[Written by Matt M]

Last week, our denomination’s (C&MA) Midwest District hosted a conference for pastors. John Stumbo, the president of the C&MA, spoke during the conference. (You can watch his messages online.) John asked, “What drives you?” He listed healthy and unhealthy motivations that we cling to. Healthy characteristics included having a calling in life, love, and a longing for God’s glory. Unhealthy qualities include unbalanced adrenaline, fear, and a love of power.

He got me thinking: What drives me to work with students day in and day out? Some who read this might think pure insanity as their response. My answer: I believe that students can know Jesus. The world we live in tells teenagers it’s okay to do whatever feels good, that truth is irrelevant, and that following Jesus is a menu option rather than someone to whom we devote our entire selves.

If that is my answer, does my own life demonstrate my passion to see students in full pursuit of Jesus? Am I consumed by the life God wants for me?

When I think about this, the area in my life that bubbles to the surface is joy. For all of us, there are days when we wake up totally unmotivated, frustrated, and wishing that we could sleep away the day. This is “stinking thinking.”

God’s Word in Galatians 5 reminds us that we are to walk in step with the Holy Spirit- not just when we feel like it. In every situation, we walk with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, there is fruit from walking with His Spirit. One of the traits is joy. Having the joy that comes from God means that I don’t have to let trivial things get me down. In fact, it improves my outlook. Joy doesn’t ensure that I’ll always feel bubbly, but it does tell me that I can rest on the truth’s of God.

My motivation: have daily joy and the rest of life will figure itself out.