What Motivates You?

“So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, ‘Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.’ Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.’"—Daniel 5:13–17 (NIV)

What motivates you? Today’s passage is a narrative that causes us to question the intention behind our actions. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t even think about why you do what you do. On the other hand, you may be someone who analyzes so much that you’re crippled by indecision. Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between those two camps, but all of us tend to lean toward one or the other: doing or thinking. The point is, oftentimes we’re unprepared for moments like the one Daniel found himself in. Decisions are rarely made in the moment. They’re usually formed and crafted from within before they ever meet the surface.

As you ask yourself what motivates you, I’d like you to keep in mind an important piece of this story where the king tries to use some interesting selling points in order to get Daniel to help him. First, he tries to woo Daniel by pointing out he has a reputation for being extremely wise and intelligent. Next, the king uses comparison. He does so by painting Daniel as wiser and smarter than those who couldn’t interpret his dream. Finally, the he attempts to entice Daniel with wealth and power. The king promises David a gold chain and purple clothes because they signify royalty, as well as to go along with being made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

Yet, before making any of these selling points, the king actually points out something about Daniel that we likely looked past without hesitation. The king reminds Daniel where he came from. That’s significant because the king is trying to cause Daniel to prioritize his status over his standing. In this moment, Daniel is being forced to choose between moving from an exile to royalty (status) or to maintain being a chosen child of the one true King (his standing). It’s crazy how Daniel was tempted by earthly royalty when he already owns heavenly royalty as part of the kingdom of God.

Today, we’re faced with the same temptations. Satan is always trying to use earthly forces to get us to sacrifice our standing before God for an earthly status that can be lost just as quickly as it was gained. Therefore, let me challenge you to become the person today who will make the right decision tomorrow.

Again, decisions flow out of who we are. So, don’t wait! Choose today to become a man or woman of prayer. Choose today to place your stake in your standing as a child of the one true King. That way, the next time an earthly kingdom tries to woo you, you will not be swayed!

DIG: What motivates you? Think about it for a bit, reflect, and be specific.

DISCOVER: In your life, what are the things the devil uses to tempt you? What are the earthly temptations you struggle with the most? What steps are you taking to stand strong?

DO: Devote yourself to prayer this season. Be intentional in praying about your motivations, asking the Lord to align your priorities and heart with His. Be honest about your struggles and areas of temptation. Pray with faith, asking the Lord to give you the endurance, boldness, and strength to withstand temptation toward the things of this world.