Good News :His motivation was to save us from ourselves

Published 11:35 am Saturday, January 25, 2020

Brad McKenzie

One of my great regrets and disappointments in my life is not serving in the armed forces of this great nation. 

When it came time to join up, my mother who had terminal cancer, was extremely against volunteering and I honored her wishes. The motivation to serve my country was superseded by the motivation to respect my mother’s perspective, which turned out to be best for our family. 

Life is full of motivations leading to a variety of choices and a variety of paths. What motivates us is often indicative of what we choose.

In 2 Kings 5, there is an amazing telling of an event in the life of a mighty general named Naaman. In a shorter summary, Naaman was the best general in the kingdom of Aram, which would now be present-day Syria. 

The scripture even says that the Lord allowed for Naaman to have some victories and successes. The problem with this mighty warrior and leader, he had the cursed disease leprosy.

When Elisha the prophet heard that Naaman was inquiring of the King of Israel for help, he sent word for the general to come and see him. When Naaman arrived with his military entourage, Elisha sent his aid out to meet him and gave him instructions to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times. 

For this important and mighty warrior, there were several layers of offense and he left in anger.

Luckily, his aides were able to convince him to consider the prophet’s instructions. Naaman was able to suppress his pride because his motivation for healing was greater than his motivation for fleeting honor and accolade. 

So, he went and he washed in the muddy and murky water of the Jordan not once, but seven times. After the last time, scripted says he came up with his skin restored as like a young child. He has been healed not just of this disease, but of the pride that was about to be his demise.

So often, pride is the motivation that is the undoing of many of our lives. We would rather have our dignity and “control” and we sacrifice life-changing transformation in the process. 

Often, the motivation to please God and honor Him with our lives is defeated by the motivation to please ourselves in fleeting moments we cannot recover. 

What motivates your life will most of the time determine your outcomes.

Motivation is different than inspiration due to the outside forces pushing to go a certain way. It is not unusual for you and I to be motivated by the direction offering the least pain and change. 

The motivation we find in the Lord is one calling us not to the path of least resistance, but the past to greater transformation.

I have shared with you the vision to Thrive in 2020. Another aspect of thriving has to be with what motivates us. 

We are all motivated by something, we just need to audit our motivations to know if they lead to life or to death. The motivation to follow the Lord our whole life and be surrendered to His will and His way is the only motivation and path that leads to life. Sometimes we have to dip in the muddy water seven times to see that transformation. The motivation for obedience to the Lord is a motivation that will never lead to death.

You can not only live by the right motivation, you can thrive as you choose to be obedient to the Lord.

His motivation was to save us from ourselves, He called us to be motivated to be obedient to His will and His way. That is Good News!


Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.