Something I dug up from my first year units in 2006… which is a long time ago. I took this unit called Organizational Behaviour for my Management portion of B.Com, and one of the concepts that we learnt about was this: the MARS model of individual behaviour.
From what I remember, it was a really good way to think about productivity and how to help people achieve their best in what they’re doing, from a managerial/leadership position. Looking back now, it’s also a good way to think about your behaviour in all aspects of life. Let’s… take the Christian faith as an example.
Motivation – what motivates you? This is a struggle, and for the sake of complete transparency it is really easy to walk the line between doing “what’s right” and doing “what is Godly”. It is really easy to be motivated by the idea that you can struggle and work with your own strength to overcome your weaknesses, but it’s really impossible for us to get over our “humanity”. And the Christian faith isn’t about works, but it is manifested through works. Ultimately, to use Christianese for a second, it’s about building your relationship with God and your motivation should be what God has done in your life. The next sentence may be a bit weird, but it’s a reminder of 1 Corinthians 13.
The goal of your life is not “God’s will”, but God. If you’re a good person, but you don’t know God any better, then you’re no better off.
Abilities – what do you think is within your abilities? This is… also a struggle. It’s hard to think about what exactly you’re good at, without thinking that it’s for yourself and not God. I’m an okay Med student right now, and even being a Med student is very beneficial for me. People look at you differently, and have greater expectations for you, and it’s easy to believe the hype. But in circumstances where it’s not to our “gifting” or to where we think our abilities lie, it becomes a whole lot harder. And this is where Christian faith diverges from “reasonable” thinking.
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
I believe that wherever we are, in whatever circumstances, we are called to do good works. You might be in a situation that feels so out of your depth that all you can do is trust God, and that’s what you have to do. I am nowhere near equipped to be doing what I am doing, but I thank God that (to quote something I’ve previously mentioned on the blog) God does not call the equipped, he equips the called. I’m here for his purpose, and I’m not left alone. But when I do manage to get through, and to get through well, then the only thing people can say is that it wasn’t me, my effort or my skill, but it was all God working in me.
Role Perception – what are we here for? This is what we are created to do: good works. What “good works” actually means though, is different for every individual. Role perception is such a clinical term, it’s probably better if we think about it as “identity”. It says in Romans that we are God’s children. That is something that was completely unheard of in the Old Testament. Jesus was the first to even refer to God as “Father”, and to teach us to pray the same. There is such a huge difference between what we think of God, as perhaps a distant vengeful God, and a God that is our “Father in Heaven”. Where you draw your identity comes from what you think of yourself in relation to others, to the world, and to the Universe as a whole. Ultimately, what you think of God plays a significant role in how you determine your identity.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:16-17 (NIV)
Situational Factors – where are you at? (probably poor grammar) It’s so easy to get caught up in our circumstances and situations when we lose our frame of reference. And I’ll admit that it’s not easy to feel or act the way you want to, when the situation feels dire. But there is some value in holding on to the truth, which is objective and not subjective. And it is also really important to remember that we’re not alone in this.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
I hope that wasn’t too rambly or overly “preachy” in the derogatory usage of the word, but a measured, well-discussed outline of some of the things Christians do, and the way they behave in a context of our belief system. The common perception is that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites, because so often our lives don’t add up to the stuff that we say. But thank God that Christianity is not about man’s perfection, or man’s search for God, but God’s perfection, and God’s “search” for man through Christ Jesus.