(July 26, 1989)
A friend once remarked, “That fellow will never amount to much -- he’s a CAN’T MAN.”
An apt description of a man who seldom finished what he started, and seldom even started. Sounds just like the “slothful” man in’ Proverbs who excused his inactivity with, “There is a lion outside. I’ll be slain in the streets.”
Quitting comes easy to the lazy. A person whose heart isn’t really in the thing hasn’t much staying power either. Ask any committee. Even the most brilliant ideas sooner or later deteriorate into tedious hard work! So how do you get motivated when passion for a project fizzles and motivation dawdles and dwindles?
DETERMINATION: Some folks keep on keeping on because they’re stubborn. Their goal is set, their jaw is too. Nothing’s going to stop them. They want what they want when they want it. An iron will ensures completion.
NECESSITY: Others keep on because someone depends on them. It might be baby’s cries calling “I’m hungry, I’m wet. I need a hug.” It might be creditors playing their song, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” Whether it’s a job that must be done or food put on the table, survival is a strong motivator.
HABIT: One of my relatives cleans her house every Saturday, top to bottom, inside out, until it sparkles. When her children were small, dirt made the chores necessary. These days the shine is still there on Friday. Nevertheless, she cleans house every Saturday.
VISION: “Maybe no one else can see my goal but I can either smell it, taste it, or picture it in my mind.” With that, all obstacles are taken in stride. The job gets done.
The Word of God often refers to “keeping on.” The Greek word is translated patience, or endurance, or persistence, and is simply the ability to continue doing what God requires under all kinds of opposition, stress, pressure and disadvantage. Such persistence may be fueled by a vision or assisted by determination. A sense of being needed helps too. So does good habits. Yet hotter still burns the fuel of faith.
Faith is, “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is moving along life’s path with the desires of the heart linked to God. It is knowing that He gives purpose to all that I do.
Faith carries with it the idea of vision. God opens blind eyes and enables “sight” of eternal realities through faith in Jesus Christ. This vision includes assurance. Obeying God will be rewarded - not necessarily in this life but certainly in the next. Such assurance fuels persistence. Faith is determination too. It is knowing that God tells the truth and stubbornly hanging to that truth, even if “every man is a liar.”
Faith even increases through developing the habit of turning to God in trials. He proves Himself to be true once, then again, and again, and again — until trials produce an automatic response for all of life. Faith soon becomes “the only thing to do”.
As well, faith senses being indispensable. While God certainly is not helpless without us, He has purpose for our lives. He is building a kingdom. He will use our obedience as a bricklayer uses mortar to hold walls together. The Bible even calls believers “God’s building.”
Not only that, our obedience adds fireworks to the display of His power. Who else but a mighty God could bring sinful people into submission to Himself? Every time I act in faith, it is a testimony to God’s grace. Far from abstract or useless, faith gives not only life but motivates the faint-hearted, the aged, and even the lazy. Who knows, some may even themselves excited about going out and tackling that lion in the street.