“God will strengthen you with His own great power…” Colossians 1:11 (NCV)
Paul is saying that motivation is an outside job. Motivation comes from the Mover of the universe. One of the arguments from philosophy for the existence of God is the law of inertia. That law, simply put, is as follows: if something is not moving, it won’t move unless something moves it. And if something is moving, it won’t stop unless something stops it. Thus God becomes the prime Mover.
You can take that and translate it into your life. You won’t move consistently towards Christlikeness unless the Prime Mover, who is outside of you, moves you. God is the Mover, He is the Source, He is the origin for the magnificent power for living as an obedient Christ-follower.
I don’t care for prosperity theology. That is the heresy that states that if you can name it, you can claim it for your own. That you can obligate God to give you what you want if you claim something is yours in faith. It is also the belief that it is not God’s will for Christ-followers to ever be poor or sick. That kind of thinking is from the pit of hell and it smells of smoke. Some very godly people I have known have gotten cancer and lived in poverty.
But in our haste to discount that kind of extreme, we often downplay the activity of the supernatural in our lives. We in effect become practicing deists and that is heresy too. The Christian faith is supernatural. There is a personal God and He is the Mover of the universe. It is a supernatural faith, and there is a Mover outside of us! It is not an inside job; you don’t pull yourself up by your own spiritual bootstraps. Spiritual motivation is an outside job.
What does that mean in a practical way? It means that prayer is more important than action. It means that you won’t get holy by hustle; you become holy by asking.
Do you want to learn how to love? Don’t say that I’m going to learn how to love even if it kills me. Because it might just kill you. Just ask the Father for a greater capacity to love. Are you having trouble with temptation in your life right now? Don’t say, “I’m going to be strong and pure and holy and give a good witness for Jesus!” Just go to Him and say, “I’m weak. I’ve got a problem, and I need some help!” Just ask!
“…You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2c (NIV)
It is impossible to commit adultery while holding my wife’s hand. The best way for me to stay motivated to live a holy life is to talk to Jesus every day.
If my motivation for being obedient in matters large and small is flagging, I should probably check the genuineness of my conversations with Jesus. I might find that I have taken my hand out of His.