Would you like to get more done? Would you like to be able look back over a twenty year period and recognise that you had achieved 125 of your 150 Life Goals? Could you do with a boost in your overall energy levels? If you answer "Yes" to these questions then I know just what we need.
Imagine you have just walked through a forest on a hot day and sat down against a tree to rest your weary legs. You say to yourself, "I can't walk another step!" Just then you notice a deadly black snake slithering its way toward your bare calves only a handbreadth away! Instantly you leap to your feet and run for your life. But what has just happened? How did you go from having "no energy" to being "full of energy"? The answer is known to all super-acheivers. It's: motivation. With motivation you can achieve your wildest dreams. With motivation you can see your big dreams fulfilled. With motivation you can turn goals into achievements.
We only do what we are motivated in some way to do. The more we are motivated, the more we do. Of course, without being motivated, nothing in our world would be done and eventually even our society would grind to a halt without it. The difference between a person succeeding and not succeeding often comes down to the amount of their motivation levels. Motivation has become such a precious commodity that the successful will pay dearly for it, since they know that the price of success is miniscule compared to the prize of success. So how is it that some people always seem to be motivated and others struggle with it?
The Apostle Paul could say that he pressed on toward the prize (Phil. 3:12). He was motivated. In fact, despite his many setbacks, he seems to have been motivated all the time. In another place he urged his readers to follow his example. If as Christians we were to become more motivated, what would we have to do? And, how could we maintain our new levels of motivation? What lessons can we learn from the Apostle Paul about becoming and maintaining motivation?
From the life of the Apostle Paul, we observe the following ingredients to his consistently high levels of motivation-
- He had a deep sense that he was contributing to history.
- He felt commissioned by God.
- He felt free to set goals.
- He fellowshiped with others of a like mind.
- He renewed his commitment to Christ continually.
We can be more motivated to live for God by asking God to keep us motivated for His service. Pray that God gives you the desire and strength you need to do what He wants you to do (Phil. 2:13-14). We too should indeed feel that God has sovereignly called us into our station in life and live in it contently but confidently. Not enough of us realise the integral role our participation is in the overall will of God to bring redeeming grace to the world. When you sit down at your family dinner table for an evening meal with a guest who does not yet know Christ, your seemingly trivial banter among your family is making a huge impression on your guest. Your table-talk is real, wholesome, uplifting, and edifying. It can make a huge impression on your guest. You do your job with care and diligence. You start a little early and continue a little longer. Your fellow employees who do not yet know Christ certainly notice the difference that Christ has made to your life. But you do what you do with such effort because you know that God has called you to do what are doing at this time. This knowledge motivates you.
While our work is an important God-ordained purpose for lives which is designed to give us a sense of meaning, we are also divinely designed to play. We are created to laugh, sing, muse, exercise, compete, cooperate, train, explore, rest, and investigate. I recently heard of a young man who had scrape with death in his youth in the 1800s. He realised that he must be alive for a purpose and counted his life as a privilege to explore this wonderful God-given gift. As a teenager he wrote down 150 Life Goals. This included getting married, having children, climbing the world's five highest mountains, travelling to every continent, building his dream house, reading each book in a list of 100 classic books, starting a business, amassing a certain fortune to leave to his children and much more. By the age of 44 he had achieved 100 of his 150 Life Goals! Without exception, all highly motivated people set goals.
The Book of Proverbs provides some healthy universal ways to be motivated.
If you want to be (more/continually) motivated, then revisit your written goals (often)!
Motivated people pick their friends very carefully. While they build acquaintanceships with a diverse range of people who may add little to their lives, look for those like-minded people who are also motivated. This is why for the believer, Sunday Church and Mid-Week House Church become vital. All motivated believers, that is those motivated to be Christ-like and stronger followers of Christ, are without exception committed to fellowshiping with their church family. Similarly, if you want to be a more motivated salesman you should hang out with, listen to, read up on, other motivated salesmen. If you want to be one of the world's leading button collectors, apart from getting a life, you should hang out with other passionate button collectors. Increased motivation in any field of endeavour comes from deliberate fellowshiping with those who already motivated in that arena.
2Corinthians 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
We have a wood heater. Many times when I go to it early in morning to see if I can salvage its heat and rekindle it back into a warming blaze, I have to take the rapidly cooling embers and push them together. I often think this is what a church service does. It takes lightly glowing spiritual embers, connects them with other lightly glowing spiritual embers and resets them ablaze. When we worship together we are heaping more wood onto the flames. When we pray together we fan our flames even brighter (see 2Tim. 1:6). When we give attention to the preached Word it builds up the amount of fresh wood on our fire (see Jeremiah 5:14). To be a motivated Christian you need to be a part of a motivated church. I think Legana is such a church.
Psalm 69:9 ¶ Passion for your house burns within me,
so those who insult you are also insulting me.
But if all we did was to simply attend church we would not be as spiritually motivated as we would be if we attended church AND continually renewed our commitment to Christ. Do you let Christ do a spiritual stocktake on your life? Have you got the Lord's approval on your choices, attitude, relationships, stewardship, dreams and things? In Psalm 32 David expresses the insurpassable joy of knowing sins forgiven and coming into a restored relationship with God through confession, repentance, and renewal. This is what I want for my life. As Paul the Apostle continually renewed his relationship with Christ through prayerful surrender he remained highly motivated to serve and live for the Lord.
1Corinthians 15:58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
I love being around motivated people. They are usually big dreamers. Sure, they fail a lot, but they are usually the types who attempt a lot - learn from their mistakes - and therefore end up still getting a lot done. Motivation doesn't just happen. It must be actively created and maintained through reading history and getting a perspective on how our actions can affect generations to come; having a sense of serving the Lord in whatever we do; set plenty of diverse goals; keep in fellowship with like-minded people; and continually renew our devotion to Christ. This is the recipe for staying passionate about life and the things of God.
Dear God, help me to be on fire and passionate for You and Your Cause.
Help me not to be deterred by setbacks, offences, or obstrepolous people.
Bring me into fellowship with people more passionate, excited, determined and committed than I am.
Fill me with Your joy and strength. Renew in me a love for Your Word, Your People, and Your presence.
Lead me. Grow me. Fill me. Use me.
I need You.