What is true Christlike motivation?

Last updated on February 22, 2021

What is christlike motivation?

Your Question: “Jesus wasn’t moved by people’s rejection nor was He moved by their acceptance; He was moved by the Spirit of God.” Please can you tell me where in the Bible I can find this sentence?

The sentence “Jesus wasn’t moved by people’s rejection nor was He moved by their acceptance; He was moved by the Spirit of God,” is not a direct quote from the Bible. It is, however, similar to the words that the Pharisees and the Herodians spoke when trying to flatter Jesus and trick Him: “‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are’” (Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21).


The reason why the sentence you quote is not found in the Bible, is because it is misleading. Certainly, when we have to choose between pleasing God or pleasing people, we should always choose to please God (Galatians 1:10), because in the end, God will test our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4). However, putting God first doesn’t mean that we don’t care either way whether or not people accept or reject the Gospel. Jesus loved everybody He met, and so, for their sake, He was deeply troubled when they rejected Him, because He knew that rejecting Jesus meant that they would be destroyed. Consider, for example, how Jesus wept over Jerusalem:

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you’” (Luke 19:41-44).

The apostle Paul is similarly distressed at the fate of all the Jews who rejected Jesus: “I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race” (Romans 9:1-3).

On the other hand, Jesus is overjoyed when people put their faith in Him and so were saved. Consider, for example, Jesus’ statement “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10), immediately followed by the famous parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

Share in joy

We should share in Jesus’ joy when people become Christians, just as Paul did in His prayers for the Philippians: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4-8).

So, it is true that Jesus was, and Christians everywhere should be, “moved by the Spirit of God.” But because the Spirit of God fills us with love for others (Romans 5:5), one of the signs that we are truly being “moved by the Spirit of God” is that, because we know that the gospel is the only way by which people may be saved (Romans 10:13-14), we are moved to joy or to sadness when people accept or reject the good news of Jesus.

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