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How to motivate yourself as a Christian

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Dr Taiwo has just concluded his medical training in one of Nigeria’s Premier universities. He has taken His oath and been inducted into the medical profession.

All those years of hard work in medical school have paid off, he said to himself and smiled. His family hosted him and his friends to a beautiful reception to mark the event too.

Everyone was happy. His image was splattered all over social media. “Congratulations Doc” was on the lips of everyone he met. His joy knew no bounds. His parents made it a duty to introduce him, proudly, I must add, to everyone who came by. “Meet my son, Dr Taiwo” his father would say, with a proud smile…

Many months down the line and Taiwo was a shadow of his happy self. Presently, he is being attended to by a Psychiatrist. He had been rescued while attempting to take his life. Everyone was shocked, to say the least.

“Ah! Taiwo! That boy that just became a Doctor? What happened na?” People asked in typical Nigerian style.

You see, nine months after medical school, Taiwo was still struggling to find placement for housemanship(or internship). Ordinarily, as obtains in other climes, a doctor does not have to struggle to get placement for an internship. But Nigeria is not any other country. It is Nigeria.

So, for nine months, he kept applying. Initially, he applied to only a few select places where he really wanted to practice but later broadened his scope when employment was not forthcoming. Eventually, he applied to everywhere he could possibly apply to. He had had enough. “How could life be so cruel?”

On this fateful morning when he attempted to take his life, he had just got off the phone with his friend, Olaoye, who had also been in the same situation with him. They had been friends from school, but currently, their shared misery brought them closer together. They encouraged themselves and hoped that their situation would change.

It seemed to them as though they were the only ones who were yet to be employed. At least, that was the situation before Taiwo called his friend. Well, when he got off the phone with Olaoye that morning, it turned out he was the only one yet to secure placement for an internship.

“I must be useless. I am of no good to humanity. I am a waste upon the earth. Let me just die and leave this world.” The thoughts were initially the expressions of anger in the heart of the young man, but before you could say, Jack Robinson, Taiwo had got some rope, located a tree near his house and set about trying to take his life!

Stories like Taiwo’s are all too common. Suicide. Suicidal tendencies. Depression. Anxiety.

All these and more have become very common in our society. From a loss of job to heartbreak and horrific accidents, we all have enough reasons to despair. And the Christian is not left out.

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You would think that as Christians who have an assured hope of a higher life and a far weightier glory to come in the eschaton, that we would be immune to some of these issues of life. You look at Scripture, and you wonder why a Christian who is assured of resurrection can’t seem to get over the sadness occasioned by the vicissitudes of life.

What is wrong, then?

It is not that the claims of Christianity are not true, or that the Christian does not believe the claims, but rather that many a Christian do not yet know how to stay perpetually motivated to face life.

To start with, this motivation we speak of is something within the purview of the mind, and unfortunately, not many Christians understand the power of the mind.

Unfortunately for us, the devil does, and more often than not, his attacks are orchestrated to get our minds to waver. Once this happens, it is easier for him to attack us and cause us to falter and fall. It is his ancient strategy. This is the same strategy he used in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-6 tells the story of how he beguiled Eve.

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye, shall not eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. 

He craftily put forward an innocent question, while all the while hiding his true intent. He went on to question whether it was a sin or not to eat this fruit; then he wrongly quoted the command that God gave to Adam and Eve. He made the divine law look as uncertain and unreasonable and succeeded in drawing them to sin against God.

They lost in their mind before they sinned. This is true of every man. We most times lose in our minds before we sin. A man fornicates in his mind usually before he actually fornicates with a lady. The man who robs a bank has achieved that plan in his mind before he set out to the bank, etc.

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The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness follows a similar pattern.

Beloved, God, our Creator, understands this about our minds and also the propensity of the devil to do battle in our minds, and He severally made it clear in His word for us to guard our minds. (Prov. 4:23 Amplified, GNB)

2Th 2:2 KJV 

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

1Pe 1:3 KJV 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Again, many Christians falsely assume that our faith in God can only be prosecuted spiritually. We make it a point of duty to “drop” our minds when we get to the door of the church or when we want to pray. This is not the position of scripture.

This can be traced in large part to the way and manner in which preachers have taught about faith. While it is true that our faith is beyond rationality, it is not true that faith is not rational. Faith is actually rational.

Isaiah 1:8

Come now let us reason together, says the Lord…

The issue here is that as far as God is concerned, the best of our minds or rationality cannot fully grasp the extent or depth of Faith. So yes, while faith is rational and reasonable, it is actually farther, more in-depth than reason. And so, that it is beyond reason is not reason enough to say it is unreasonable.

So God fully expects us to use our minds. He also expects us to be humble enough and acknowledge when our minds can no longer grasp His reality.

Mat 22:37 
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

Act 17:11 
These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Heb 8:10 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 

Having established this point, we need now to examine how to use our minds according to the word of God in order to stay perpetually motivated.

At this point, it is important that we define motivation. As used in this write-up, motivation refers to excitement, enthusiasm, and the emotional, cognitive, biological or other forces that activate and direct behaviour. Put simply we are talking about happiness, joy, etc.

The first point to note is that God our father is in a perpetual state of motivation and excitement. The Bible calls this state “God’s joy” or “the father’s joy.”

It is, therefore, our heritage as Christians to share in this joy, this perpetual motivation.

John 15:11 

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

 

I briefly show us how To motivate yourself as a Christian.

  1. Recognize the power of your mind

This much has been pretty covered in our introduction. Suffice to note that the state of a man’s mind will affect his output in almost every facet of life.

A motivated mind will strive for excellence and scale hurdles; while a sad mind will be depressed and uninterested in life. A depraved mind will give in to evil and wicked practices, while a pure mind will tend to righteousness and holiness, etc.

Dan 5:20 
But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 

The state of the mind of Nebuchadnezzar ultimately cost him his throne.

  1. Arm your mind with the word of God

Heb 8:10 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people

Lam 3:21 KJV 
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

Act 17:11 KJV 
These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

The word of God in our minds helps us to keep us perpetually in touch with God’s power. For there’s Power in His word. These motivational bible verses compiled by The faithful Christian can uplift your soul.

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With this power, we can confidently face the battles of the mind and be victorious.

  1. Be steady in mind

1Pe 4:1 KJV 

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

The Apostle here is trying to tell us that having shared in the sufferings of Christ, (that is, that the sufferings of Christ were on our behalf), we ought also to attain to the point where we cease from sin. This, for him, is an issue of the mind. He says to “arm” ourselves with this knowledge.

In another place, he says, “gird up the loins of your mind”(1 Peter 1:13). Loosely interpreted, he is saying to us to “tie” our minds so that we would be steady and not easily moved.

2Th 2:2 KJV 
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Luk 12:29 KJV 
And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

This point for me is the most critical. If we are unstable in our minds, we allow the devil a leeway to easily attack us and win.

I remember back in medical school; I used to dread exams a lot. I had seen many brilliant and smart students go in and perform poorly, and some even had to withdraw out of medical school.

For the first two years, I basically struggled because of this fear. In the midst of this, God spoke to me. The words were clear and straightforward: “You will be a Doctor.”

That was all I needed. Anytime this fear arose in my mind, I simply spoke, many times out loud, “I will be a Doctor!” “The worst that can happen is that I will be a Doctor.” Even when things were not so good for me, I called to mind these words and encouraged myself.

Today, I am a Doctor. Glory to God!

Isa 26:3 KJV 
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

  1. Obey the scriptures

John 14:23 KJV 
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 15:10 KJV 
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

There is nothing infinitely more joyful and ecstatic than dwelling in the midst of God’s love and presence. In His presence, there’s no fear, no sadness, no agony…Just Pure bliss. We enjoy this when we dare to obey Him in all things!

  1. Renew your mind daily

Rom 12:2 KJV 
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Act 17:11 KJV 
These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Isa 26:3 KJV 
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

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There are many competing alternatives in the world; many evil things that tend to shake the mind of the believer. Our only sure footing is daily communion and renewal of the mind so that we can constantly stay fresh and excited to face life.

If we fail to do this, we will no sooner become conformed to the anxiety and depression that is all so common around us. We need to receive the word of God daily and constantly call it to mind (Lam 3:21)

  1. Serve the Lord in His house

1Ch 28:9 KJV 

And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.

The elders who framed the Maxim, “the idle mind is the devil’s workshop” sure know what they were talking about!

Get busy serving God and give no place to the devil! Do it willingly and see how God’s joy will overcome the sadness around you. Praise God!

  1. Pray in the Holy Ghost

When we pray, we build ourselves. Put another way; we add blocks upon blocks onto the divine structure that God is erecting in us. The more we have grown, the more we are able to enjoy our privilege of divine joy and motivation.

Moreover, prayer also ensures that the word of God in our hearts comes alive and receives vitality. In my experience, I have found that I remember scriptures more when I pray.  I get clarity on Scripture more when I pray. It is as if, more and more layers of scripture are unravelled just the way an onion ball is unravelled, as I pray. Hallelujah!

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There are yet many things to say, but finally brethren, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

Shalom.

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