Motivation Induced Blindness (MIB)

If it isn’t a real thing it should be. If there isn’t a diagnostic test there needs to be one. If there isn’t a cure someone needs to discover one and soon. I don’t know how many people identify as Christ followers in North America and I don’t know how many of them are experiencing symptoms of Motivation Induced Blindness (MIB) but as far as I can tell there is an epidemic.

Motivation can lead to ineffective business, but we may not see it.

Blindness or partial blindness caused by MIB can interfere with our ability to see any further than our own actions. Limited by the allure of doing something brought on by the intoxicating call of motivation, Christ followers are rallied around a cause. The cause in and of itself is not at issue but rather the universality of the need to address this cause and the means that are employed to rectify it.

Motivated to take action so that the cause does not remain unaddressed, many Christ followers fail to see that they personally are not called to address all causes or that the manner in which the cause is addressed does not achieve the anything more than a feel good result.

What motivates us determines the effectiveness of the outcome.

Am I doing this for me? This simple question can dramatically decrease the sight related issues of MIB.

“Why am I doing this?” was thought to be effective in treating blindness related to MIB. It was later discovered that the motivation component of MIB was so strong that people were unable to see that the reasons they used for taking action were based solely on outside influences. These influences included books, seminars, sermons, blog posts and other media that generate feelings of guilt for not acting, feelings of desire when anecdotal evidence is presented for acting and feelings of accomplishment when the task referred to in the presentations is undertaken.

When the question, “Am I doing this for me?” was asked and the reflection on this question included asking one’s self, “am I doing this to relieve my guilt, to fulfil my desire to be like someone else or am I seeking a sense of accomplishment?” sight was often restored. Once sight is restored, the individual can then approach causes with a better understanding that what they do must be a benefit to that cause even if what they do is nothing at all.

It may not be a disease but it is a problem.

I am the first to admit that when I hear a dynamic speaker or read an article from a successful Christian leader, I respond with excitement and/or conviction. Once you do this to me you are well on your way to motivating me to do something. Get me motivated based on both the excitement/conviction and of course your position as a great communicator or successful leader and there is a chance my MIB will return and I will take action. Is there anyone else out there like me?

The reason that churches today have so easily fallen into the grasp of the next fad is because of MIB. Even though committed Christ follower numbers are decreasing, even though church attendance has fallen, the motivational messages still blind us to the failures of the past and cause us to take action.

MIB has changed the church so much but we can’t see it.

The church of the New Testament was not a program based evangelistic powerhouse. The gatherings were not designed for the non-believer but rather to strengthen the believer. The idea of starting a program that changed the main focus of the church from those who were followers to those outside does not seem to exist in the bible. Before anyone thinks I am saying the church has no reason to reach the community I will speak in my defence; I believe the church has a role in reaching the community, taking care of the hungry, and helping the sick but I don’t want to view this through the lens of MIB.

I am to be motivated by obedience not the ever evolving definitions of Christ following.

I am called to join together with other followers of Christ in worship. I am called to seek God’s plan and my part in that plan. I am called to grow in my faith and to seek to understand more and more about my creator. This is what gives birth to my actions, this is what motivates me. I do it because to not obey God is what makes me guilty. I do it because I desire to fulfill my calling to be like Jesus. I do it because I consider obedient response the only way to accomplish something of eternal value. Any other motivation may cause me to act because it assigns guilt, it stimulates desire or it sings the praises of personal accomplishment, but is that really motivation or is it manipulation?

Manipulation Induced Blindness.

It isn’t those who point toward the cause, the dynamic speakers, writers and successful Christian leaders who are at fault, it is the evil one. He has manipulated the motivation so that it induces blindness. There is nothing he would like better than to get the church to focus on a cause rather than God. If we become cause-driven, action taking, outwardly focused people then we become blind to the call of God.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:20-23 (NIV)

10 comments

  1. This part was particularly interesting to me…”The gatherings were not designed for the non-believer but rather to strengthen the believer.” Actually that whole section was. It made me think of times I’ve visited churches where the message seemed so geared towards evangelizing non-believers that I left wondering, “Am I really a believer?!?” (Not very strengthening, you know?) Thanks, Dave.

    Liked by 1 person

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