DYNAMICS OF MOTIVATION (Part 1 – Fear Motivation)

January 28, 2010

There are two great motivating principles in life. One is the principle of love. The other is the principle of fear. When you strip all the shrouds off, and get rid of all the facades, one or the other of these two principles lies at the heart of each and every decision or action of people. They either do what they do motivated by love or motivated by fear. Because of the nature of the world in which we live, they are many times motivated by fear – fear of disease, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of death.

The whole machinery of our world is a machinery of fear. From the moment we are born, we are introduced to fear. People spend their entire lives living in fear. The psychology of the world in which we live is a psychology of fear. Almost every aspect of society utilizes fear as a motivator. Politicians utilize it – vote for this candidate or these problems will increase. The medical field utilizes it – see your doctor after this age, or this disease will come upon you. Businesses utilize it – buy our product (and you’d better do it in a timely fashion) or you’ll miss out on the deal. Religion utilizes it – you better conform to our theology or you will be out of favor with God.

Fear motivates! Fear is always enslaving, and binds and captivates people. There is a record in the gospel of John where the parents of a man who had been born blind were interrogated by the religious leaders of their society regarding the healing of their son. These religious leaders were unhappy with their son being healed on the Sabbath Day by Jesus Christ. When questioned, the parents of the man were afraid to give a straight answer. They were afraid of the repercussions of admitting that Jesus Christ had healed him, one of which being that they would be ostracized. Fear kept them from being the kind of parents you would expect them to be in the situation.

John 9:22
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

The truth of the matter is that many of the decisions that people make in life, in business, in war, in relationships, are motivated by fear. Sometimes fear is normative and healthy. In war, for example, fear is understandable and controlled – kill or be killed. Motivated by the fear of losing or dieing in battle, strategies are developed to defeat the enemy. In battle, fear can keep us alive when we are able to control it. General Patton once said, “All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.”

Common sense can be rooted in normal, healthy fear. As much as I have always wanted to rock climb, I wouldn’t go solo. Why? Because I am not experienced enough to rock climb without qualified assistance, and I’d rather not end up on the six o’clock news. So my decisional motivation is what? Common sense, but fear nonetheless. I also don’t bungee, sky dive, or stunt fly (though all of these sound exciting) because I am not instructed in these activities. If I had proper instruction I might attempt them. I change the oil in my car every 3,000 miles. Why? Because I am afraid that if I don’t the engine won’t last very long (and oh the concern if I go past 3,000 miles). Call it what you want, ‘manufacturers recommendation,’ common sense, whatever, but the bottom line is that it is still fear.

I am qualified and trained in herpetology and have no fear, and actually enjoy studying snakes. I find snakes fascinating and am not afraid of them because I am not ignorant concerning snakes. Some of you might run screaming in fear if you came home and found a 7’ snake coiled up in your garage. My reaction might be, “awesome!” I grew up in south Florida, close to the Everglades. I spent my youth around snakes. I am familiar with, and knowledgeable of, snakes. (I know some of you are getting the creepy crawlies and breaking out in a cold sweat right now just reading this). I am not fool-hearty about handling a snake that is venomous if I had to. I would take the necessary precautions out of common sense (a healthy fear, but fear nonetheless).

Folly, which gets people killed, is fear that is scoffed at. Panic is fear that is out of control. Courage is the control of human emotion and fear. Some fears are normal and protective. Others are unfounded and unhealthy. As a child, after watching the Wizard of Oz, I was terrified of flying monkeys. I did not know that there was no such thing as flying monkeys. As I got older, I learned that there is no such thing as flying monkeys……r-i-g-h-t?

Fear is enslaving. It keeps people in bondage. It holds them back from literally acting on the promises of God’s Word (which action brings the results that Word of God promises).

Hebrews 2:14, 15
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (The fear of death is the mother of all fears! If you fail big enough, you could die. If you are rejected enough, you might find yourself destitute and die. If you get sick enough, you’ll die. It is always the fear of death).

I Thessalonians 2:13
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (To ‘believe’ is a verb, and a verb connotes action. Believing is literal action on the Word of God, which always produces guaranteed results!)

People are ignorant regarding speaking in tongues, or have received wrong teaching regarding speaking in tongues (i.e. witnessing the misuse of the manifestation by certain denominations) and therefore are afraid to speak in tongues, which is the only way whereby a Christian believer can truly worship God.

Acts 17:24, 25
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (God does not dwell in buildings, no matter how magnificent the architecture, and he his not worshipped by anything man produces or does, no matter how sincere).

John 4:24
“God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (The true worship of God is only accomplished via the spirit. A person may respect and reverence God, but they can only worship Him via the spirit).

People are afraid to share the knowledge of God’s Word that they have, for fear of rejection. People are afraid to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, invoking their legal Power of Attorney, for fear that their prayers won’t be answered. People are afraid to tithe (tenth) and abundantly share for fear of being poorer for doing so, which is exactly opposite of what the Word of God promises.

Luke 6:38
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Malachi 3:6
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Fears that prevent men and women from acting literally on God’s Word are always due to wrong teaching or ignorance. We live in a world that is entirely antagonistic toward the promises of God’s Word because the devil is the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4). Literally acting on the Word of God many times flies in the face of human logic and goes against ‘conventional wisdom.’ Many times it will be totally opposite of what the media says, what a doctor might say, what a financial planner might say. Acting literally on God’s Word is deemed ‘foolishness’ by sense knowledge, ‘natural’ man.

I Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man (a man of just body and soul, without spirit, who is governed by the five senses and human intelligence, or the carnally minded Christian) receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Fear, built into our lives since birth by the machinery of the world (which the devil is the god of) and the evidence of the five senses, is a powerful motivator. Whenever and wherever we have fear, we do not have confidence toward God, and we are defeated. Right teaching and instruction from God’s Word gives us the tools, the keys to rid ourselves of fear. The other great motivator in life – the principle of love – gives us the catalyst, the courage, to implement the Word in our lives and overcome fear, which we will cover in the next article.

For questions, information regarding fellowship, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group contact us at fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

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