January 24, 2021
Staying motivated in the daily, atomic habits that lead to big change can feel daunting. The good news is, as followers of Jesus, we never have to rely on our own willpower or strength to carry out the good works He planned for us long ago. The act of justification and the process of sanctification are both works of grace in our lives. Stay motivated for the journey by seeing each day as a gift, staying committed to intentional discipleship, and taking time to celebrate all the ways God has worked in your life.
Ryan Bramlett • Atomic Habits • Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Series: Atomic Habits
Message: Little By Little
Pastor: Ryan Bramlett
2 Thessalonians 1:11
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January 24, 2021 NotesAtomic Habits | Little By LittleRyan Bramlett | Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Thessalonians 1:11Traders Point, how are we doing? It’s so good to be with you, everyone here in the room, everyone at the campuses, everyone watching online. We’re so glad you are spending part of your weekend with us. Before we get rolling, I just want to go ahead and already invite you back to next weekend. Next weekend we’re kicking off a brand new series of messages titled Let’s Talk About It. What we’re going to be doing in this series is grabbing all the things we’re wrestling with right now—like fear, anger. Let’s talk about it. Addiction, depression, anxiety, let’s talk about it. Let’s get to the hope and the help that can only be found in Jesus. I believe this will be a great series to invite a friend to, and it will create a lot of conversations that will move us closer to Jesus. As far as today goes, we are finishing up our series Atomic Habits. I’ve been loving this series. You guys been making new habits and breaking up with old habits? Huh? Me too. I had two. I wanted to start working out, and I wanted to stop biting my fingernails. I want you to know it’s going great with both of those. I will say my fingernails are growing a little bit faster than my biceps, but that’s okay. Lord willing both will grow, and we’re going to be in good shape moving forward. But I think it’s a great series to kick things off with because, is he going to say this? Sure. Yeah, duh, 2020 was hard. And there are no signs that 2021 is necessarily going to be easier. I’ve heard it said that it’s actually 2020.1. Like the software just got an upgrade and it’s going to be a little bit harder on this side of things. But what we’ve said as a church is we want to be prepared. We want to be ready. We want to do everything we can to grow and adapt. I love the way Jackie Hill Perry said it, “Even if next year is just like this year, I won’t be. Even if 2021 doesn’t change, I will.” Anyone on that same vibe right now? Come what may, we’re going to change no matter what we face. I’m with that. But maybe you’re like me as well, and it’s the end of January and you already have some doubts in the back of your mind. Doubts about yourself. Like you’re going strong now, where are you going to be at a month from now? What are those fingernails going to look like come June? What are your workouts going to look like in July? What’s that scale going to look like? What’s that addiction going to look like? And there are these doubts that come in. Are we going to be calling those habits we broke up with by Valentine’s Day? That’s why I think that we’re all facing this. The question we want to look at today to wrap this thing up is this: How do we stay motivated? How do we not just make this a short-term thing that just begins and has an end date? How do we join in on this lifelong process of staying motivated, of staying disciplined, and moving further and further into health? And I think the way we approached this series in general has helped with motivation. Usually, if you think about resolutions, goals, or habits, this is usually the way we work things. We create a goal or a resolution. We decide what are the actions we need to accomplish the goal. And then, we get to how it’s going to change us. But what happens under this system is when the goal is hit, the motivation ends. When the race ends, I’m not motivated to run anymore. When the scale hits that magical number, I’m not motivated anymore. But what we’ve done in this series, we’ve said, “Let’s flip this. Let’s focus on who we are and who we’re becoming and let that dictate our actions. That will lead us to some goals that we can create.” If we start here, if we start with ourselves and our possibilities, the motivation is endless. Because of who we are in Jesus. But that, in itself, is this blessing we have which is our identity, our place with God. I think it is also tied to our greatest burden, our greatest hurdle we have to address and face if we want to stay motivated. I just want to kick things off in Ephesians 2 to look at our identity. Like I said, it’s wrapped up with something we’re going to have to face head on to stay motivated. Look at what Ephesians 2:8 says: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” So, I just want to kick things off today by answering this question. Who are we? I want you to really hear this. Because you can come in here with all kinds of labels, all kinds of names. But what this says is that because of God, because of our faith in him, we are God’s masterpiece. Who you are is a loved child of God. You are chosen, you are adopted, you are worth dying for. That is who you are. Does anybody know your identity this morning? That is who you are. And in that he kind of talks about that tension I mentioned earlier. It’s a tension we face in every area of our lives, but we see it with our faith more than anything else. Did you catch it? He says that you were saved by grace. This is not something that you did, so you can’t boast about it. And what we call this is: Justification Meaning we are justified by the saving work of Jesus on a cross. It’s not what we did, it’s not what we will do, it’s what was done. And when we believed, we were saved. Here’s what this looks like. You have God, who is righteous, God alone who is right in all things, who is holy, who is perfect. Humanity, me and you, we’re sinners. Romans says that all of have fallen short of the glory of God. So, we are separated. But it says in a moment, because of our faith, God moves us. He moves us to an undeserved spot of privilege, where he makes us right. Not anything we do, but he makes us right. Here is the tension. We’re already been brought from sin to righteousness. We’ve already been given this incredible gift through grace—salvation. What is it that keeps us motivated? What is it that keeps us going? And I’m telling you, you can tell Paul addresses some pretty wild claims. Some people get this and are like, “We’re saved by Jesus through grace by faith. Let’s live however we want to live. Let’s sin and try to put God’s grace to the test.” And Paul’s like, “You all are wild. You all are crazy. You don’t get it, because God has rescued you, you have died to this. It is no longer you who live, but it is Jesus who lives in you. You can’t go back to the way things once were. You can’t go back to the way you used to live, because God has something much more important in his plan for you.” And this tension, I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Bible, but this is it over and over and over again. The problem is we serve a very gracious God. What a problem, right? But if you look through this whole book, it’s God placing people where they didn’t deserve to be. Adam and Eve, placed in paradise, not because they earned it. They were born there. You look at Israel, the whole group, God is bringing them to a place, a land of milk and honey, because he loves them. Because he wants them to be his people. You and me, we are saved by grace and given this place, a position where we are justified. And most of us, our story, the story of humanity, is God placing us in positions and us losing our motivation. Us coming to God, and then slowly moving away. Us coming to God, and then the waves of culture pushing us back to the shore and pushing us to live the way we once lived. And God, with his hands open over and over again, is saying, “You can still come back.” Because the truth is, we were justified. We were saved from a one-way course to hell. Saved for an eternity with God. But we weren’t just saved from something, we were saved for something. Did you see the last line after he calls us his masterpiece? He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. You see, there is another line running in a diagonal from sin to righteousness. It’s not just the justification line where God makes us, right? There is this sanctification line. There is this line where God says, “Yes, I’m going to save you and I’m going to give you my Spirit to empower you and to strengthen you. Little by little, you are going to become like me.”That’s what sanctification means. It’s the lifelong process of becoming more and more like Jesus by the power of his Spirit. It’s saying that once you came to righteousness you were crucified. You shared in a death like his. Look at the way Galatians says it: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” My old self has been crucified and continues to be crucified over and over again—dying to ourselves. The life of following Jesus is the life of 1,000 deaths, but 1,001 resurrections. It’s the life of waking up every single day and saying, “I’m going to die to myself so that I can have more of you. I’m going to die to my wants God, so you will give me yours. I’m going to die to my desires, God, so that you will give me yours.” Then this is what our life looks like. Over and over again, growing a little bit, dying to ourselves, being resurrected again, dying to ourselves over and over again. Becoming more and more like Jesus until the day when we die and we move from this earth to eternity with God forever. And we get to see him face to face. But while we’re here, we have work to do. We are not just saved from something, we are saved for something. And God has placed this on all of us. All of us have a role in this. This is God’s will for our lives, to be sanctified, to become more like he is, to act more and more with his Spirit, and less of our own. But how? How? You know, that motivation is here within justification and sanctification. That tension. But it’s also in our marriages. It’s also in our work. It’s in every aspect of our lives. Where we get something really good, but then we lose motivation to keep coming, to keep going. What is that? What’s the ultimate motivation killer that we need to address so that we can keep going? Keep pushing on, little by little. I’m telling you, in Atomic Habits, James Clear said something that at first was pretty profound. It took me back a second and it hit a little too close to home. When he talks about motivation, look at what he says, “The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.” I’m telling you. When I read that one, it hurt. I read that one and I had to take a step back. Have you ever read something and not wanted it to be true so bad? You know that MJ Meme. I took that personally. My greatest failures, my greatest stop, was not because I failed, it was because I got bored. Think back to your life. When I think back to mine, the reason I stopped doing a lot of things wasn’t because I tapped out. It’s because I walked away. It’s because I got bored. Whew. I started thinking about that, and he actually does a great job of kind of what it looks like to manage that tension so we don’t live a life of boredom and just fade away into nothingness. How do we stay motivated? He calls it this: The Goldilocks Rule Here’s what that looks like. If you look at a chart that is L shaped, you’ll see on the side going up is our motivation levels. On the lower side you have your difficulty level separated by a bell curve. What he says is a lot of us are on one of the sides of the bell curve. And this is why we lose our motivation. On one side it’s too boring, it’s not fun, it’s not challenging. We don’t see anything happening, so we walk away. Or, on the other side, it’s too hard. It’s immediate failure over and over again. And immediately our brains are like, “It’s not fun anymore. I don’t want to do that. It’s not worth it.” I think this is usually where we start: Honeymoon PhaseYou all know what I’m talking about within marriage, but I think there is a honeymoon phase in almost everything we do. You get married, you’re on the honeymoon. And that extends. I’m not going to say it’s your best self. It’s a new self. It’s not even who you really are. You’re just pretending. You’re just thinking about who is the best person you can create in your mind, and you’re doing all those things. You’re texting nonstop, calling. “Hey, how’s it going? Are you doing alright?”“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”“Are you sure?”“Yes.”“Do your feet hurt?”“No, why?” “Babe, because you’ve been running through my mind all day. I can’t wait to get home to see you.” At home, cooking dinner and doing dishes. “Babe, I didn’t know you did dishes.” “I do dishes all the time. I love dishes,” putting Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher, closing that thing up. If you’re not laughing, it’s because you don’t know. You definitely shouldn’t be doing that. But the honeymoon phase. At work, you get your job right out of college. You’re going in first day buttoned up. You’re there first. You’re the one turning on the lights. You’re there every day waiting for the boss to come in so he can see you just sitting there drinking your coffee. “Hey Jim, yeah I’m here. Early bird gets the worm, and I love worms. You know what I mean? See you at lunch? Coffee on me, Jim.” Over the top—coming in early, staying late, in the honeymoon phase. The honeymoon phase with our faith. We come to believe we have this moment. We see how much God loves us. Off to the races. We are reading nonstop, just falling asleep with the Bible on our faces. Waking up praying, going to work telling everybody everywhere about who Jesus is and all he has done. Going home changing your whole family structure. “Guys, from here on out, this is Little House on the Prairie,” right? Shut it down. We’ve got one book, one book only. No screens, no nothing.” It’s the honeymoon phase. What happens after that? We can’t sustain it, so we swing. And we swing back all the way over here to boredom, which is even more of a motivation killer than failure. This is the greatest threat. Think about your marriage. I’ve met with a lot of couples and had a lot of conversations, and it’s usually this, “It’s not that I feel like we failed, it’s I’m bored.” Here’s what it sounds like. “I feel like we’re in a rut. Nothing is changing. You don’t even talk about the things that bother you anymore. It’s not even worth it.” You’re bored. When it comes to work, you’re not showing up early anymore. You figured it out down to a formula when you need to leave your house so that you can sit down at your cubicle as 9:00 hits. You go into autopilot. And then after a year or two you say, “I’m just not being challenged,” and then you look for a new job thinking that will be the thing that challenges you. And with your faith, what does it look like to be bored? Maybe you stop going to church as much as you used to. You stop reading as much as you used to. You stop praying as much as you used to. You stop taking it all as seriously as you used to. Maybe you go once, or watch once a month or so, to fulfill some kind of quota in your mind to keep the guilt off a little bit. You’re bored. So, with all of that going on. How do we do it? HOW DO WE STAY MOTIVATED? Because we know we don’t want to have a boring faith. And we also know we don’t want to just wake up every single day failing. So, what do we do? He offers this idea that is actually this Goldilocks area here. You guys all know Goldy, not too hot, not too cold, just right. What he talks about is when we’re doing something, to keep our motivation, it needs to be a little bit harder. We need to be challenging ourselves day by day. We win some, but then we wake up wanting it over and over again. Then we wake up every day wanting it, some days we make it and some days we don’t. We don’t just want it to be ultimate failure over and over again. We want to live right in the bell-shaped area where we are being challenged and we grow little by little. That’s how we hold onto our motivation. And I just want to give us, for the rest of our time together today, three practical things that we can all do this week to hold onto our motivation, to continue growing, to keep moving so this isn’t just something we used to do, but that we stay committed and keep moving in the same direction. The first thing is this. How do we stay motivated? Make your days BIGGER Hear me. Not make your days fuller. I’m not saying you should add anything to your schedule. That’s another sermon. You probably need to be taking some stuff off. Don’t add more things, but treat your days bigger than what they currently are. Most days are disrespected. The most disrespected day of the week is easily Monday. Nobody looks forward to Monday. Nobody takes advantage of Monday. Monday is spent complaining either about how short the weekend was, or how you wish it was still the weekend. Monday is spent looking forward to hump day, Wednesday baby. Every single day, to wake up with this idea of no, no, no today is the day that matters. Today is the day that is filled with opportunity. Today is the day I can take advantage of. I just need a perspective shift. There is a story in the book, Atomic Habits, where they are interviewing a guy in a wheelchair. They said, “Can you tell us how tough it is? How limited you are by your wheelchair?” He’s like, “Limited? By the wheelchair? No, no you’re confused. The wheelchair is what allows me to leave. That’s what allows me to go to work. This isn’t limiting me. This is what is allowing me to do all the things I do. I couldn’t do it without this chair.” I was thinking, what if we approached every day like that? Work isn’t just someplace we go to get through the week or to get a paycheck. But because of this job, these are my opportunities. I don’t just go to school to get to high school to get to college to be done with it. What if when I got to school that is my opportunity to make the most of it? To live a life for God. I’m not limited by this. These are my opportunities I get to step into every single day. Because it’s in the little moments, not the biggest moments in your life, that impact you in the biggest ways. Chances are they weren’t marked on a calendar. The memories you circle back to. I was reminded about that this week. A few people on the team and I were talking about basketball, growing up playing. And I spent my whole life playing. I grew up in Indiana. What else are you going to do? And I had some amazing experiences, got to meet a lot of really cool people. It was amazing. As we were talking about our favorite moments, the things we look back on and remember, do you know what came to my mind? It wasn’t a tournament. It wasn’t a game. It wasn’t a winning shot. Growing up, my dad used to work at a warehouse. And, some nights after work he would come back and get me and take me to the warehouse. He had built a basketball goal there. It was just a backboard and a rim. He would put it on a forklift and raise it up to 10 feet, and he would rebound for me. Why did he do that? Did he do it because he was thinking, “This is the moment. He is going to look back on this. This is what is going to show him how to be a father, how to be disciplined?” Now I know how tired you are on Friday nights, and to do that was crazy. No. He did it because he was in my life, because he was just trying to do one thing and one thing only to love me and to help me. Those are the things that stick out. My faith—I didn’t come to Jesus at a conference, a big event, or even on a Sunday. It happened in a car during a conversation. That is what brought me to this spot of believing where I was and what God had done for me. It’s the little moments that a lot of times we look past. Because we wait—wait for the days that matter, wait for the things that really matter. When it’s today that matters. It’s tomorrow that matters. It’s every single day. What I want to do is just give us a prayer. It comes from 2 Thessalonians. It’s a recycled prayer. Paul prayed it first, but recycling is in now so I figure we can use this one too. “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” Here is the prayer:God, give me the power to accomplish all the good things my faith prompts me to do. I just want you to either take a picture of that, or write it down, and then every day start with that prayer and see if it doesn’t immediately make your days bigger, more impactful, and more urgent. God, give me the power to accomplish all the good things my faith prompts me to do. Have you ever been prompted by your faith? It is an unbelievable experience. To believe that the Spirit of God is working with you in such a way, that God is walking with you, and cuing you up. Nudging you and saying, “Hey, you need to do this. Go here. Say this.” And we get the choice to either act on that prompting or take a step back. I’m telling you, what kills motivation is when we quench the Spirit of God. When those nudges come, when those pushes come, when we immediately shift back to boredom and say, “This is not a good time. I really just don’t want to.” But that is where God works and how we stay motivated, because we see the power of God at work. That’s the first thing. Make your days bigger. The second thing: Don’t miss twice Here’s what I mean. There was a church that did a study a little while back. What they did was looked at everyone who had been coming for a period of time, and then they looked at who had stopped coming in the past six months. And what they did is they called every person, one by one, and asked them a simple question. “Hey, could you tell me? We noticed you used to come, and then you stopped coming. Is it something we did? Something we said? Did you move?”Do you know what the number on response was? “We just got busy. You know, our schedules filled up. The kids had a thing. My work got a little bit out of my schedule.” That’s what happens. A lot of times we don’t make a conscious decision to stop doing something. We just miss once. Then we miss twice. And then it stops being something we do. It slowly kind of fades off into the background. I think a lot of times the lie we tell ourselves is, “Well, I’m not as passionate. I don’t have the same feelings I did before. I think I, I don’t know, maybe if I felt more I would go more.” We think that passion is the answer to boredom, but it’s not. I used to have a mentor and he would say, “Commitment breeds passion.” It’s not the other way around. Those who are successful, those who stay motivated, those are the ones who are willing to show up and do what it takes even when they don’t feel like it.The answer to spiritual boredom is intentional discipleship. It’s not a moment. It’s intentionally taking steps closer and closer to God. It’s being intentional with our lives, intentional with our growth. That’s why it’s a value of our church—intentional discipleship. What we say is we want to be intentional with engaging with God’s Word, with prayer, and in relationships. We want to be surrounded by people who are stirring us along, spurring us along to do more and more to follow Jesus so that we can do those good works he has planned for us. We don’t want to just drift back and to wait for a feeling, but we want to say we want to do the hard stuff. We’re willing to commit to it right here, right now. Because I can tell you, I have no crystal ball up here, but there will be a day this week where you don’t feel like it. There will be a day when you wake up and the alarm hits, and you don’t want to move. You don’t want to go to the gym. You don’t want to read your Bible. You don’t want to go to group. But it’s little by little. Saying, “I’m not going to miss twice.” If you miss the gym today, go tomorrow. If you missed your group last week, make sure you don’t miss it this week, because in a moment, little by little, we can begin to fade away and lose our motivation. So, that’s the second thing. The third thing: Reflect & Review You see, a lot of times our life goes so fast and we have horrible memories. We don’t spend the time to look at how far we’ve come, and how much has changed in such a short amount of time. Because, remember, it’s little by little. It’s not overnight. There are no get-rich-quick schemes. It’s little by little. And if we don’t have a system to reflect and review, we create a false narrative in our head. We begin to create something that’s not true at all. We begin to believe these lies from the devil. The lies of the devil always sound the same. You still have so far to go. You will never get there. You will never change. You will be in a rut for the rest of your life. The truth of God? The truth of God starts with where can’t you go? I did a miracle getting you from sin to righteousness. I brought you from your death in your sin to heaven. I’ve already done so much within you. Don’t look at how far you have to go, look at how far I’ve brought you. Remember where you used to be? Remember how you used to be? And then remember how I showed up time and time again? Remember how I promised you my Spirit? What is in in your mind that would ever make you think I would stop being with you now? No, we don’t want to just focus on how far we need to go, we need to stop, reflect, and celebrate how far God has brought us. Is there anyone here today in this moment, that you’re thinking about it and you’re being reminded about how far God has brought you? We need a system to reflect and to review. This really comes to life for me in my personal life. I’m married. I’ll be married 10 years in June. I feel like I’m finally hitting a number with some substance. I’ve got tenure in the marriage game. But we have three kids and they’re eight, six, and four. And I’m with these kids all the time, all the time. They are here right now. We are always together, you know what I mean? They have nowhere else to go. I see them every day. What can happen is I miss their growth because I’m so close to it. I don’t get to see the little changes little by little. But a few years ago, my wife and I started doing something where we put together these photo albums by year. So, we would look at January through December and pull out all the pictures and all the videos and lay them out. What you miss, day by day, you are able to sit and see, “Oh my gosh, they have changed. Look how little they were in January and how big they are now. Look how they used to talk. Look at their vocabulary now.” All of this, but it’s missed if we don’t take time to reflect and review. I just want to give us something to reflect and review every day this week. Because we’re going to be praying, help me to do what my faith prompts me to do. So, here: Reflect & Review: What did my faith prompt me to do?Did I do it? Did I not? Why? This cannot lead us to condemnation. This cannot lead us to guilt. This leads us to being able to stop to reflect and review, it only leads us to grace. Did I do what my faith prompted me to do? Yes. God, thank you for giving me the strength to do what only you can do. Did I do what my faith prompted me to do? No. God, give me the courage next time, because I’m not going to miss twice. Give me the courage I need to do what my faith prompts me to do. I believe if we can do those three things: approach every day as if it is bigger than it really is, not lessening it; if we can not miss twice; and then have a system to reflect and review, I believe we can stay motivated in this season and in the seasons to come. But I just want to ask you, right now. Just in an honest way. You don’t have to raise your hands. But I just want to ask you where you are. Do you have a boring faith?When we were talking about the faith, when we were talking about not changing and not growing. On the inside of you, is that where you relate? “That’s kind of my life. I’ve had the same faith for a long time. I do the same thing all the time. And I haven’t seen anything. I haven’t put myself in a place for God to use me or to change me. I’m getting really comfortable. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived here in that tension.” Do you have a boring faith? Can I just say that following Jesus is everything but boring? Following Jesus is not just a habit we pick up on the side. It is a horrible hobby. Following Jesus is offering everything you have to a God who gave his own life for yours. And, through that response, now our whole lives are living sacrifices. We are entrusted with the very Spirit of God loving us, trusting us. Having the strength to die to ourselves every day, but having the faith to know that with every death comes a resurrection. That God’s grace and mercy is new every single morning, and I’m going to wake up and take advantage of every single one of them. Maybe you’re here today, and you grew up in the church. And you would say it was like this, boredom. That you grew up with a faith that was around you, and you were circled by it. But it didn’t change anything. You went to church every Sunday, but you never saw it show up in people’s lives. So, you began to think this really doesn’t matter. There is no point to it, so you walked away. Or maybe you came from the other side, and you grew up in a church where all you experienced was failure. You could never do enough. You could never show up enough. You could never get it right enough. And so, finally you got tired of failing and eventually you walked away. Can I just say that there is a better way? What Jesus offers through the gospel is not boredom and it’s not failure. It is being saved by grace. To know that we are sinners, fallen short. We have no way to save ourselves. But there is a good God who would come for us, who would rescue us, who would take a stand in the gap and fill it with a cross and go to it and die for me and for you. To remove all of this space between sin and righteousness, to take all the sin that separated us and nail it to the cross so that we could be made new. In the depths of us, the holes that we feel, the lack of fulfillment, he would say, “I will fill every piece of that. Nothing else can.” And God wants to. And if you want to respond to that, to that gospel, we just want you to know we are here for you. You can always text JESUS to 87221 and someone from our team will follow up with you. For all of us, we need to stay motivated. Because the stakes are so high, and we should be the most motivated people on the planet. Think about it. Think of the benefits that we get. Think of the starting spot that we get. Because of just believing in Jesus and his finished work, we are made right. We are given the Spirit of God. Who we are, our identity, what people spend a lifetime searching for, we know who we are and whose we are. We wake up every day knowing the world can’t steel it. As hard as they try, the names, the titles, nothing. If it’s not son or daughter of God, I’m not answering to it. That’s who we are. How do we act? What motivates us to act? Look at Galatians 5:6: “What is important is faith expressing itself in love.” That’s what’s most important. When we’ve been saved, those good works they show up through love. When pushed, what’s the most important thing? Jesus said, “Love God with everything you’ve got, and love people.” That’s what it’s all about—us finding ways, taking advantage, making our days bigger than what they are. We’re not limited by our days. We’re not limited by our schedules. We’re not limited by anything that love can’t overcome. There’s nothing that can steal us away. There is nothing that can stop us from expressing our faith through love. And our goal? What’s our goal? Matthew 28 is the Great Commission that Jesus would leave us with. That we are to go and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And don’t just stop there. “No, go back with them and teach them to obey everything I’ve taught you. Teach them to obey this new way of life. Teach them this grace, teach them this love, and walk with the little by little.” That’s what we get called to do. There’s no end to that motivation, because there’s no end to us growing in the likeness of God. There’s no end to bringing God’s Kingdom from heaven to earth. There’s no end to it. There’s no end to the number of disciples we can reach with the love of God. We will not stop. We will press on little by little. What I want to ask you to do, right now everywhere, if you would, stand with me. I’m going to pray. I’m going to pray the prayer we’re going to be praying every day this week. If you join with us. This is for everyone standing with us, online and in living rooms right now. Make this prayer with us. We will go into this together. So, we keep on praying, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. God, we come to you in the middle of it. God, we believe in you. We believe in a God who can do anything, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, a God who moves heaven and earth, a God who wants a relationship with us. God, right now we just pray for your power—God, your power through your Spirit to do what you’ve called us to do. Allow us to receive the prompts with a smile on our face, with eagerness, motivation, even when we have to ask twice. “God, are you sure that’s what you want me to do? Are you sure that’s what you want me to say? Are you sure that’s where you want me to go?” And if the answer is yes, let it be yes for our lives. And God, let us go. And let us have faith to know that every time we die of something we’re going to be resurrected in a new life, a better life, and more fulfilled, not less. God, allow us to trust you with everything. God, allow us to live in that tension. There is nothing boring about following you. So, God, we pray right now through your Spirit that you would act, that you would move us, that you would engage us, and we would have the faith little by little to chase after you. God, we pray now for everything else to fade away. God, we offer our hearts to you. Do what you want. Have your way, God. Lead us to where you want us to go. We trust you. It’s in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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