A Bigger Box
Basketball coaching legend John Wooden once said, "You must be interested in find the best way, not in having your own way."
In our self-serving, narcissistic, look-out-for-number-one culture, Wooden's advice sounds like quaint musings of an out-of-touch codger. The truth is, he was right (and his coaching record suggests he was onto something).
For too many people, motivation is about finding a way get their way. They are highly motivated when it serves their purposes. They are much more resistant if they don't get immediate self-gratification.
Wooden was right, though. The greatest form of motivation comes when we find some cause greater than self and outside of self. If the locus of your motivational power is something external, you always have an objective, unchanging and measurable standard to guide you. Internal measuring sticks tend to waver according to mood, health, and other intangible factors.
For Christians, our external motivators include the glory of God, the will of God, and the purposes of God. But the only way these can effectively prompt us is when self — the great hindrance — is put aside. It's no wonder that Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it" (Luke 9.23-24). His point was simple — the biggest hindrance in serving God is SELF. Get rid of self (ego, self-interest, self-gratification, look-out-for-number-one), and you "save your life".
People who are wrapped up in themselves make for very small packages. May I suggest that you start looking for a bigger box?