To engage in that which could cause us some inconvenience or discomfort, we need a pretty good reason to do so. We humans don’t like to give up our personal agendas and interests for something we don’t perceive as worth the time and effort.
Soldiers undergo vigorous discipline so they are fit to win the battle. Athletes train themselves to win a prize. Farmers endure hardship for a crop. See 2 Timothy 2:3-6.
For us to be motivated to regularly and persistently spend time in the Word and prayer, for example, we need to sense the value.
We will find little motivation to engage in Spiritual Disciplines for these reasons:
- The pastor or my Sunday School teacher says I should.
- Others will view me as spiritually mature if I do.
- I think its what I’m supposed to do as a believer.
We will find much greater motivation to engage in Spiritual Disciplines for these reasons:
- I will get to know God better — not just about Him, but to know Him intimately.
- It will foster and deepen my relationship with the Lord, drawing me closer to Him.
- I will become more spiritually fit and healthy to love Him and follow Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This was the Apostle Paul’s motivation who said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ …” (Phil. 3:8-11).
Paul knew a half-hearted attempt to get to know the Lord would yield little so he was willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get to know Him. Notice how his perspective on other matters in life changed when his priority was to know Christ Jesus his Lord.
Paul knew a legalistic attempt was not the answer. Notice how he made it clear in the above verses that it wasn’t because of following the law but rather because of what Christ did in him, leaving no room for bragging about his pursuit.
Paul also knew getting to know Christ in this way had to be an on-going, regular effort. Notice how he continued in verse 12 — “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
Think about it: There are certain practices we can do that will help us more intimately know and love the One of whom there is none greater, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator of all things, the Eternal One who is the beginning and end, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. This is the same God who loves us unconditionally, thinks about us constantly, is for us and with us always, works on our behalf, and wants to be in a personal relationship with us. This is the One who was willing to die for us. — Is your heart’s desire to more fully know and love this God?