesus out of obligation or self-condemnation.
We might say that our motivation is forgiveness of our sins. In that, what is the deeper motivation? Again, is it freedom from hell? For me, I seek the forgiveness of my sins not because I fear eternal torment, but because I want the ability to approach the throne of God presently so that I can begin to know Him and walk in His ways presently. I want freedom from sin and eternal death!
The possible reasons for seeking Jesus are many, and there are many ministers who basically use marketing tactics in order to “preach the gospel” and get their buildings and tithing plates full — without giving us any effective Christian motivation at all.
I don’t want to discourage anyone, and if these words cause you to doubt your motivation, my best advice is to continue in the faith anyway—but with a broader understanding that shows us a better reason for following Jesus Christ.
Jesus is God. He is our Creator, our Father, our Physician, and so much more! He loves all who are reserved unto himself, and he promises us rest from the cares and deceptions of this world. As Light and Life, Jesus provides a way that we can reside within the kingdom of heaven right now, and beyond that we have the promise of life eternal. Jesus is Truth among a sea of lies that kill, steal, and destroy our peace, love, happiness, and connection with the Father.
We should follow Jesus because we love and respect him – because we love the laws of the kingdom of God and His righteousness and because we want to walk therein. In following Jesus, we will “abide in his love,” and be a light ourselves for others as vessels of honor and glory. As we continue on and he “leads us in the paths of righteousness,” we will “fear no evil,” and we will bring forth fruit that is not only pleasant to our taste – the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control – they are most pleasant to God – and in this we will glorify His name to the world!