I was reading a funny story about one way a father motivated his family to pitch in and help set up a campsite where they were staying. After their loaded station wagon parked at the only remaining campsite, the four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading the gear and setting up the tent. The boys then rushed to gather firewood, while the girls and their mother set up camp stove and cooking utensils. A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters’ father: “That, sir, is some display of teamwork.” The father replied, “I have a system. No one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up. (selected)
Funny how it takes certain ways to motivate people. Some use a conditional approach like the father: You may all go to the bathroom upon the condition you set up camp first. Others use bribery: mother to son… I offer to pay your ticket to go to a movie if you finish your homework. Still, others resort to black mail: sister to brother…I will tell dad you got a traffic ticket when you drove his car unless you do all my chores for the next few weeks. There’s also the time approach, often used in sales: Get this widget now at this low price before time runs out. Ah…another one I just thought of is the threat of punishment : Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time. There are also other examples of motivation you can probably think of.
The point is…motivation can be found through many means and methods. But the best way is through the inspiration of the scriptures. In fact, God’s inspired Word provides the kind of instruction that truly motivates us for achieving genuine success in our lives.
Second Timothy 3:16 and 17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (New American Standard Bible, NASB)
Let’s break this passage down. The word, “inspired,” literally means, “God-breathed.” All Scripture is “breathed out by God,” (English Standard Version, ESV). Through his Holy Spirit or Power, God spoke to the eyes and ears as well as the minds and hearts of holy men who recorded his Word and will to them (2 Peter 1:21). Therefore, everything you read from Genesis to Revelation is not something that human beings made up. Every word or thought derives from that divine Source which makes the Bible true, accurate, and trustworthy. God is the sole author of his Book.
God’s inspired Word, therefore, is profitable or useful in various ways–namely, teaching or instruction; reproof or persuasion; correction or setting right again; training in righteousness or discipline in doing right under God’s justice. The profitability of God’s inspired Word is so that believers can be adequately equipped for doing God’s good work. In effect, there can be no better way to be motivated than by applying God’s inspired Word in one’s daily life.
Let’s cite some examples:
- Teaching. Joshua 1:7, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go,” (ESV).
There are many books on the market that tell us how to achieve success. But the foundation of true success from the Christian standpoint is by doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. God’s laws of do’s and don’ts provide the ethics that motivate us to move forward toward whatever we’re doing. And it keeps our conscience clear and our minds confident knowing we’re doing what God requires by following his instructions.
- Reproof. Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (New King James Version, NKJV).
Whenever we’re presented with an opinion or idea that we question we want evidence. Reproof requires proof of evidence by testing our conviction. God’s Word is meant to convict us in our beliefs even if it takes reprimand or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:1-4). Motivation through reproof is when we are convinced or persuaded to accept God’s truth regardless of those who would challenge us to believe otherwise. Like the Apostle Paul, whose conviction was also tested and proven, we are motivated knowing that nothing and no one can come between us and the love of God through Christ our Lord (2 Tim. 3:1-15).
- Correction. 2 Timothy 2:23-26, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will,” (ESV).
Call it human pride, but no one usually likes to be corrected. We all like to think we’re right. But when someone sets us straight on a certain matter, we’re either going to resist or admit our error. Motivation rests on how we take correction when we need it. We can either take it with a positive or a negative attitude which is why the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to correct his opponents with gentleness. Motivation is strengthened if correction is done in the correct way: With gentle words rather than with harsh or judgmental words (Matthew 7:1-5). Another thing to remember is that God’s Word provides the truth that keeps us corrected. If we keep it hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), then we’ll be divinely motivated to follow his correction in a positive manner. And that gets us to the next principle…
- ‘Training in Righteousness. Hebrews 12:4-13, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.
‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’
For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
Any kind of training you undergo takes discipline. To be trained in God’s righteousness or justice is no different. Among other things, it includes great sacrifice, hard work, intensive learning, and gut desire. Motivation is imperative if you want to be trained in God’s righteousness. By remembering that God’s correction is what trains us to pursue those principles that bring us success, we will be motivated through his perfect, genuine love, “For the Lord disciplines [trains] the one he loves.” Even when you don’t feel well and you are so weak you think you can’t go any farther, God’s discipline will motivate you with peace of mind and strength and hope to move forward in your midst of trial and temptation.
If you need motivation to get you going in whatever you pursue to do, get inspired by God’s inspired Word. Nothing is so essential and so rewarding as following God’s Word to get you motivated. As the Apostle Paul noted in his own testimony of life-long commitment, it is most profitable for equipping us to serve as we look forward to the appearing of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Nothing could be more motivating than to anticipate the crown of righteousness the Lord will award to believers when he comes again!
Here’s an inspirational song that will motivate you: “Word of God Speak” by Mercy Me, https://youtu.be/4JK_6osCH74
Good News to YOU!