The Motivated vs. Surrendered Life

Are you a highly motivated and productive person in your work life? Does the word “surrender” have negative connotations to you? Can one be successful in the marketplace as a surrendered person? 

Christian MotivationI’m in the business of motivating professional sales teams. No, I don’t preach to them. I teach and train them in professional business sales practices and processes to achieve their personal and company sales goals and objectives. Through almost 40 years in sales, sales management and consulting experience, from door-to-door selling during college summers to years at IBM and other technology companies in the Silicon Valley, I have learned the art and science of sales effectiveness for individuals, sales teams and organizations.

I’ve also learned about motivation. How to get one’s head right even in the midst of challenging circumstances, obstacles, and setbacks.

And that’s what salespeople and professional sales managers face every day. And the top professional sales producers learn how to accept, confront, adjust, and work through issues, problems and hurdles.

Do it or die (fail).

The Opposite of Motivated?
The word “surrender” is not in the vocabulary or mindset of the typical highly effective salesperson. Winners don’t quit. They never say never. They never give in. They’re (pleasantly) persistent and tenacious.

No, they don’t surrender. It’s not in their nature, one might say. I would say they don’t lose easily and fight hard to the end. Even when they lose (and everyone loses a deal here and there), they go down swinging.

It is not a bad thing to be so resilient. It’s a key to professional success.

However, a never-surrender resilience is not necessarily consistent with the life of a highly motivated Christian. There is, thankfully, a healthy achievable balance.

The Christianity Success Model
While the world will tell us to keep your head up, chin up, step up, suck it up, shape up, buck up, shut up, and get over it, the Bible will appear to tell us to be meek and mild, be gentle like a lamb, passive and loving, giving the shirt off your back, even to enemies.

To the strong-willed winner that sounds like a recipe for losing.

But that’s where we miss it. When we fail to draw lines of distinction between Christ-like behavioral characteristics and the real source of life and spiritual strength, we run the risk of misapplying the call to be salt and light in the world while experiencing God’s full blessings and rich spiritual abundance in life.

Yes, even prosperous success.

Don’t read this wrong. Abraham prospered. Moses prospered. David, Solomon and other good kings and God-fearing (trusting) people in the Scriptures and in life over the centuries have prospered. Again, it’s not the promise of our short existence in this broken world, but it can and does happen and there’s nothing to shy away from here.

Do stay clear of any prosperity preachers, however. There is no “name it and claim it!” or “God helps those who help themselves” messaging in the Bible. God exercises His right to bring curses and blessings at will. But anyone who preaches a doctrine that says prosperity and wealth is only a result of God’s favor and poverty or anything less than material well-being is a curse or reflection of one’s faulty walk with God is teaching a false gospel and steering people from truth on this matter.

So how does one strike a healthy balance between our motivated ambition for success and a humble, surrendered walk with God and our fellow man?

Here are 6 practical steps:

  1. Seek to know God – read His revelation to all of mankind in the Bible, start to finish. It is to understand the meaning and purpose of life itself. (Jeremiah 9:23-24, John 14:6)
  2. Prioritize your relationship with God – even over all other things in life, put this relationship first and in healthy context with your family and vocation. (Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  3. Present your personal desires to God – lay out all of your heart’s desires and longing for a spouse, family and vocational direction to God in prayer. It’s okay to dream, but present your life a living sacrifice – let God open and shut doors. Relinquish control of your life and dreams to the One who knows you and wired you with purpose. (Psalm 37:4, Proverbs 16:1-3)
  4. Perform your work with excellence – whatever you do, work hard and do it well. Learn your trade and excel in it. Even with junior interim jobs, do them well and with good spirit as they may be but stepping stones to a future you may not now discern. (Colossians 4:23, Matthew 5:13-16)
  5. Present your thankfulness to God – acknowledge God in all things, even your wins and losses, as He is in the mix of a faithful life. Recognition of His hand in all areas of your life will bring peace, rest, and joy. (Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:4-7)
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 daily – as with anything performed well in life, the fully surrendered life is cultivated over time. Daily repetition in the practice of a God-seeking life in all areas of one’s life will yield fruit beyond your expectations. (Philippians 4:9, 1 Peter 1:15)

Most people no doubt are on the path with these steps at some level, even doing them well in their own minds. A note of caution: beware of playing mere lip-service to your walk with God. It’s not a 50%, 80% or even 90% thing. The goal is 100%. Hit your quota!

The successful, high-performer in any life path or vocation is an impressive thing to watch. However, it is but vanity (1 Samuel 16:7, Ecclesiastes 2:11) apart from a true abiding relationship with God. But God’s hand on a balanced, surrendered and restored life, one highly motivated, productive and excellent in bringing honor and good to God, man, and kingdom domain under God’s authority, now that is something to observe and emulate.

Certainly worth recalibrating one’s own goals, objectives, and motivations.

Are you a successfully motivated and surrendered person?
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. – Philippians 4:11-12

Categories: Abundant Living, Calling, Devotion, Family, Fathering, Manhood, Marketplace, Purpose

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Great insight!!


  2. Yes, indeed. Well done, Michael.


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