One of the perennial problems that the Christian faces is that of trying to remain motivated, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and even decade after decade. Many of us have been attending church for along time. We look back and think on the time when we were new and thought that Christ’s return was just around the corner. Now 30, 40, 50 years later He still hasnt returned. Some have had grandchildren when they were unsure whether they would have children at all. It has been a journey of a lifetime for some of our brothers and sisters in the faith who have died along the way. How much longer do we have to go? Without knowing exactly how long it is until the 2nd Coming of Christ, “How Do We Remain Motivated.” How is it that we keep the fire alive and our first love kindled?
Steps and keys to “Staying Motivated”
1. Set the Right Goal
Not just any goal but the right one. With the correct goal in mind, we have a direction to head.
(KJV) Pro 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.
We don’t wander around aimlessly.
For Christians we have this spelled out for us in Matthew 6:33
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….
We are given our prime directive.
This is not to say that we don’t have any other goals in our life, but we do have this over-riding one that all the others lead to and support.
We cannot have another priority that we place on par with this one, because we cannot serve them both.
Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
We cannot go after the things of the world and pursue them to the degree that we go after the Kingdom of God. We can only focus on one at a time effectively and we have to choose.
God or the World – they are incompatible priorities.
If this is our ultimate aim is the Kingdom of God then all the other things that we do in our Christian walk will go hand in hand with it.
With a God-given destination in mind we have something that we can work towards and get excited about. If we keep this in the forefront of our mind, it will help us to stay motivated.
What better goal to inspire us to keep on keeping on!
2. Use the Help at Our Disposal
That which we have available to us to Stay on the Track and heading the right direction
Help through God
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that brings [what does it bring] salvation has appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 teaching us [what does it teach] that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, [and teaches us that] we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Tit 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Tit 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
God directs and motivates towards good works.
All we need to do is ask for help:
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Must motivate ourselves to get to this point. We must do our part!
Help Through JC
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Help Through the HS
Eze 11:19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, [and how does this help us]
Eze 11:20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
We are admonished to not quench the Spirit but rather stir up the gift of God
We are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Therefore without it we can’t u/s the things of God.
We need the Holy Spirit to understand God’s Word and what He would have us do.
Help Through Church Members
We have the opportunity every time we communicate with one another at the Services, Feast, on the phone, email, or texts.
We are a people with shared goals and values and can be a beneficial resource as it was to the church members in Acts 2
Act 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
Act 2:45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Act 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Act 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
There was a unity among the people that no doubt aided them in doing the right thing. It’s easier to do what you are supposed to be doing if everyone is doing it and supporting one another as we are admonished to do in Heb 10
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Heb 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
We have many tools at our disposal…that alone should be motivating just knowing that we have the help and support that we need. But more importantly each of them can be utilized to help us become motivated and remain that way.
3. Recognize and Avoid the Enemies
We have 3 enemies that will try to do that:
Satan’s influences that motivate man to sin
2Ti 2:26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Avoid Satan’s Ploys (2 Corinthians 2:11 we are not to be ignorant of his devices. )
Dont get down
Be content with whatever state you find yourself in.
Depression is selfish. Serve others and get your mind off of yourself
Esteem others better than self
Thankful for blessings
We’ve got it really good!
God is working with you—things happen for a reason. Don’t play the woe is me game. Take care of problems ASAP, so they don’t weigh you down (Don’t give way to the devil)
Watch out for doubt
Be prepared for setbacks – expect a letdown; mentally ready for it
When we are down, don’t think that we can do it we can find our Strength in God
Jas 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
2Ti 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
1Jn 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Gal 4:17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.
Gal 4:18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.
The Bible identifies some people in Timothy that we need to be watch out for
1Ti 6:2 And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,
1Ti 6:4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
1Ti 6:5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
2Ti 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
2Ti 3:4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Ti 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Only advice my minister gave before AC:
We must be careful of our associations as they can hamper our efforts and dampen our motivations
Paul was his own enemy as he recounts in:
Gal 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.
Gal 1:14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
We continue to see how misguided his zeal was in Acts 22:
Act 22:3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
Act 22:4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,
Act 22:5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.
We find Paul’s advice in Hebrews 2;
The people of the book of Hebrews lacked motivation and Paul said they were “dull of hearing.”
Heb 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
Paul says that we must be motivated about the word of God “ give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard” or we will lose focus and come off the track.
These words were never more true as they are for us today! Because a Lack of Motivation is the hallmark of Laodicean era the very last era of church of God:
Rev 3:14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
Rev 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, [where was the motivation] I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Rev 3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Rev 3:22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘ ”
Ephesus’ similar problem
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
These are church members that He is talking to. This may be the biggest problem the church is facing today! [EXPOUND] These are words that we should take to heart. If we are to stay on the track we must always be aware of the enemies of our motivation: Self, Satan and Society
In the end we need to do what we are supposed to be doing no matter what anyone else is doing.
4. Plan on Enduring
It is not a sprint! Our goal is achievable. We must keep in mind that we need to be in it to win it.
Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 looking unto Jesus [as we mentioned before], the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross [setting an example of enduring for us], despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We must be there at end.
Surrender is not an option.
Mat 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Never give up on yourself…God won’t as we see in Php 1
Once God has Started working with you He will see it to the end
Php 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Php 1:4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
Php 1:5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
Php 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Concentrate all your energy and intensity on the successful completion of your current goal.
Failure is not an option.
The reality is that Motivation is not a constant. Realize that there’s an ebb and flow.
Analogy of a long trip on the road
Conditions arent always the best
Potholes and bumps
Cant let it derail us. We know if stay on the road, it will take a while but we will get there.
Focus On End Results
Most worthy goals take time.
5. Study God’s Word and Put it Practice
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly [correctly] dividing the word of truth.
Think on it throughout the day. Put it at the forefront of your mind.
Psa 119:97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psa 119:98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.
Psa 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
Psa 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.
Then we find in Joshua 1:8 if we act on this, what we have studied and meditated on, we can be successful
Jos 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Keeping Gods law will help to insure success in the pursuit of our goal
If we apply these principles daily in conjunction with prayer and fastings; if we Test all things; hold fast what is good, we will be rewarded. It is exciting and invigorating to put into practice a way of life that works. [Cause and effect of keeping the laws of God; ] It encourages us to want to do more as we see the fruits of living God’s way of life and that is motivating!
We see many examples of it in the Bible
Find Inspiration in the Bible
There are many stories of people in the Bible that we can look to for inspiration.
These examples can get us excited if we look at them with the thought of all that they went through and how did they managed to stay motivated
There are many examples in the Bible like those of Elijah and Paul who went through their rough times and yet remained motivated. Of course there is the example of Jesus who knowing all that he had to endure always kept His ultimate goal as first priority.
We won’t go over any more specific examples because they often speak to each one of us differently depending on our circumstance. I will just say read them and find your motivation in them.
6. Evaluate Your Progress along the way
And as we do Get rid of the neg. and focus/use on positive
At the Passover specifically we take a personal inventory of who and what we are. We make an extra effort to look at the leaven or sin in our lives and purge it out as Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 5
1Co 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
An aspect of this that we cannot overlook is that we need to know and do what is right as well
1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
As we have heard many times this is not an action that is confined to just this time of year, but one that should be done ongoing.
How do we know that we have grown? unless we evaluate this part of ourselves as well.
2Pe 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
[Barnes] That you may prove – The word used here dokimazō is commonly applied to metals, to the operation of testing, or trying them by the severity of fire, etc. Hence, it also means to explore, investigate, ascertain.
But :3 comes with a warning
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
When we look at ourselves we must do it honestly and against the word of God, not others
We must be careful not to concentrate on the speck in someone else’s eye while missing the plank in our own.
After we conclude what our assets and liabilities are get rid of the Negatives and BE POSITIVE
Focus on the positive not negatives. Examples KOG vs suffering in this lifetime which is worth it (Paul).
Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
But note where the focus is and should be:
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Rom 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
Rom 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Rom 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the sonship, the redemption of our body.
Rom 8:24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Focus on the end prize — it will be worth it.
Be positive in all other aspects of your life. Remember it is a battle of the mind
Subdue the negative thoughts.
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2Co 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
2Co 10:6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
With the help of the HS…all you have to do make up your mind to do it.
We do this day by day and look forward to our goal:
2Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
2Co 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
After we honestly evaluate ourselves and see where we stand. We are able to identify the sin in our lives and repent of it. We rid ourselves of things that weigh us down. We are then better able to use our strengths and make better head way towards our final destination; when we see measurable steps are being made in the right direction; when we chart our progress; when we recognize that we are effectively moving forward—this is motivating in and of itself
7. Keep Up With Current Events
The last point and one that I find highly motivating:
We should all find this very motivating seeing that we are living in the last generation spoken of in Mat 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
The 4 horsemen are riding
We are not yet at the 5th seal – Great Tribulation
But the first 4 oar, but we have been witnessing ever-increasing religious deception, wars, famines and disease
Increasing with intensity
The parable of the fig tree, we CAN say that we ARE living today in the very last generation
And it will happen soon, and that Christ WILL return BEFORE this present generation has “passed away.” It is therefore important for us to watch and pray, and to be “ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an HOUR [we] do NOT expect” (Matthew 24:44).
Luk 21:28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
These are some of the things that means His coming is just that much closer
Does this excite us, in the same way that we anticipate other things?
Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Prophecy, while not an end in itself, can help us to recognize that the time is indeed near And based on the past prophecies regarding Israel and Judah and the punishment that followed, we should be extremely motivated to seek the KOG and His righteousness knowing what is coming on the world and even the people of God that displease Him. God has revealed these things to us to try to motivate us personally and as a nation.
Isaiah 55:6-7 advises: “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Bad times bring people back to God (after 9/11 there was a spike, but it has subsided now; recession)
Punishment is a motivating tool. The question is which method is going to be necessary to motivate us to do the right thing.
We must stay motivated all the way through to the return of Christ
Start now! Do not put off. Don’t Procrastinate
Let’s step it up a notch in doing all the things that we are supposed to be doing
Let’s not lose sight of what we are aiming for!
It is not too late…yet.