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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stay motivated

After sitting in lectures and classes for a week, not exercising as regularly and eating fast food, I picked up a pound and a half and maybe a bit of muscular atrophy.  So, the weekend began the process of getting back into the exercise routine.  Today was running day and I found myself a little bit slower than usual.  The last quarter mile was the uphill trek to my house.  I wanted to "finish strong like a runner," so I sped up as I attacked the hill.  With Bruce & Ricky coming through my earphones, I heard the muffled sounds of a dog barking.  About a second later, I saw the grey and white speckled creature at my calves.  Sheer adrenaline and the apprehension about canine confrontation helped me finish stronger than anticipated.  Darting in and out of the street, on and off the sidewalk and repeatedly yelling "Hey!", I must have looked like I was evading a crocodile or a swarm of yellow jackets and sounded like a lunatic.  Perhaps an owner called him back, but I finished my run achilles intact.  My resting heart rate was more elevated than usual, and despite being perturbed with the owner it was all OK.  Two minutes earlier I thought that I was pushing myself to the limit.
 
When motivation was inserted, I found out I was wrong.
We often need motivation when it seems we cannot continue or if we think we are slipping.  The writer of Hebrews addressed Christians who were struggling with their motivation.  They were grappling with slipping and negligence (cf. 2:1ff).  Hardness of heart and unbelief were creeping into their lives (3:7ff).  They had become dull of hearing (5:11ff).  It was affecting their attendance (10:25) and impacting their service and faithfulness (ch. 13).  They needed motivation.

What do we do when we need motivation?  The answer, according to this inspired writer, was to intensify the focus on Jesus.  Isn't that still the need of the hour?  When I am unmotivated in my Christian life, I need to look unto Jesus (2:9; 12:1ff).  He serves me and expects me to serve Him.  He saved me and will some day judge me.  Masterfully, the writer weaves from warning to encouragement with the intention of motivating his hearers to finish strong (cf. 12:1-2).  How's your motivation?
 
-- Neal Pollard

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