Motivation: Ditch the Fake ID


If you’d like to be more motivated in an area of your life, don’t try to drum up more motivation. Instead, focus on changing how you see yourself.

Whether you’re lying on the sofa in front of the TV or outside working in the yard, you’re motivated. Your motivation level is not the issue.

How you see yourself is.

Everyone’s internal motivation mechanism works like this: It perpetually tries to move you toward a more complete version of who you believe yourself to be. Not who you believe you should be (which is how most people approach motivation), but who you believe you are.

This dynamic is true whether talking about exercise, food, sex, spiritual disciplines, relationships—you name it. Whatever images you have of yourself, motivation will power you up to act accordingly.

This is why religion isn’t great at truly changing people. Religion looks at outward behavior and judges accordingly. If you’re doing well, you’re good. If you’re doing poorly, you’re not. And either way, this becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

Life with Jesus is different. His cross affirms your worth before you’ve done a thing. And he takes old, faulty images you have of yourself and gives new and good ones in their place.

So in those areas where you’re struggling to change, here are some steps that will help:

  1. Figure out what negative self-images you’re carrying around. Get some help from a trustworthy friend or wise counselor. And ask Jesus to help you. He knows what you’re seeing.
  2. When you discover a false self-image, ask Jesus to take it. In prayer, envision yourself pressing each false image into Jesus and his broken body absorbing them for you.
  3. Ask him to show you the man or woman he created you to be. Keep your ears, eyes, and heart open for new images. They may come through Scripture, stories, music, friends, movies, or some other way altogether. Jesus knows what will speak to you most deeply.
  4. Practice believing what he’s shown you. Hold to these new images like a boat in the storm. And spend lots of time with others who believe what’s true about you, too.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 as much as necessary.

I’ve seen this approach make a huge difference in my own life as a man, a husband, a father, a leader, and as a follower of Jesus.

What about you? How has your image of yourself impacted what you’re motivated to do or not do? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.


On #5,

P.S. Check out Jason Gray’s fantastic video below about how we see ourselves.







Josh Glaser
Executive Director
[email protected]

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  • This complements nicely some consideration I’ve given to motivation lately. I landed on the view that the only unwavering motivation for anything is the fact that I love Jesus – and that only because He loved me. Motivation based in anything or anyone else can change because things and people can change and the circumstances relating to them can change. Only Jesus and the love found in my relationship with Him remain the same.

  • And another thing . .

    I may have had an experience along these lines earlier this week when He spoke to me regarding my view of myself in my work. He said, “You have a ‘giants-in-the-land’ mentality.” Hmmmm. I realized then that, imperfect as I am, in Him I am up to all the professional challenges that I face daily. Besides, I’d rather have milk and honey than manna. It’s my choice. 😉

  • I have been in Christian therapy (irrational belief therapy…which is what’s being discussed in Josh’s post), for four years and I’ve never heard it put quite like that…moving toward what we actually believe about ourselves, not what we think we should be. Excellent.

    Also, the steps are helpful and biblical. It’s interesting that when Paul wrote Ephesians, he did not start with all the bad behaviors. He began (just thinking of his intercessory prayer for example in chapter 1) with, “I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened so you can see, hope, glorious inheritance among the saints, and immeasurable greatness of the power.” And, of course right before he begins to tell them to walk a worthy walk, he prays that they would be “rooted and grounded in love.”

    We will never be motivated to change by commands first. God loves us and we’ve got to get that in the heart and gut, first!


By Josh Glaser

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