- Sheldon Clowdus
many professing Christians. How do we motivate people to evangelize, to make costly personal sacrifices for the sake of their families? In short, how can we motivate them to be disciples who follow Christ with everything they have?
Of course, in one sense we can't make people decide to do these things because these are decisions that require the heart to change and only God can change the heart. However, we do have access to the instrument that God has left us to be His change agent: the scriptures. And the scriptures do give us some insight into what can help motivate people (including ourselves) to live a life devoted to Christ.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us -- Romans 8:18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. -- 1 Peter 1:3-7
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. -- Colossians 1:3-5
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began -- Titus 1:1-2
The first thing to notice here is that none of these passages reference worldly things as motivation for following Jesus wholeheartedly. None of these writers mentions physical health, material wealth, worldly success, or the respect and admiration of your peers. (That is part of what makes the prosperity non-gospel so heinous. God never intended any of these things as rewards for exemplary faith. When He does grant them they are meant to bring Him glory by being used as means of gospel proclamation.) Instead, the scriptures point us to look ahead to the world to come.
We are reminded that in Christ we have been granted an inheritance.
What motivates us to abandon everything in the pursuit of Christ is the understanding that in Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, including a glorious inheritance as a co-heir with Christ. This world truly is not our home.
So remind your people and remind yourself of this glorious truth. Because of Christ and the gospel, we are freed up to completely abandon the things of this world because our hope is in the world to come.
We are reminded that our inheritance is undefileable, unfading, and imperishable.
We are reminded that the Holy Spirit is given to us as a sign that our inheritance is guaranteed us.
We are reminded that our inheritance is promised us by an eternally faithful God.
We are reminded that nothing we give up or suffer through in this world can compare to the glory waiting us in the next.
If that doesn't motivate us....nothing will.