Reason to Obey
During my childhood I had a good reason to obey my parents and teachers – fear of punishment. While that can be a deterrent to choosing evil in order to avoid disastrous consequences, it is purely a self-focused motivation to obey – so that I might avoid unpleasant consequences.
Unfortunately, this same fear-based motivation has plagued me over the years as a Christian in my motivation to obey God. I want to avoid pain and His displeasure. This again is a reason based on how it profits me. And, while it can keep me going down the right path, it comes far short of the freedom and joy the Gospel offers.
The good news of the Gospel assures me that God loves me on the basis of what Christ has done on my behalf, not on the basis of whether I merit it. That truth frees me to obey God for another reason – love.
I already have been given God’s love in Christ. I no longer have to obey out of fear, so that He will accept and love me. He set me free from the obligation to the Law, so that I might love Him motivated by my gratitude of surrendered obedience.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. (I John 4:18-19)