Mood: Deep in Thought. (Hm . . . )
So I was on Instagram yesterday, and I saw a picture. It was of a Joel Osteen quote.
“In order to please God, you may have to disappoint a couple of people.”
Well . . . that got me thinking. Of course there’s the whole point of “in the world but not of the world”. But then I remembered something from Job: “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God?” (Job 9:2 NIV84). So, the huge question: if a human cannot stand righteous before God, and if we should know this, then what should motivate us to follow him and his Law?
Some refer to Christians as servants of God. But servants have an obligation to their master. That would mean that because God made us, we are obligated to do His will. Thus we would do His will because it is an expectation, and obligation. We are free of obligation because of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
So it can’t be obligation that motivates us to do His will. Whatever we are to God, it isn’t a servant.
Maybe it’s about choice? Following God is a choice. Doing His will is a choice. But with choice, humans become fickle. If it were entirely in our hands, if we made ourselves our own authority, we could do whatever we wanted! Wouldn’t that be fun until we decide we don’t want to keep God’s will anymore? Then we sin, and sin with no atonement makes for consequences, deadly consequences. Imagine when you were younger, and wanted to have that fourth bowl of ice cream. Then you had that fourth bowl of ice cream, even though Mom or Dad said you shouldn’t. And what happened when you didn’t follow the suggestion? You got sick, and at that point Mom or Dad came running to soothe you as you hunched over the toilet bowl. Either you let them help you, or your shame was too great and you turned away from them, sent them away. The younger you represents . . . well, you. The ice cream represents sinful desire. Mom or Dad represents God. Think about the symbols: this happens every day. People turn away sadly.
So it isn’t about choice. Then what is that things that drives us to obey God?
What if . . . we do it as a response to God’s love? After all, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Love is a beautiful thing. And we can see that someone cares by what they do. It can be material, like cards or candy; it can be immaterial, like assistance or encouragement. Love is around us, literally, in God’s creation. And, after all, we were saved because we were loved.
People do not do things for their partner out of obligation. They do it out of love.
If you love God, then you hate sin. You try to shed yourself of it, and that means giving up a few things, whether it be popularity or possessions. Love involves self-sacrifice, which is what we do to obey the will of God. Love isn’t always obvious, which is how we also are with God. But most of all, love is a powerful connector. It’s doing anything for someone.
So, it is love that drives us to the will of God.
Obligation can destroy love. When “responding” turns into “responsibility”, when “expecting” turns into “expectation”, when verb turns into a noun, going from something we do to something that is, then all we’re left with is a bunch of dead rules. No passion. Following the letter of the Law and not the Spirit just isn’t love.
Sure the act is great for a while, but then you start to feel empty. The only thing that can fill it is passion, and because we love God, we keep His commandments. If you concentrate on the letter of the Law, then that’s it. But if you concentrate on the Spirit behind the Law, then you can understand what is good to do and why it is good.
In a Nutshell:
- What fuels our desire to do God’s will?
- It’s not obligation: because of Jesus we aren’t obligated.
- It’s not choice: if it were choice everyone would dangerously stray.
- It’s love: we go out of our way for special people in our lives because we love them.
- Obligation destroys love.
- Follow the Spirit of the Law, and the letter will come more easily.
Spiritually thirsting for more? Read Song of Songs.
Spiritually thirsting for a slightly-less-awkward passage? Read 1 Corinthians 13, which discusses Christian love.