I am definitely NOT a morning person. I think when my heavenly Father mixed my DNA He added a pinch of owl to it. As night falls I am typically filled with energy. However, it is definitely an act of the will to say “Good morning, Lord” rather than “Good Lord, it is morning” when daylight breaks.
Since a majority of the world functions during daylight hours, it is necessary for me to arise in the morning, and to please my heavenly Father, I need to do so with a positive attitude. Philippians 4:8-9 provides me with a formula to create that attitude—think on things that are true, honest, pure, lovely, and of good report. Thus, as I anticipate the day before me, I choose, through my Lord’s strength, to meditate on those things that will allow me to “walk worthy of my calling” (Eph. 4:32) during the 24 hours that are given to me.
The Apostle Paul presents four keys to the worthy walk in Philippians 3:12-14 that provide me with direction:
a genuine restlessness (Phil. 3:12)
a solitary longing (Phil. 3:13)
a wholehearted purpose (Phil. 3:12, 14), and
a definite goal (Phil. 3:13, 14).
Before we look at some specific qualities of the worthy walk, let’s take a few moments for personal evaluation, beginning with the skills and abilities God bestowed upon you—does your daily conduct reflect that you are a careful steward of them? What is the purpose of your life? Do you have personal goals? Are you excited about the impact you can make as a Christian to a world focused on pleasure? Very early in my Christian walk, my spiritual mentor, Verna Birkey, taught me a motto that has consistently motivated my attitude—“I am a personal representative of the living God, on assignment to make God visible to others around me.” Daily, is your heavenly Father evident to those who interface with you?
Paul’s genuine restlessness is a model for all believers. While he was satisfied with his Savior and his salvation, he was dissatisfied with his flesh. He was restless with his spiritual status because he was not all that he knew he could or should be. Paul uses the analogy of a runner to describe the Christian’s spiritual growth. The believer has not reached his goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race, he must continue to pursue it. The Christian life is to be exciting—and we should be excited about growing, regardless of our spiritual age.
Paul’s solitary longing helps us eliminate the unnecessary from our lives. Our quest toward Christlikeness puts life into a single focus—Paul says, “this one thing I do." As Christian women we are to have only one goal—to serve God with our entire being (1 Cor. 6:12). Our Lord Jesus serves as the ultimate role model for this solitary longing. He did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work God gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with calmness and leave them with God.
Paul’s wholehearted purpose helped him to focus on his motivation to keep moving toward the goal. We will not succeed if we do not have strong motivation, but its source must be accomplished in the strength of the Holy Spirit, not simply our sheer determination (Phil. 4:13). As Christian women, are we mature enough to keep pursuing our “upward call” (Phil. 3:14) when it would be easier to quit?
Finally, Paul had a definite goal, and he moved toward it with determination. Serving God with our entire being challenges us to refuse to dwell on the past—regardless of whether it is filled with success or sin. What we are today is what counts! Paul challenges us to refuse to drink from the cup of self-pity and to release past grudges and incidents of mistreatment—he forgot these and died climbing! Kelsey’s Korner offers valuable insight into placing our motivation under our heavenly Father’s control.
Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden your car starts to make a weird noise? A thump thump or possibly a screech? When that happens, we all know it’s time to pull over and make sure things are working properly. Driving a car that isn’t functioning according to its design can be dangerous! In the same way, when we find our lives aren’t clicking along as smoothly as we think they should, it’s a good idea to pull over and analyze our hearts to make sure things are running according to our Designer’s will.
After we have stopped and analyzed our hearts, sometimes we discover it’s simply the environment that is slowing things down. Sick children, an extra burdensome load, or the opposing winds of affliction can all slow us down—these challenges are outside our control. However, sometimes the hindrance is self-imposed. Lack of motivation can create serious road blocks! Why eat healthy when take-out is so much easier and tastier? Why wash the dishes when we could watch funny cat videos on YouTube? Why write that research paper when our friends are all hanging out and watching a movie? Before you know it, lack of motivation has caused wreckage.
Instead of allowing our lack of motivation to cause us to lose control, we need to pull over and stop it in its tracks. Two heart issues that tend to cause lack of motivation in my own life are:
Discontentment—when life isn’t going the way I want, I may be tempted to just ignore my responsibilities. Maybe I am angry at God for not granting my prayers the way I had in mind. Or possibly I am walking through a season of life that’s difficult, lonely, or monotonous. Will I choose to acknowledge the Lord’s mercies and sovereignty in these trying seasons and show contentment and gratitude, or will I neglect my responsibilities out of disobedience and discontentment?
Serving the idol of comfort or pleasure—how I spend my time is a good indicator of what is really important to me. When comfort and pleasure become the idols I serve, I tend to cut out the less-than-fun responsibilities in order to make room for my true interests. This leads to unproductive, slothful habits that can greatly hinder my walk with the Lord.
Ignoring the thumping noise your car is making, or just turning up the volume on the radio so you can’t hear the noise, won’t resolve the issue. In the same way, our lack of motivation can’t be fixed unless we tackle the heart problems that are causing them. This must be done with much prayer and with the right equipment. Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches that it’s not enough simply to “put off” our old, or sinful, ways of doing things—we must “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” For example, we may attempt to “put off” the bad habit of procrastination, but if we don’t then also “put on” the character quality of diligence or the heart motivation of working “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23), then our efforts will be in vain. This is why it is so important to discover the heart issue responsible for our actions. Only when we recognize our discontentment can we correctly pray for and work on being content. Only when we recognize our pride can we work on and pray for humility.
So when life is puttering along and something seems out of alignment, let’s purpose to pull over and check our hearts before our great Father. Through prayer, the motivation of love and gratitude to God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, let’s “put off” our old habits, “put on” the character of Christ, and purpose daily to work heartily as unto the Lord.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “Whatever you do, work heartily as for me and not for men, knowing that from me you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving me.” (Col. 3:23-24)
Therefore, I may boldly say, “I am to focus on God’s perspective through the day, realizing it is Him whom I am serving at home, at work, and ministry rather than my husband, children, or boss.”
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!