Whether photoshopped or not, this picture of a cyclist being chased by a bear is a great illustration for motivation. In our Christian walk, however, we struggle to see the bear behind us and often fall into drudgery or complacency. How do we find the enthusiasm for ourselves and then to encourage and build up others?
I. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11. First, we belong to the day. This we should not forget. When we came up out of that water of baptism, we set aside the deeds of darkness as a new creation and pledged to live for God and His will (Romans 13:11-14). So, we live as children of light (John 3:19-21) with the protection of God’s breastplate of faith and love and helmet of the hope of salvation. So many face the trials of the day not equipped with what God has provided. They haven’t grasped their motivation.
II. Colossians 3:1-17. The world tells us that heaven is for all and hell for a few, and sadly many live this motivation-killing lie. The Bible shows us that the opposite is true–that hell is for all (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23) and that heaven is for a few (Matthew 7:13-14). We’re told to ‘obtain’ salvation. This means we need to work it out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). Even Jesus needed to do this (Hebrews 5:7-9) and used the joy of heaven as motivation to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:1-3).
III. Ephesians 4:12-16. In that is our motivation! If in Jesus’ sacrifice we share in His glory, then we have reason to enthusiastically obey Him in our daily walk. But that’s not enough. We are to then encourage one another and build one another up. Here’s the purpose of the church coming together each week and staying connected throughout the week. Here’s why edification is so much more than just instruction. It’s the application for our own lives and concern for others. Because of Jesus, we do so.
God through Paul tells the Thessalonians “… just as you are doing.” How encouraging it must have felt to know they were on the right track. We too, if we do these things and rediscover our motivation for our Christian walks, can know that we are living out God’s plan for us.