Motivation That Works

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By David Megill

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

This is an amazing verse.  it’s so amazing that many of us not only don’t quite believe it, but we are afraid to even contemplate believing it.  John actually encourages here a very audacious kind of expectation and presumption.  It may seem at first both dangerous and un-motivating, but for some reason John doesn’t think it’s easier.
Walk it through:  He begins by reveling in the truth that God calls us children of God.  This is awesome and yet seems fairly straightforward.  Our salvation has earned us the title “child of God.” While not too many people argue with this, I hear people mitigate it all the time.  We talk about being righteous, “in God’s eyes.”  and being “reckoned” a child of God.  We say these things as if they explain how such an obviously untrue thing can be said to be true.  We say them as if we know better.
God says I’m righteous, but I know myself and I’m not really.
John is prepared exactly for the way his readers will distance themselves from this truth and follows up this amazing statement with the clear declarative, “And that is what we are!”  Who sees reality more clearly, God or us? If God calls us Children of God, says John then such we are.
He then goes on to explain that even we are not clear on what we are.  Our true righteousness and inheritance has not yet been clearly revealed.  But, and this is the really amazing part, He says that when we see Christ we shall see that we are like Him.  The family resemblance will be clear and obvious.  He further stresses that this awareness will be based upon reality (“we shall see him as he is”) and not upon any kind of illusion or wishful thinking.
Imagine, the big surprise when you get to Heaven is not how far from Christ you will be, not how ashamed all your hidden sins revealed will make you, but that as you see clearly for the first time you will find that you are like Him!   This is the power of the Gospel, not only that Christ forgave us but is committed to remaking us, until we will be like Him.
But John doesn’t stop there.  Here’s the mind-blowing part.  All who have this hope in him purify themselves just as he is pure.  In other words, John is encouraging every believer to have a firm confidence in this future (hope in scripture is certain, not wishful.).  The more you believe in this truth, that your righteousness is a guarantee, that your Christlikeness is a settled issue, the more you will purify yourself.  A confident, firm hope in God’s ability to complete the work begun does not make you lazy, licentious, or worldly.  On the contrary it purifies you now.
Unfortunately as pastor, what I find is that people are afraid to believe this.  They fear that too much confidence will lead them to sin more.  They do not trust themselves, and worse they do not Trust Christ in them.
In a well intentioned, but extremely wrong headed attempt to motivate good behavior, pastors too often encourage us to be afraid, wary, expecting shame, at this glorious meeting with Christ in Heaven.
Guilt is an easy tool for a pastor, politician or parent who wants to motivate.  We’re already primed for it with skewed world views, the enemy offers no resistance to it and we’ve all learned to count on it to save us from our own frailty.   This is unfortunate, for guilt does not save us, Christ does.  John says the more we believe in our guiltlessness, the more Godly our life will be.
Holy ones, (for that is what the epistle writers constantly call us) dare to believe that when you see Christ you will see Him just as He is and you will not be ashamed for you will see that you are like Him!  Dare to believe in the Righteousness of Christ bought at the cross!  The Freedom you’ll find will be freedom to live as you’ve been created to, with dignity, righteousness, and impact!

 

David Megill was born in a little village called Rotifunk. This little village happened to be located on another continent (Africa) from the one in which he currently resides (North America). No credit should be awarded to him for this bold move, but rather to his parents who happened to be there when it happened. David was born the baby of the family, for which he should also not receive credit for all people are born babies. David did not know this when he was born but has since learned this after the birth of his own seven kids for which he should receive only partial credit, barely any really, but it is still true that all of them were born babies. This is a fact which David’s wife Ann finds rather convenient.

Through the next four decades David dabbled as a juggler, a magician, a musician, a locksmith, Danny Kaye/Dick Van Dyke wannabe, pizza maker, pizza eater, horse track gate opener (is there a name for that?), thermo-vaccum former operator, dragon tamer (with the business card to prove it!), and various less notable jobs before settling in mostly as a pastor, conference speaker and writer.

David hopes his books, in which he rarely speaks in third person will bring you encouragement, hope, laughter, joy and an understanding that you matter to God.

 ~~~

Sometimes it’s as if the life we’ve been seeking has managed to elude us. We wake up and ask ourselves, “Is this what life is all about?” Life has not turned out exactly the way we expected or hoped. We were promised certain things, by parents, culture, by church, and, as Christians believe, by Christ Himself. Were we lied to? Did we misunderstand the promises? Scripture actually tells us the truth: that life is hidden, not always obvious. This book shares one pastor’s story of walking through such disappointment and the principles of hope he learned. Along the way, we explore the nature of the Hidden life and where to find it, and embracing the Incredible GIFT of God. (Grace, Identity, Faith and Training) At least once in their life everyone thinks they are a failure. Through the counseling and conferences of the last 20 years, I have been able to see people who were stuck in their past, mired in their failures, or simply run out of steam, catch a fresh take on life and find confidence of the God they’d always been hoping existed; a God who truly loves them and needs no cajoling to bless. No one’s life will be “fixed” by reading this book, but this book will give people hope. Hope can transform burden to freedom, despair to faith. Such faith and hope can turn ones eyes back to a God who does save and redeem and to the revelation of the hidden life.

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  1. SHOW Your BOLDNESS « youngchristianlounge

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