Motivation matters. It gives focus. It empowers. Compare the difference between a person who goes through the motions at their job with another who is excited to start each day and make an impact. You may discover the difference in their motivation.
Motivation is also important for witnessing.
Many Christians unwittingly witness with a focus on themselves. They may chase the exhilaration they experience. Some are trying to earn God’s favor.
Unfortunately, witnessing for your own benefit can only carry you so far.
If it’s about you it’s also up to you. Following this model, you’ll tend to rely on logic, eloquence or your own persuasion. You’ll look to others as projects rather than people. Your concern for your reputation can hold you back. You may debate in order to win an argument. If it’s about you, you’re likely to take rejection personally and get discouraged.
For some, their focus is on others. Their motivation for witnessing comes from compassion for the lost. They survey a sea of humanity and want to reach them all. They may have a family member or friend who does not yet know Jesus. Their heart aches at the thought of anyone not joining us in heaven.
However, even this model can eventually run out of steam. They don’t want to risk the relationship. They become frustrated if the person they’re witnessing to doesn’t seem to respond. Powered by limited human love, they may grow weary of sharing love with someone who does not return it.
Now don’t misunderstand me. There is joy as we witness because you’re doing what God designed you for. How can we not have compassion for the lost along with an urgency to reach them? Yet these motivations are secondary. There is something much more powerful.
It starts by recognizing that we all have a deep need to be loved. People search for it in things, in other people, in themselves. Everything disappoints until we finally discover God’s amazing grace.
“There is nothing I can do to make God love me more and nothing I can do to make God love me less” (Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?).
He loves not because of what we’ve done, but because of who he is. It’s a deeply personal love that rejoices when even one of the lost is found.
His grace is our motivation.
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
It’s not about us. It’s not even about others. We reach out not because someone deserves it, but because God reached out to us. We share the amazing things Jesus has done as our substitute because we want others to know his beautiful love.
As you personally stand in his grace, you will witness with greater joy. You will go out with God’s heart of compassion. Most importantly, you will go with the transformational message that alone has the power to change hearts.
For whom do you witness?