But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Pet. 3:18)
Though none of us will ever arrive at full spiritual growth in this life and we will mistakes along the way, we should at least “want to” grow. Read of Paul’s assessment of Christian realities in Philippians 3.
So, if people lack motivation to grow, we need to ask some hard questions and then take appropriate steps:
1) Do they truly know the Lord?
Do not assume everyone who attends your church or your Sunday School class is a true believer. They might talk the talk and appear to walk the walk but not have a personal relationship with the Lord. If a person is not a true believer, then they do not have the Holy Spirit within to provide the motivation and power to live the Christian life.
2) Do they have an adequate understanding of God’s love and grace?
There is a reason 2 Peter 3:18, quoted above, says to grow in both knowledge and grace. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Don’t expect that simply “knowing” what to do will motivate people enough to do it. Grace is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. People must know how much they need God at the root of all they do, guiding and empowering them. Otherwise, sensing the difficulty of striving to consistently live righteously both on the inside and outwardly, they will grow weary and give up.
Tool: Books Teaching on Grace
3) Are we connecting with them in ways that matter?
God’s design is that we have a part in one another’s growth. See Ephesians 4:15-16. We learn from each other and are encouraged by and spurred on as we serve as dispensers of God’s grace in each other’s lives. For more, read this article: True Body Life Results in Motivation Much of this investment into each other’s lives can be accomplished one-on-one in non-formal settings, but some can happen through large and small group gatherings if we are careful to connect with people in ways that will make a difference.