Sun, Jul 15, 2001
29 - Motivation: Spiritual Growth Dynamics
1 John 2:13 by Robert Dean
Series:1st John (2000)
Duration:59 mins 55 secs
Motivation; Spiritual Growth Dynamics: 1 John 2:13
1 John 2:13 NASB "I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father."
The doctrine of motivation
- Motivation comes from a Latin word which means to move, it relates to that which moves us or provides the basis of reason for movement in any direction; that which moves us to do something. Motivation can come from any number of sources. We can be motivated emotionally; we are motivated for physical reasons. Our motivation can be well thought and reasoned understanding of something, based on knowledge. As we think about the Scriptures and understand exactly what God expects and has instructed us, on the basis of that new thinking, the renovation of the thought in our souls, then we will move in a particular direction. Too often we are motivated by the sin nature. The sin nature at its very core is driven by a lust pattern. The lust pattern is the basic motivation of the sin nature and there are categories of lust pattern. The lust patterns are what move us when we are operating under the control of the sin nature. In contrast, what we are told in Scripture is that motivation in the Christian life should come from thinking, from thinking doctrine that is resident in our soul and has renovated the thought in our soul so that we are thinking God's thoughts after Him.
- In the spiritual life motivation comes either from doctrine in the soul under the filling of the Holy Spirit or it comes from the sin nature and the cosmic system; one or the other, it is not both.
- The starting point for the believer is grace. Grace is our motivation. Grace is understanding the reality and significance of forgiveness: forgiveness of sin at the cross and forgiveness of sin in our post-salvation spiritual life. Ephesians chapter one tells us: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." Then Ephesians 4:32 NASB "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." The model is always what Christ did on the cross. It drives our attention to the work of Christ on the cross. That is to motivate us and shape how we forgive one another, how we love one another. All of that comes from understanding the dynamics of the cross. When the cross is not taught, when the plan of salvation is not taught, people don't have a clue about grace, they can't be motivated from the right motivation, and everything ends up being entertainment and being emotional.
The doctrine of adversity and stress
- There are two kinds of pressures in life. The first is adversity which is defined as the inevitable outside daily pressures of life that attack and seek to penetrate the soul. Adversity can come in two categories: prosperity and suffering. On the other hand we have stress. Stress is our reaction, the internal response to outside pressure. Adversity is the inevitable outside pressure; stress is the optional inside pressure of the soul caused by reaction to the external pressures of adversity. When the believer who is negative to doctrine allows adversity to penetrate his stream of consciousness, to penetrate his soul, then it is either converted into arrogance or emotional sins.
- Adversity as the outside pressure on the soul has two categories. The first is suffering from the law of volitional responsibility or divine discipline. Galatians 6:7 NASB "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." God often allows certain negative consequences to come into play as a result of bad decisions that we make. The second category is suffering for blessing, and that accelerates spiritual growth. God brings suffering into our lives to give us an opportunity to apply the doctrine that we have learned so that we can grow. That is what James is pointing out in James 1:2. As we go through the test we develop perseverance and endurance and applying doctrine and the result is that we gradually grow, increment by increment.
- Adversity is what the external circumstances of life do to us and stress is what we do to ourselves.
- Adversity, then, is inevitable. We all go through various forms of adversity and we may not be able to tell when another person does because they have it together. Often we never know the kinds of adversity that other people have gone through in their life or may be going through now. They keep it quiet, they focus on the Lord, and they apply doctrine. Often the maturing believer who is applying doctrine is set up as a target by immature believers who say: Well you really don't know what I'm going through.
- Stress in the soul always results in sin nature control because we are trying to handle life's problems from our own resources, we are not handling them on the basis of the spiritual assets that God has given us. Stress in the soul, if left unchecked through confession of sin and application of doctrine, causes the believer to reverse his spiritual growth and begin to slide backward in his spiritual life and eventually become a failure in the spiritual life. Ongoing stress handled through sin produces instability and produces Christians that can, even at the extreme form, imitate demon possession, and it is all the result of stress in the soul.
- Stress perpetuated in the soul means failure to glorify God and therefore spiritual failure, and at the judgment seat of Christ everything is burned up, rewards are lost and taken away, and they enter into heaven, yet as through fire. Stress means that we fail to achieve God's purpose in our life as believes.
- The only solution is the divine solution, and the human solution is no solution. All the systems that man comes up with to handle life's problems aren't a solution.
- It is this outside pressure from adversity and prosperity that provides the believer with the opportunity to grow and to apply doctrine. It is a test. A test is defined as any situation that calls for the application of doctrine. It is the opportunity to apply doctrine or to rely on our own resources, to depend on divine viewpoint or human viewpoint motivation. After salvation God's plan is to take us to spiritual maturity. He is going to test us in small ways and large ways. These are called tests of faith, tests of doctrine that we have learned and have in our soul. It gives us an opportunity to apply doctrine. At that point the issue is volition: are we going to apply doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit and trust God, or are we going to try to rely on our own resources which means sin nature control. If we go forward in the spiritual life under the filling of the Holy Spirit by applying doctrine then it produces divine good. We begin to experience the abundant life and our life becomes evidenced or testimony in the angelic conflict to the grace of God. It produces steadfast endurance and that leads to maturity, according to James 1:2-4. On the other hand, when we are in negative volition that produces sin, human good and temporal or carnal death—the faith that doesn't produce is a dead faith. It leads to weakness and instability. That then in turn leads to sustained carnality, spiritual regression, and a hardened heart, and before long we are no longer interested in doctrine.