Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Focusing Your Motivation

Growing up, I was always extremely competitive. I HATED to loose. I was jealous of my friends for making better grades and being more popular in school than I was. I always wanted to be the one to win the award, win the game, be recognized for doing something well. My motivation for success was pride. As I got older my outlook on being successful was being the best at whatever I did, and being recognized for it....or be able to brag about it. It wasn't until I matured and started focusing my life on Christ, that I started to see the type of person I had become.

A friend in our Bible study group  just recently posted the following quote on Facebook. It said, "Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind...[and] Pride is essentially competitive - by its very nature... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone." C.S. Lewis (Thanks Mike!)

God revealed to me that my motivation for wanting to be successful wasn't for His glory. He showed me that my motivation to succeed was based more on my selfish ambitions and my pride. I think there are many people that live life in a constant state of competition; always wanting to be the best, to be first, to be richer, to be the favorite, to be the one chosen, or to be on top. I have found that constantly living to meet the expectations of the world is exhausting, stressful, and in the end... dissatisfying! But, I have learned, if we live out the purpose that God has for our lives and not worry about our worldly status, our lives will be completely different! I have found that the more I focus on Christ the more content and joyful my life has become.

The problem with focusing on worldly success is that no matter how much money you have, how expensive your car or your house is, or how many toys you have; you will never be completely satisfied. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you focus on the fear of failing to succeed by the world's standard, then when you don't succeed then you will eventually become unhappy, depressed, or lonely.

God teaches us that He will meet our needs and make us successful if we keep our focus on Him. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." Too many times we try to establish our plans and goals without God as the main focus. Then, when things don't go as we planned, we push God away instead of asking ourselves, were we living out His will for our lives to begin with or were we focusing on worldly ambitions? Our motivation to succeed should be for His glory. We were made to love God and love others. If that is our motivation, then our lives will glorify Him and He will make us prosperous and successful.

Psalms 1:1-3, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers."


Monday, April 1, 2013

The Day After Easter

Did you know that the Monday following Easter is also known as "Renewal Monday", or "Bright Monday". Although it isn't largly observed as a holiday in the United States, it makes me wonder, how much do we continue celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after Easter?

Last night, I couldn't help but think about how Jesus disciples felt during the three days after Jesus died on the cross. Can you imagine? Jesus's disciples loved him so much and they were devestated after Jesus was crucified. But, what they didn't realize is in a few days, their teacher, savior, and Messiah would rise from the grave!

I don't know about you, but I would think that the incredible amount of excitement, joy, and happiness they felt after Jesus appeared to them continued not only the next day but for the rest of their life! In fact, they died in persecution for proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the joy of that day continued over 2000 years later!

Today is Monday. The day after Easter. Most of us that attended church services yesterday heard the traditional message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THE MOST pivotal moment in history of the world! It is the day to remember that because of the grace of Jesus Christ, we have a SAVIOR that wipes our sinful life clean! Praise GOD! We have a risen savior that died for you and me!

My prayer is that when the eggs have been eaten, the chocolate is gone, and the family goes home, we continue worshiping and celebrating today, tomorrow, every day, and for the rest of the year; not just on Easter.