How Your Motivation Defines Your ‘Why’

Consider what your motivation is for every decision you make in your life–in both the big things and the small. What drives you?

What makes you get out of bed each day? Why do you clean up or exercise? What’s your reason for reading to your kids or going on dates with your husband? Why do you do laundry, or read books on various topics? Why do we say no to some things and yes to others?

What Influences You?

There are different factors that influence us to do what we do. The need to pay the bills may get us to work in the morning. Concern for our child may move us to attend to her cries. Some exercise because they want to be healthy, while others do it for vanity.

Maybe we read to our kids because we enjoy books, or because we feel like that is what good parents do. When it comes to laundry many of us do it grudgingly, simply because walking around the way Adam and Eve did before the fall is not a great option.

When Motivation Fails You

But what happens when these motivations fail us? What gets us out of bed when we are battling depression, when life is too overwhelming, when we hate our job or have lost hope of ever looking or feeling better than we do right now?

I am not the most disciplined person on earth, and I get easily frustrated with doing things over and over again, only to find I need to do them over, and over again. My motivations often fail me. I have found that it is really important to have a motivation that is not earthly in nature.

There is a latin phrase that summarizes clearly what our motivation should be should be. Coram Deo. You may have heard it before. It means to live your life before the face of God.

To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. – Sproul

1 Corinthians 10:31 states is this way,

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Why is it important to do all things to the glory of God?

  1. It Makes All Things Meaningful

It is easy to create a dichotomy between our religious life and our secular life. But when we realize that our whole life is lived before God, then cleaning a toilet to the glory of God is just as spiritual as sharing the gospel with a friend.

Dishes are no longer an unimportant job. Instead, it is a job given to us by God and we are to do it thankfully and joyfully remembering that we are in his presence. We clean dishes for him, not for our family, or even ourselves. Since everything that God gives is good we can be confident that we are not wasting our time.

  1. It Makes All Things Possible

When we live coram deo, we will be much more quickly to remember that we have divine help close to us.  Whether we are dealing with disciplinary issues with our kids, struggling to get out of bed, making hard decisions at work, or fighting temptations, we are never ever alone and we shouldn’t live like we are.

God is with us, he is for us, and he will strengthen us. He gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and is by our side every minute of every single day.

  1. It Makes All Things Joyful

I know, that’s a tough one. But it is true. Joy does not arise out of our circumstances. It is not dependent on the ease of a task, or the inherent fun of a situation. Joy comes from the Lord and is bound up in faith, faithfulness and the truth of his word.

There is joy to be had in all situations, for though the day may be long, and our responsibilities may be overwhelming, and life itself can be painful, God is with us, helping us, and gives purpose and value to what lies before us. Preach truth to yourself and you will find your feelings change.

We may have many reasons for what we do, but let’s remember that we live before the face of God, Coram Deo, and while earthly motivation will often fail us,  our God never does.



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