What motivates you to do the things that you do? What motivates you at work, school or in life in general? Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said:
If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
Most people allow themselves to be motivated by all the wrong things:
- Facebook feed
- Late night talk shows
- News reports etc..
People get all bent out of shape and passionate about things, just because they are told that they should. Another Stephen Covey quote says:
Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly
We are going to look at some things that should not shake our faith and we are going to look at some things that should motivate us believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. - Acts 20:17-24
None of these things moves me
Paul gives us a list of some things that do not motivate or control his actions.
Paul stated that neither his tears or his temptations could shake his faith. We will all have our own share (and then some) of tears and temptations but we must not allow those things to de-motivate us from serving the Lord.
If you will allow them to, the people in your life can either motivate you or they can de-motivate you. Paul says that he was not going to allow the people in his life to de-motivate him. Sometimes the very people who should support you and be there for you are the one who will let you down, and even at times, they might betray you. In those times you have to stand firm in your faith.
Future Events and Persecutions
The fear of what if’s can de-motivate you in whatever your goals are. We can’t sit around worrying about the what if’s all of the time. We just need to make the best decisions that we can and leave future events up to the Lord. We can’t let the fear of the future and what might happen to keep us from our calling.
Dangers or Perils
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; - 2 Corinthians 11:26
Paul gives us a list of eight different perils or dangers that he had to withstand:
- Own Countrymen
- Family or fellow believers
- In the City
- In the Wilderness
- In the Sea
- False Brethren
What Motivated Paul?
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:8-14
To Win Christ
Winning Christ was a motivating factor for the Apostle Paul. He was not speaking about earning salvation, we know that Paul was already saved and he himself taught that we don’t and can’t earn salvation or favour with God.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. - Titus 3:5-7Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5:1-2
Paul was speaking of winning rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:14
To be found in Christ
Paul was motivated by the fact that he wanted to be sure that when people looked at him and his life that they could see the mark of Christ in his life. He was motivated by maintaining his personal testimony:
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: - 1 Thessalonians 2:10Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the LORD God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.- 1 Peter 3:8-17
To know Christ
Paul was also motivated by his personal relationship that he had with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was motivated to continue to grow in that relationship every day. The only way for us to realize true joy in our lives is by maintaining fellowship with the Lord.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. - 1 John 1:1-4
Don’t Be Moved
Moved can have the negative aspect of being shaken or forced off of course. Follow the example of the Apostle Paul and don’t be shaken by:
- Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 3:3)
- Deception (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3)
- Criticism (Colossians 2:16-18)
- Peer Pressure (Proverbs 1:10, Acts 17:5)
- Consequences (Acts 4:17-21)
Moved can also have the positive aspect of being excited into action, to cause an action, to motivate. Be moved by:
- Compassion (Matthew 9:36, Matthew 18:27)
- Concern (2 Samuel 18:33, Philippians 2:4)
- The word of God (Isaiah 6:4-8)
- Confidence in the Lord (Psalms 91:2)
- In his Spirit (2 Peter 1:21)
- In his Presence (Psalms 68:8)