There’s a fine line between one’s personal motivation in life and one’s motivation as a Christian or follower of Jesus. How do you have a vital personal Christian life? ◊
While we’re one month into the new year, how’s it all going so far?
If you’re like most, you’re probably doing “okay” – that is, you’re off and running into the new year with a new approach to work, school, family, friends, fitness, even on the spiritual front. Regarding that last one, perhaps you’re trying a new Bible reading program – maybe even for the first time. Or perhaps you’re starting to get back to a weekly or bi-monthly small study group meeting, or maybe a one-on-one steady cadence with a friend to talk and hold each other accountable. Maybe you’re simply getting back to a regular church pattern or listening to online sermons or related podcasts.
Either way, the intentions and motivations are good and you’re progressing as planned or need to make some minor adjustments.
“No Excuses, Find a Way”
I once had a sales manager repeat the following statement to his team of young salespeople, of which I was one:
“There are two types of people in this world, those that make excuses and those that find a way.”
Of course, we’ve all heard statements like that. I never forgot that one. This statement stuck with me all through my growing sales, management, and business career. Even in the raising of my children with good principles of discipline, mental toughness, and a strong work ethic.
And while that original sales manager was a Christian, I never made the direct correlation of this statement to the Christian life or my own personal management of my spiritual journey. It just motivated me to not be a complainer and get things done in my sales and business world.
It works – it’s just sound, simple, and practical advice for anyone.
Is there a Christian Application for this?
As I think about this, I do believe there is a correlation or application of this statement to one’s Christian faith and life. How can one productively and effectively “find a way” as they maneuver through life as a believer or follower of Jesus?
And I’m not talking about living a vital Christian life without griping and complaining, or “making excuses” – but rather living a Christian life that has a clear and vital sense of identity, focus, regimen, domain, purpose, and direction.
I believe it’s doable.
The Vital Christian Life: Finding a Way
What follows here are 6 keys to finding a way to a vital and effective Christian life. These are organized around a memorable structure of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How:
- Who Am I? – l believe one needs to be clear on one’s identity in this world. We, as believers, have been given authority as children of God. We, as believers, are dead to self and now alive in Christ. Therefore, walk in that confidence and authority, knowing who you are.
- “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
- What Am I Doing? – The job/work/actions we do are ultimately to be led by the Spirit of God. One may consider doing anything but first through the filtered focus of prayer and God’s Word. We must know, fear, and obey God, and He will renew/develop our mind appropriately geared for this world.
- Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
- When Do I Do It? – Actually, do it every day. The vital Christian life is a lifestyle that incorporates a daily regimen of communication with God through prayer. With that discipline, adding in the study of the Word of God, then one’s heart, mind, and will then soon will be operating in accordance with the will of God.
- “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:9-12
- Where Do I Do It? – Where ever our bodies are, we have an opportunity to walk with God. The vital Christian life knows that God is always present, dwelling within us and our domain. Mindful of this, our life is lived as a living sacrifice. This does not mean we cannot thrive; quite the contrary, we thrive wherever we are.
- And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17
- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12:1
- Why Do I Do It? – In other words, what’s the purpose of it all? Simply put, we are created by God for His purposes, to do good as we align with Christ Jesus. Yet, that good is defined and orchestrated by God according to His broader purposes. Whatever we do, we move forward with this overarching understanding of God’s larger story.
- For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesian 2:10
- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
- How Do I Do It? – If we live our life following Jesus’ top two commandments, then we love God first and foremost, and then love our fellow man. A vital and blessed Christian life has direction and flows out of these prioritized dynamics.
- Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22:37-38
- Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
The irony of life is that when we let go of control and release ourselves into the loving hands of God, our lives become fresh and new, whole and vital.
Are you living a vital Christian life?
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” – John 6:27