Checking the Motivation of Our Hearts
Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
My husband and I want our kids to learn at an early age to do their very best for the Lord in all things, even if there is no reward for it here on earth. We began talking about Colossians 3:23-24 with them. In college, God began placing on my heart that my motivation could not be a reward or praise that I may earn from man. My motivation had to be doing all things for the Lord to glorify and honor Him.
While teaching my children this lesson, I began to be convicted over how I handle everyday life. Do I think about my life being in Christ and what I do every day as a reflection of Christ and what He has done for me? Do I offer my best to the Lord as worship in my marriage, parenting my children, my relationships with others, other ministry God has given me, even in my housework?
Warren Wiersbe explains, “The heart of every problem is the problem of the heart, and only God’s Spirit and God’s Word can change and control the heart.” How can my heart motivation line up with Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”?
First, We need to set our minds on things above, not on what is on the earth (Col 3:2)
Our motivation has to be glorifying “Christ who is our life” (Col 3:4). We are no longer our own, so we need to keep our focus on the eternal, not the temporal. In everything that happens, we can trust God to work it for His glory and our good. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.” (Col 3:3)
Second, We need to put off the old and put on the new (Col 3:5-14)
Shopping for clothes is sometimes a challenge. But here, the Lord has given us what He wants us to put off (Col 3:5; 8-9) and to put on (Col 3:12-14). There is no guessing game, no fitting room decisions. Our problem is we want to go back to our old, dirty clothes when God has called us to put on the new. Our sin not only affects our life, it affects others as well. I am so thankful that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).
Third, We need to have a thankful heart (Col 3: 15-17)
God has placed this theme before me the last few months. Sin results from a heart that is not thankful for what we have. When we are not satisfied with what God has given us, we seek to do things our own way, leading to sin. Romans 1:21 says, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.” Thankfulness is important. How do we have a thankful heart?
First, we need to have the “peace of God” (Col 3:15). This only comes from a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and peace results when we are living a life pleasing to the Father. Second, we need to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16). As we grow in our knowledge of the Lord through His Word, we will have gratitude in our hearts for all He has done. I love having times where my love for the Lord overflows and I want to shout, sing, and let the world know. Have you ever felt that way? Third, our thankfulness comes when our hearts are changed to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col 3:17).
How does this all apply to real, everyday life?
In my marriage: Am I nitpicking or am I praying about those things and being thankful for all I have been given? Am I focusing on what my spouse needs to change when I need to ask the Lord to help me change my “spiritual clothes” and put on what He desires for me to have on?
In my parenting: Am I loving my children like God would have me love them? Am I disciplining them to change outward behavior, but ignoring the inner heart motivation for the behavior? Am I teaching them to do all things for the Lord? Am I teaching them to love the Lord and His Word? (Deut 6:4-9) Do I need to spend more time in the Word so it flows out of me every day?
In my relationships with others: Am I loving others like the Lord desires for me to love them? I can’t do that if I am wearing my “old clothes.” To pour into others, I need the Holy Spirit to pour into me as I spend time in the Word.
In the ministry God has given me: Colossians 4:17 encourages us to “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.” Are you too busy doing too many things that you are not “paying attention” to what God has given you to do? Are you looking for approval from man? What motivates you in ministry? Is it God’s glory or your own?
In the everyday tasks like housework: Do we have the heart found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory”? Is it about Him, worshipping Him in ALL that we do. Do we have a heart set on thankfulness, even in the small, seemingly insignificant tasks?
You see, I fall short, but I am so thankful that God intervenes. He helps me set my mind on Him. He helps me put off the old clothes and put on the new. He gives me a thankful heart because of what He has done and He changes how I live life every day. May you be encouraged, sister, as we live life together. And may You, O Lord, be glorified in our lives.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col 3:17)
 Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Vol. 2 (Colorado Springs: Cook, 1989), 145.