Wednesday, July 18, 2012


When using the word motivation, it is helpful to see some of its synonyms, such as motive, inspiration, inducement, and cause, to help us better understand the word.  What I really want to talk about is the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual impetus that drives us forward toward our goals in life. In Spanish, one of the words for motivation is ganas. I like this word because it seems to place emphasis on desire. We need motivation and desire in life to succeed, and yet there are many ways to lose our motivation.

Consider some of the ways people lose their ganas. Discouragement comes when our expectations are not met. Our desire can be deflated when we are unable to resolve a problem or a conflict. Disappointment can come in many shapes and sizes and can even sneak up on us, ravaging our motivation. Some are disappointed in their accomplishments and especially failures, and others are disappointed in someone who let them down; still others are disappointed in themselves.

Regardless of the source, disappointment will diminish desire and leave you without motivation to keep on. Here are a few suggestions to help improve your ganas. First, start with an examination of your expectations and make sure they are reasonable. Secondly, make sure you have long-term goals because a sustained perspective is essential to maintain motivation. We are made in such a way that we have to have a purpose—something to live for. Define what it is that you want to be a part of and begin working toward it. Thirdly, apply discipline to your life. If you think, will, and act, then feelings will catch-up. The opposite is not true, however. Fourthly, ask God to give you the desire you need to pursue your goals. Paul wrote these words to the Philippians: “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Paul affirms for the believer that God is at work in our lives giving us the desire to live purposeful lives. It makes sense that the omnipotent God of creation, who fashioned the universe to run in intricate order and design, would want that for our lives.

Lastly, one of the greatest motivating forces on this earth is encouragement. One little word of encouragement can do wonders for a waning desire. I want you to know that God is on your side. Paul said so, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Roman 8:31). One of the most visible ways that God is for us is the way he constantly works out our mistakes and incorporates them into his plans. I love this verse: “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). This truth, when understood, will do more for your motivation than anything else in life. It means you can honestly trust God to take everything you do—your successes and your failures and use them in the construction of a life that honors him.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What We Really Need

Many of us go through our normal daily routine in a state of dehydration. We simply don’t drink enough liquids. The tricky part is that we may not feel thirsty even though our bodies want a drink. An overlooked sign of dehydration can be hunger. Our appetite increases, and instead of satisfying our true need with water, we treat the symptom with unnecessary food.

As Christians we often do the same thing. We feel some longing for satisfaction, and we aren’t sure how to satisfy it, so we look here and there. We finally try something but still feel the emptiness. All the while what our soul is longing for is God. God himself is what our soul longs for and what it needs. God told the Israelites that their deepest need was for him:

Deuteronomy 8:3 “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

We all have needs, and we expect God to provide for them, but so many of us have not realized that what we need more than God’s provision is God himself. God provided bread for his people so they would trust him for their daily needs. He sent the daily food so they would feed upon his word and place their total dependence upon him. This was their hardest lesson to learn, and it seems to be ours too.

Jesus recognized that the people who had eaten the loaves and fishes were back the next day, not to seek Jesus and feed on him, but for more food. They were there to satisfy the symptom but were completely ignorant of what they really needed.

John 6:26 “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.’”

What they really needed was Jesus, not the bread. Only Jesus could introduce them to God. Only Jesus could save them and give them eternal life.

John 6:32-33 “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’"

It’s my prayer that this week you will satisfy that need of your soul by spending time with God. May he supply your greatest need—your need of God himself.