When We Receive Unwanted Motivation

I’m a member of a gym where the coaches habitually communicate to us through the week to motivate, encourage, inform, or even lecture when members aren’t either working hard or just not showing up. This was a message recently posted for our group

It’s Monday freaks! Set goals this week and follow through. Figure out when you can get in to the gym and don’t make excuses for yourself. See you at 6:30.

Some are filled with more colorful language as you can imagine but the point is clear. The recipients of the message are members who pay to get in shape, learn healthy habits, and of course for the leadership to guide them through it. Because they are members of the gym they are told to act like they belong to a gym and show up. 

Imagine if the church did this? What if you received a text, email, or social media message that read:

Attendance is lacking! You guys aren’t going to improve if you don’t show up. Let’s stay diligent! See you Sunday AM at worship.

I think many Christians would be shocked some may even be offended that their pastor was taking this tone with them. But that’s what we need? Perhaps we need pastors who will resemble Drill Sergeants more than counselors or drinking buddies.

Consider the psalmist who says

Psa. 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,and why are you  in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,my salvation

Perhaps in a contemporary setting it would sound more like “Soul why are you sad? Why are you struggling? Look to God expectingly because I’m going to praise him again and again for being my salvation.”

Or even the writer to the Hebrews

Heb. 12:12 Therefore  lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, Heb. 12:13 and  make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint  but rather be healed.

These texts are imperatives. They give us commands in the context of the indicative. In other words we are told what to do in light of who we are. We are the redeemed of the Lord therefore the psalmist says “Don’t lose hope.” We are disciples of Christ therefore Hebrews tells us to live holy lives in the midst of various troubles. Spiritual war is a brutal reality that takes no prisoners. Sin seeks to kill and destroy thus Christians are called to fight. Not with weapons though, for this fight is not one that is won but by the power of the resurrection that dwells in us by Spirit wrought faith. Christians therefore need to stay engaged with other Christians, training, equipping, and making themselves ready for the battles they fight for their own souls or for others.