Monday Motivational – Press Onward
Welcome to another Monday Motivational guys! I hope that your week has gotten off to a great start so far. It is supposed to be a somewhat rainy week, so prepare yourself for that now and make the best of it as it comes! I know you didn’t decide to read this post because of my intuitive weather app reading skills though. Instead lets dive into what this Monday Motivational is about this week. I want to take a moment to be completely transparent with you and let you know that last week was a rough week for me all around. I have felt physically ill, mentally exhausted, and spiritually discouraged—perfect combination right?
I thought I was just having a rough few days and that it would all pass, but as the week went on I found my situation remaining the same. I am sure that this is not an experience specific to me, so if you have ever found yourself going through a week or phase of life similar to the one I have been going through don’t feel alone. Have confidence that fellow believers are in your corner and ready to carry that burden with you. One of the guys in my bible study last Thursday said that he was going to pray for us to lean into God more often and have an understanding of how much we need to lean into God as a first option rather than a last resort. I am not sure how that prayer affected the lives of the other guys in our bible study, but it was clearly needed and impactful in my life last week.
I was encouraged in my reading of 1 Thessalonians this morning that the only real option we have when going through a rough patch of life is to press onward. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 1 through 4 says, “For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (ESV) In our walk with Christ we will face much conflict, suffer, and be treated shamefully in ways that are not precisely like Paul’s, but in ways that are parallel. Paul did not show a desire to give up during these times, but rather “had a boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in midst of much conflict”.
When we find ourselves in the midst of a rough patch it is crucial that we press onward. As believers giving up or throwing in the towel to suffering and conflict cannot be an option. We have been entrusted with the same gospel that Paul was entrusted with so we must “speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” with the same boldness. Throughout this week, whether things are going great or things seem hopeless, make leaning into God a priority from the start and not a last resort. Make pressing onward a habit that is founded in the faith you have in God’s control and sovereignty in your life!
Happy Monday guys!
Monday Motivational – Who said that?
Welcome back to another Monday Motivational guys! I hope that these short reads are helping make your Monday’s just a little bit better. If they aren’t, I’m sorry to hear that but I also never claimed to be good at this. Speaking of things I am not good at—I have a horrible memory. I can most times recognize a face and potentially place where it was that I saw that face before, but when I comes to names, information about a person, or details of an event that happened I am not great at all. This is a horrible problem to have when a majority of your job is supposed to be about making people feel cared for, involved, and worth investing in. As I have aged the severity of this problem has lessened, and I do a little bit better but it takes full effort. The same thing sort of happened in my spiritual life as well.
I was blessed to have grown up in the church, but I am not sure that I was given that much of an advantage because of it. I know that I was taught the stories of Jonah, Noah, Daniel, Joseph, Samson, Ruth, etc.—all with those classy 90’s felt boards I am sure—but I do not remember learning about them the first time. I am not sure if my views on these people come from the blind obedience of a child following a leader, or if I have been able to reinvest in the life and story of these people to create my own thoughts through the guidance of the Spirit. What I do know is that I have a small number of misguided truths because I heard something one to many times as a child without getting the context or, more realistically, not understanding the context of it. A great example of this is something that I think most of us have heard anywhere from one time to one thousand times.
You guessed it—maybe—but the saying I’m talking about is “money is the root of all evil”. I cannot count high enough to tell you how many times I heard that or some variation of it growing up. And I do not mean only in the church or from church people, but I heard this saying everywhere. The actual scripture behind this saying is found in 1 Timothy 6:10 , “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”. It is clear here that the money has little to do with the problem, but rather the construct of loving and craving something that does not deserve to be loved or craved. By loving money you are putting value where it does not belong. Our love should go to God and to others—in that order. In all three accounts of Jesus being asked which commandment is the greatest or most important in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Christ responds by telling them to love God and love others.
It is important for us to validate, test, and discern what we are told is truth and biblical. Moving forward take time to challenge what you are told and see if it holds up to the word of God. If you don’t take time to do this you will grow up believing something ridiculous like money is the root of all evil. One of the ways that I try to avoid doing this is to ask myself “who said that?”. Whenever you are told something is a truth that you should cling to, make sure that truth is actually a truth from God and not just an opinion of the person who told it to you. Find out who said it and what the context is so that you can avoid craving things that do not deserve to be craved.
I hope that your week is full of intentional moments of asking yourself “who said that?” in a way that helps bring you closer to the truth of God.
Monday Motivational: To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Welcome back to another Monday Motivational! I hope that last week was full of growth, encouragement, and new experiences. This week we are going to be looking at some more words of wisdom from Paul. I don’t know about you, but I get so much encouragement and conviction from reading the Pauline letters. Most of Paul’s letters were written to believers facing a problem, and even though we may not be facing that same exact problem, we are constantly being attacked by satan and the letters of Paul can help us be prepared for that. Today I want us to look a passage in Philippians chapter 1. Our focus will be on verses 19-30, but I highly recommend reading the whole chapter when you have a few minutes to spare!
Paul’s objective in this passage is to reveal to the saints in Philippi that our goal should be providing an example of giving glory to God whether in life or death. (verses 19-20) Paul famously writes “For to me to live is Christ, and to dies is gain.” in verse 21. If we choose to stop reading right there we could potentially miss what Paul is trying to convey. He continues to breakdown what he means in the coming verses. Lets look at these two statements to get the full understanding of what Paul was saying.
We will start with “to live is Christ”. As a believer our life must point to and strive toward that of Christ. Paul says in verse 22 “to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me”. He does not mean to live in his sinful flesh, but rather to live in his physical body. The fruitful labor is the work he will endure for the progression of the gospel of Christ and all those who will come to know Christ as their savoir because of this labor. He goes on to say in verse 27 that we must “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ”. The Greek translation of this also means “only behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ”. Believers have been given citizenship in heaven and our life must be a living sacrifice to Christ. Therefore, “to live is Christ”!
Moving on to “to die is gain”. Paul says in verse 23 “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better”. For us as individuals at our point of salvation we are given citizenship in heaven, which means after death we will be with Christ. Our death becomes the greatest gain imaginable at that point—to be rid of this world of sin and temptation, and to be in the presence of Christ and fullness. We instinctively fear death because it is portrayed as an end to what is and a separation from the people and things that we love. However, through our death we receive togetherness with Christ for eternity. Therefore, “to die is gain”!
We need to use the time we are given to “live in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ”, but we cannot live in fear of death. In verse 29 Paul says, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake”. When we believe in Christ we can look to His life and strive for a likeness in it. We can also know that in our death He will be glorified, and we will receive the greatest gain!
I hope that you have an amazing week! Stay dry with all this rain that is supposed to come.
Value: You > Me
Welcome back to another Monday Motivational! I hope that last weeks look into what we learned during our Mid-Winter retreat was helpful and insightful when obstacles arose throughout the week. Today I would like to talk with you about something we have all most likely dealt with at some point—personal value. The American idea of value we all learn as kids is that everyone’s value is equal at the start (born into freedom in the land of opportunities), but as an individual you can work towards greatness, success, fame, or wealth and eventually make your value greater than the value of others. As believers we know that this mentality could not be further from the truth.
I was blessed to be raised in a church and in a family that showed me I was valuable in their eyes and in the eyes of God. However, I was also foolish enough to fall for satan’s trap of comparison and acceptance on an almost everyday basis. It is tough to go from hearing about your value in God’s eyes to being completely rejected by your peers. In the eyes of my classmates, teammates, and other everyday acquaintances I was a below average kid. This constant belittlement of my personal value made it difficult for me to agree with what I was hearing in Sunday school, bible studies, and from my family. Because of this constant feeling of less than I have grown up to have little by means of self-esteem and self worth. Of course when I reflect back now I understand that I was searching for value in the wrong places, but my opinion of myself, that has been molded out of years of constant rejection and feeling less than, will not simply change overnight.
It is important for us to understand that we are valuable to God and the opinions of others is just satan trying to get a stronghold on our view of personal value. We were made in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) and we are loved by Him with an unconditional, forever enduring, love (Psalm136:2). Unlike the American way of working harder to create more value in yourself to broaden the space between you and those “less valuable”, a believer works harder to draw near to God and along the way we will have a more clear understand of His opinion on our value and how His love for us does not differ from His love for others. Our goal should not be to show those around us that we are valuable and they are not. The goal is to show others that they are valued by God and in humility express to them that they are more valuable than yourself.
In Paul’s letter to the saints in Philippi he says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3). Hearing this growing up I thought it would be the easiest way to show others I was a believer. My view of self was drastically low, so it would not take much for me to treat others as more significant then myself. The reality of this statement is that Paul was not challenging the people of Philippi to count others as if they are more significant than their own opinion of self, but to count others, in humility, as if they are more significant than God’s opinion of themselves. This drastically changes the challenge, but if we can teach this to the current youth we will see a generation rise up that not only understands God’s value put on their own life but also the value of others and the importance of showing others they are valued in the eyes of God. A generation with this mentality could truly make a difference. A generation with this mentality could bring glory to God!
I hope that you have an amazing week!