We all want to grow in godliness, but we often get discouraged. We have struggled with fear for years, but it isn’t getting better. We decide to be patient with those around us, but within 24 hours lapse back into the old impatient behaviors.

So we re-dedicate ourself. We do well for a week or two and then fall off the wagon. “How can I change?” the heart cries. How can I grow in godliness? Into what socket can I plug for the spiritual power I so desperately need?

Maybe the fear of God is the key? Will an accountability partner solve my problems? I know. The issue is faith. If I could just get more faith. How about scripture memorization? Maybe that is the missing ingredient?

Although each of these tools are helpful, they are not the key to spiritual growth. There use might indicate that I have found the key, but they are not themselves the spiritual key.

The key is simple. It is motivation. The truth is, no one is undisciplined, We don’t lack discipline. We lack motivation. Think about it. Why do diets fail? Diets take will power. As long as the image of a sleek and trim body grips me I will discipline my eating. However, if you are like most, it matters for a few days and then fades.

Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer has won more medals than anyone in Olympic history. This required incredible self-discipline. It meant hours of grueling self-discipline in the pool. How did he do this? He was motivated. Amongst other things, olympic medals and fame motivated him. But the important point is this: The motivation produced the discipline, not the other way around.

It works the same way for the spiritual athlete. Self discipline is a byproduct of motivation. Self discipline is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23). Christians need power to discipline their speech, their use of time, and how they spend their money. How does the Holy Spirit help us do this? He motivates us. That is his job. The Holy Spirit provides the motivation, and the motivation produces the self control.

In other words, motivation is the key to sanctification. To find out more tune in to part two of this series––coming soon.