Motivation vs Perseverance.
I think many times we confuse motivation with perseverance. Does that statement even make sense? Let me explain what I mean. There are so many things in life that can be hard... family, work, marriage, church, relationships, etc. At the same time that these things are "hard" they also bring the most rewards... right? I find so many people blaming their lack of engaging in the "hard" on motivation... me included!
Let's look at Jesus. In Luke 22 and in Matthew 26 we read about how Jesus enters into a time of prayer. In Luke it is obvious that He is in agony. Imagine for a moment what was before Him. He just ate with His disciples. He sees them argue about "who will be the greatest". He tells Peter that he will deny Him 3 times. He dismisses a disciple that will betray Him and now He is on the precipice of a Jewish abandonment, a Roman torture/death and a forsaking by His Father who He has come to do the will of... heavy. What motivation is there? If motivation is flesh based, then what possibly could it be? Listen, we know that we are designed to preserve ourselves. We do not willing walk into pain. So why? Look at what Jesus says in Luke 22:42!!
"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
"Remove this cup"?? Wait what? You mean He was not motivated??!!!
This really shouldn't be surprising. We can identify with this, right? You and I would NEVER be motivated to walk into pain! Women in labor are not "motivated" to willingly and gladly accept pain before a birth. In fact I know my wife would say frequently that she wished that there was a nice stork that dropped off the babies!
Yes, Jesus longed to go the cross and He counted it as "the joy set before Him", but His human motivation is not what got Him there. It was perseverance. He pursued the cross and endured it in spite of the pain because He knew the will of the Father AND He knew ultimately it brought the most rewards! The rewards of a redeemed creation. The rewards of death and hell CONQUERED. The rewards of justice satisfied, atonement made and reconciliation possible.
Think about that! Aren't those the SAME reasons that we PERSEVERE through our tough times?
Paul also addresses this in 1 Corinthians 9. He says he disciplines his body and keeps it under control so that he can finish the race.
Let's evaluate ourselves. Do we blame the lack of difficult pursuits on lack of motivation? Because to be honest, I am only ever "motivated" to do things that I love to do.. that comes easy. Everything else? We need understand the rewards and pursue them with perseverance!
Soli Deo Gloria,