However, despite the fact that I know running does me good and despite the fact that my experience tells me that running will make me feel better and make my life better I still often find it hard to motivate myself to get ready and go out to run. Sometimes the thought of having to go out and run makes me want to do nothing more than stay in bed or stay in front of the television.
In house groups we have been looking through John's gospel. I love John's gospel because John has the brilliant habit of explaining why he's writing what he's writing or including Jesus' reason for saying or doing what he is doing. So we see Jesus encouraging Christians to love and abide in him, to unite with each other and to listen to his words because by doing this they will experience joy, peace, love and fullness of life.
Yet again I not only know this to be true because Jesus says it's true but I know it to be true from experience. Although following Jesus can at times prove difficult I know that when I am abiding in him, when I am listening to him, when I am talking to him and loving his people I do experience that peace, joy and love that he offers. My life is fuller when I do what he says I should do than when I don't even though I have to wait until eternity for that absolutely full joy, peace, love and life!
However, still at times I don't do those things Jesus tells me to do even though I know they're to my benefit. Like going for a run, even though I know I'll feel better for doing them I still can't motivate myself to do it. I see many people like this in the world. I see many people in the church who have a similar problem. I see many people who are not enjoying the fullness of life Jesus offers because they're not doing the things Jesus told them to do in order to do so. The question is how do we ensure we do those things and enjoy the life Jesus offers?
Up until recently I have thought if I could just teach myself and others that the things Jesus tells us to do are actually for our benefit and make us feel good then we would suddenly start doing them. I thought that if I could just encourage others to taste and see that the LORD is good then I would see people becoming more and more committed to doing as Jesus commands and enjoying the life he offers. The problem is that it doesn't work. Like me and going for a run, sometimes knowing that it improves your quality of life is not enough to actually get you doing it. When we are fighting against our own laziness, our own selfishness and our own sinful nature no amount of knowledge and logic is capable of motivating us to live Jesus' way. It might motivate us temporarily. We might get 10 minutes or 10 days or even 10 weeks out of it but by itself it will not triumph. What we need is supernatural help.
So following Jesus might make you feel good but I'm going to stop relying on that to motivate me, and others, to live his way. No instead I'm going to pray that God would come into our hearts and motivate us because I'm fast learning that I'm incapable of motivating myself, never mind others, even when it's in my own best interest!