This past Sunday I talked about a big WHY. If your WHY is big enough you will figure out how. So let me ask you a big WHY question. Why do you obey Jesus? Why do you serve Him? Why do you give? Over the past 30+ years of being a pastor I have heard a lot of answers, most include some variation of:
- I feel guilty if I don’t…
- I am afraid God will punish me …
- I want His blessings in my life …
Often times we don’t express our motives as clearly as I have listed but, if you push in- it seems to land in one of those areas. Before I tell you what I believe is the best motive for obeying, serving and giving to Jesus- let me tell you why these are not the right motivation.
This is often a favorite tool of parents, spouses and sometimes friends. We are asked to do something and we feel like if we don’t we let them down. The problem with this motivation is once we fulfill the request we still fell empty. Guilt sounds like this, “I would be ashamed- I can’t believe you did ___________ after all Jesus has done for you.” Have you allowed yourself to become motivated by guilt and or shame?
Too many people view God as the celestial policeman. If you don’t obey He will catch you and make you pay. The better picture is the one Jesus gave us Father (The Lord’s Prayer- “Our Father…”- a loving father who desires a relationship with His children. The Bible says perfect love casts out fear. When we see the command to “Fear the Lord” in scripture it is speaking of reverencing God because we know He is all powerful and living with the understanding that He sees everything we do. An unhealthy fear of God will lead to a less than authentic relationship with the Father. Have you fallen into a fear motivated relationship?
Let’s be honest we all enjoy the blessings of God and we should be grateful for them. The Bible even promises God’s blessing on our lives. Too often we follow God so we can get- more money, a better job, a great family and good health. What happens when we don’t get what we believe you deserve? We tend to be disappointed, feel overlooked and think God owes us. The truth is God has blessed us so much, if He never did another thing for us we have no right to complain. Be careful- this motive sounds Biblical at first but in the end will bite you! Have you been bitten?
So you are probably asking- “Hal, what is the right motivation?” It is simple- it’s what 1st Corinthians 13 is all about- it’s what God wants from us- LOVE. When we serve Him because of who He is and we desire a relationship with Him because we love Him- our relationship with the father grows. When my kids were younger and truth is now that they are adults, I really didn’t want or need their gifts- I did want time with them and I do want them to Love me. If I, as an earthly father, desire that kind of relationship and I am sinful- How much more does our Heavenly Father a love relationship with us?
So let’s move past the guilt, fear and blessing motivation and press into a real relationship with a loving God. That is why Jesus came- to demonstrate how much God loves us and desires a relationship with us.