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Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Motivate Change

If change is what motivates change, then how do you set up the cycle? All changes start with an awareness of the need to change. You know you need to stop smoking. You know you need to lose weight. You know you need to get out of debt. You know you need to . . .

But just knowing that you need to change isn't enough. Nearly everyone is aware of some change that they need to make, but there's no motivation to actually do it. It might be because the change seems too big or difficult. The changes necessary might affect other things that are hard to give up.

If you're committed to the Disciple Cycle, though, change isn't something you can choose if it's convenient. Change is the heart of being a disciple of Jesus. If you've become convinced that Jesus has taught something, and you want to follow Jesus, then you need to do it. Not out of guilt or fear, but as a way to be more like him.

Ephesians 2:10 says (in my paraphrase) that we are all glorious masterpieces, skillfully crafted by God, in Jesus, to do the good deeds which he made us to do.

You are a work of art, but your purpose isn't to sit on a shelf or hang on a wall. You were created with a purpose. If a Stradivarius violin isn't played, then the true artistry is never revealed. If a Frank Lloyd Wright building is never occupied then it's merely a shell. You are art as well, but art with a job to do, and that job is to grow to look more like Jesus every day. The image will be shaped by your skills, passions and history, but without it, an essential piece of the image of God will be missing from the world.

Change starts with knowing that you need to change, but the next crucial step is learning why you need to change. If you are a follower of Jesus, the why is because you want to look more like him and to be the masterpiece that he created you to be. You need to change so that you can come alive to the full range of beauty that God has shaped in you.

Once you understand why you must change, then you can start to figure out how to change. 

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