Most Christian relationships today are about what they can get from God. Christians are confusing the essence of the relationship with God, with the benefits of the relationship. They are not longing for the fellowship with God, but they are seeking Him for what He can give to them. Christianity is based completely upon a relationship with God, it is not based upon the benefits that we can obtain from God. A relationship is something that should be cherished. When we fall in love with that special man or woman of our dreams, we want to be with that person for a lifetime. If we are truly in love with them, then our hearts skip a beat whenever we see them. We are excited just to be with them, no matter what they may doing. Our breath stops, when they are near us and even though there are benefits in being with them, the relationship should outweigh the benefits. We want to touch them and hear their heartbeat and share ours with them emotionally, physically and intimately. We want to always have them near us. We don’t want them just for the benefits that they can give to us, we want to be with them for the essence of the relationship. Even when years takes a toll on us and we are unable to perform physically, the relationship will always outweigh the benefits. Why you ask? It is because we are in love with them. Our motivation is in the essence of the relationship and not in what we can get from them.
What is your motivation for knowing God? Is it for Him to bless you the abundance of things? It is for Him to give you a job? Is it for you to get a car, a home, health, money or a husband or a wife? What is your motivation for becoming a Christian? I want you to think on this for a moment.
You know what, it should not be for anything at all, except to be in a personal relationship with Jesus. It should be a relationship of knowing Jesus and knowing that He has made you righteous. It is knowing that you have right standing with God, because of what Jesus has done. It is knowing that He has saved you and delivered you our of your debt of sin. It is knowing that because of what Jesus has done, you are able to go into the presence of God. It is because of Jesus, you can know true love. No more do you have to be alone, now you will always have someone with you, that loves and cherishes you and wants to be with you.
Sad as it may be, most Christian people are completely benefit driven, not relationship driven. You can take a look around and see it for yourself. Most people who join the church, are there for what the church can do for them. How can this church help them achieve their goals in life. Business people look at the church to help them expand their businesses, instead of being their for the fellowship. Many people, look at Christianity as a religion based upon benefits, not on it being a relationship based upon love. Many people have the wrong motivation. let’s look at what the Bible says about this, turn to Matthew 20: 20, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.” Even in the time of the early church, people are benefit driven. The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus to for something. She didn’t come to Jesus with adoration and praise, she needed Jesus to give her something. Her motivation wasn’t for just being in fellowship with Jesus, she came to Jesus for the benefits that He could give to her. The motivation wasn’t for the essence of the relationship, it was for what benefits were from the relationship. Let’s read on verse twenty-one, “And He said to her, “What do you wish? She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” What was this woman’s motivation? She wanted Jesus to give her a promise that when He came into His kingdom, that He would place one of her sons on the right and left side of Him. This woman didn’t come to Jesus to be in a relationship with Him, she came to assure a promise that her sons would be great and highly favored. This in itself is a selfish act. The motivation was what can she get out of the relationship. Let’s read on with verse twenty-two, “But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Jesus well understood what this woman was doing, by asking for her sons to have a place of honor such as this. He asks her and the sons are you willing to love Me to the end of all time? Can you love Me with all of your heart? Can you suffer for Me, even unto death? Are you willing to give up everything for Me? Of course the sons said that they would. Lets read on, verse twenty-three, “So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” Jesus of course rejects the mother’s request, but He does it lovingly, so that she could understand. You see when we go to God with the wrong motivation, rejection may be given, but God in his unlimited love lets us down easily so that we can understand. Ask yourself this question, “Do you give because you want to be blessed, or do you give because you know you are already blessed? What is your motivation?”
What is your motivation for having a relationship with Jesus? What is your motivation for praying? What is your motivation to read and study the Bible? What is your motivation for having a relationship? I personally pray that your relationship is not based upon the benefits, but that it is based upon knowing God. I hope and I pray that your relationship is motivated by you having a personal experience with Jesus. I pray that it is not benefit driven. I pray that it is motivated by love, the love for Jesus. My friends, if your motivation is all about knowing God, then you don’t have to worry about receiving the benefits, because they will come. They come because of the relationship, you don’t have to fret about it, because God always blesses His children. God will only do this because He loves to give to those that He loves. Favor and blessing come because of the relationship. It is a done deal!
I want you to know that there is no relationship without giving. True worship is about giving. Let me show you what the Bible says in Matthew 2:11, “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These kings were from the east, who had seen the star and they sought to find the Messiah. Now notice one important piece of information that is shown to us here. When they came into the house where Jesus was at, they fell down and worshipped Him. When did they worship Him? They worshipped Him, when they had come into the house, when they were in His presence, then they opened their gifts to Him. Their motivation wasn’t what they could receive from Jesus, it was what they could give to Him. They came to Jesus to give what was treasures to them. They took gold, frankincense and myrrh and they gave these treasures to Jesus. They gave these gifts as they worshipped Him. True worship is in giving, if the kings of the east knew this, isn’t it time for us to understand this? Isn’t it time to give from our treasures to Jesus? I want you to know this, treasures don’t always mean money, it can be other things, such as; food, shelter, or whatever is a treasure to you, this is true worship.
Why do some people receive blessings from God when they give, and others do not? It is all because of their motivation that is behind the giving. If it was all about giving something to get something, then there wouldn’t be any problems, but our giving has to be based entirely upon our faith. How many of you give and give, but you don’t see anything for your giving? Our giving has to be based upon our motivation. Why did we give in the first place? Was it only to receive something in return, or was it to give worship to God with our treasures? Our motivation is more valuable to God then the gift that we are giving. Look at this now, turn to Genesis 22:1. This is what happened to Abraham. Let’s read, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” God wanted to give Abraham a test. He did this because He wanted to see where Abraham’s heart was at. God gives us a lot of things, all day long, some we see and some we don’t, but He is always giving to us. Let me show you what I mean, turn to Deuteronomy 6:11-12, “Houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” The only thing that God requires from us is that we don’t forget Him. Go back to Genesis 22:2, “Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” I want you to see this, God gave Isaac to Abraham. It is God’s gift to Abraham that he had been waiting for patiently for many years. His wife Sarah gave birth to this, his son, Issac while she was past a woman’s birthing years. The gift from Abraham to God is the treasure of his heart, the son he has waited patiently for, from the woman he deeply loves. God made all this possible. Now, God wants Abraham to give his only son, the treasure of his life, from the woman who he loves dearly to God as a sacrifice, just to show God that Abraham loves Him more than anything. God wants to see if Abraham’s love outweighs the benefits. Let me ask you a question, “How can you give back to God what He gave to you in the first place?” Let’s read on with verses three through five, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” What was Abraham going to do? He was going to worship God with the giving of his treasure, his only begotten son, Isaac. He was going to this place to sacrifice his own son to God. Abraham called this worship, giving what had been given to him by God, he was only more than willing to give his only son to God. He was willing to give his treasure as worship. We call worship many things, we dance onto the Lord and call it worship, we sing songs and we raise our hands and we call this worship, we play musical instruments and we call this worship, but we have to remember that true worship is giving. Abraham had faith that if he gave God his treasure as worship, God would bless him. He had faith in what God had already done. How do we know this? We know, because of what Abraham said to the other young men that were with him, “And we will come again to you.” Abraham’s motivation was to worship God, not just to get something from God. He knew if his motivation was right in the relationship, then the benefits would come.
Some of us have the wrong motivation, we are so afraid to give God something, because we feel that God is going to take it away from us. My friends, we can be assured of one thing, that is that God gave it to us and all He desires is that we worship Him with it. Won’t you take the time and give God your treasures? Get this in your head, “God doesn’t need your stuff!” Psalms 50:10-12 says, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” God doesn’t need anything at all from us, we need Him! We need God for everything, we need Him! Look at this, turn to Acts 17:24-25, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” God doesn’t need anything from us, He just wants us to love Him. Turn to Romans 11:35-36, “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Everything that we are is all because of God’s love for us. It isn’t the gift that we give, it is all because of the motivation behind the essence of the relationship that we have with God. Let’s read these verses out of the Message Bible, “Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Let’s go back to the story of Abraham and him being tested by God, turn to Genesis 22:6-8, “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” What was Abraham’s motivation? Abraham was going to give to God his gift, his treasure, his son in order to worship Him. Let’s read on , verse 9-13, “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Worship is giving! God required Abraham to take his only son, and sacrifice him to God. God was in a covenant with Abraham. The covenant provided that when God asked for Abraham’s son, God would also have to give of His son. This was how the covenant worked. When God required Isaac to be sacrificed, so did God have to do the same for Abraham one day. This is another reason that Jesus had to be sacrificed for us. True worship is giving with the right motivation.