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The Driving Force

Purpose Driven Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Most dictionaries define the verb drive as “to guide, to control, or to direct.” Whether you are driving a car, a nail, or a golf ball, you are guiding, controlling, and directing it at that moment. What is the driving force in your life? you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief.
When we get up in the morning, there are beliefs and values that propel us forward. We believe things about ourselves and life in general that motivate us. The consequence is that we find ourselves, almost on autopilot, operating on some sort of impulse drive of purpose. Sometimes, we don’t even reflect on why we do what we do but perhaps today would be a good time to evaluate that.

The Five Most Common Driving Forces

Philippians 3:12–16 NIV
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

1. Some are driven by Guilt

They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (pp. 31-32). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too. God specializes in giving people a fresh start. The Bible says, “What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven!. . .What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.”
Psalm 32:1 ESV
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:1
Psalm 32:1–2 NIV
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

2. Some are driven by Resentment

They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Some resentment-driven people “clam up” and internalize their anger, while others “blow up” and explode it onto others.
Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness.
Job 5:2 NIV
2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.

3. Some are driven by Fear

Fears may be a result of a traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations, growing up in a high-control home, or even genetic predisposition. Regardless of the cause, fear-driven people often miss great opportunities because they’re afraid to venture out.
Some fears are irrational. Some were scarred of the picture of the spider I showed you earlier. How silly. That spider is not scary. It couldn’t hurt a fly…well actually, it could hurt a fly, isn’t that what they eat? Anyway.
Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.
1 John 4:18 ESV
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

4. Some are driven by Materialism

What is “essential” in the mind of the typical college freshman? An extensive survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute found that 85.8 percent say it is getting rich. That’s a 43 percent increase over what the typical college freshman thought in 1967. As for developing a meaningful philosophy of life? Only 45 percent found it to be of any real worth. That’s a 29 percent drop.
According to research collected by Pew Research for the MacNeil/Lehrer Productions’ Generation Next project, 18- to 25-year-olds listed the following as their top life goal:
•be rich: 81 percent
•be famous: 51 percent
•help people who need help: 30 percent
•be leaders in their community: 22 percent
•become more spiritual: 10 percent
Their desire to acquire becomes the whole goal of their lives. This drive to always want more is based on the misconceptions that having more will make me more happy, more important, and more secure, but all three ideas are untrue. Possessions only provide temporary happiness.
It’s also a myth that if I get more, I will be more important. Self-worth and net worth are not the same. Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!
It’s also a myth that if I get more, I will be more important. Self-worth and net worth are not the same. Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!
Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors. Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you — your relationship with God.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 33). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

5. The need for approval

They allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think. Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 33). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 NIV
4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
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The Pivot Point
Forgetting what is behind
Philippians 3:12–16 NIV
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Straining toward what is ahead
“The first thing in my life by far, and the reason I do everything, is my love for Jesus Christ,” says Mike Singletary, former linebacker for the Chicago Bears who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. “The second is my family—being there for them and making sure I’m not missing time that I can’t get back. Third is my work, speaking to corporations about teamwork, leadership, and cultural diversity and trying to help people come together.
“I don’t care where I’m at or what I’m doing. The thing I want to do now in my life is make a difference and serve with a capital S. Serve in my home. Serve in my relationship with my wife. And serve my fellow man.
“For me, it’s a matter of ‘What am I doing to make a difference? What am I doing except making money?’ There are a lot of people out there who are hurting.”
—Rick Morrissey, “For Singletary, Religion Goes Far beyond Words,” Chicago Tribune (November 14, 1999)
Application: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?
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