Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let Love Motivate You

What motivates you? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you send your children to school each day? Seriously, wouldn’t it be easier to yield to their whining and let them stay home? (Or, for us home schoolers, to say “Okay,” when they request to skip Math for the sixth day in a row?) Do you send them because you have to, or because you want something great for them?

What motivates you to stop at a red light? Is it fear of getting a ticket?

At some point in the past . . . ahem . . . well, since I turned 16, I quit fearing the police and began stopping at red lights because I understood the light was there to protect me. An authoritative figure within our government implemented this law to help traffic flow better and to help us reach our destinations safer and easier. As time passed and I stopped at more red lights, the urge to run the light diminished. And now, as a mother, I am very thankful for the law that requires me, and those around me, to stop at red lights. I approach traffic lights with confidence. I know my children are protected and safe because of that very light. I am no longer even remotely tempted to run it (even if I am late).

What motivates you to eat properly?

When we eat well because we fear the consequences, the effects do not last. Fear is a great motivator; but, it is typically short-lived. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look at our physical problems and evaluate the paths we are on. It may be that fear of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, sinus infections, back issues, etc. will prompt us to take a fresh approach to our diet. But if we allow that fear to be our main motivator, we cross over into legalism. It has become a “have to” we are enslaved to. The constantness feels like chains. “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” John 8:34 (NIV).

My motives for stopping at a red light changed as I understood the law and its purpose. In the same way, we need to change how we think about food and its purpose. Otherwise we have only exchanged one lie for another. Instead of believing “Only one won’t hurt,” or “I can cheat because it’s a celebration,” we now believe “If I eat this bad item, God will punish me,” or “Eating well is a sacrifice.” That is not freedom in Christ.

Freedom in Christ comes from choosing to obey God through His grace because we know He loves us - not because we feel an obligation or a fear. The more we understand His love for us, the more we love and trust Him. We grasp that He gives us His laws and commands, through His written word and prayer and others, to protect us, not enslave us. Then we can say, as the Psalmist, “I rejoice in following your statutes, as one rejoices in great riches.” Ps. 119:14 (NIV) Even if we don’t comprehend His specific purpose for us at this moment, we choose to walk in His path. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) As we walk on His path, we experience His peace and grace.


Shannon said...

thanks i needed this :)

Laura said...

Awesome post ... thanks for the inspiration, and the encouragement to evaluate my motives with fresh eyes!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Good true and good example!