Doing the Right Thing – Motivated by Receiving a Blessing

Motivation, Thoughts
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the crowd's expectations, "You have heard it said...Do not commit murder...Do not commit adultery...Give your wife a certificate of divorce...Keep your vows...An eye for an eye...Love your neighbor and hate your enemy" (Mt 5), and kicks it up a notch with, "But I say...Don't be angry with your brother...Don't lust after a woman... Don't divorce...Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' without the necessity of a vow...Repay evil with good...Love your enemies" (Mt 5).  Jesus takes the law of consequence of the Old Testament and replaces it with the law of love.  The law of love is the new expectation for would-be followers of Jesus. In the Luke chapter 6 version of this teaching, Jesus includes an interesting promise.  After instructing His disciples in…
Read More

Doing the Right Thing – Motivated to be a Clean Vessel for Service

Motivation, Thoughts
Listen to what God says about how we prepare ourselves to be an instrument in His hands.  "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.  Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (II Tim 2:19-21).  When we cleanse ourselves from worldliness and wickedness, we will be ready to be put into service for the Lord. An illustration we often used to explain this concept to our children goes like this.  Once we become a…
Read More

Doing the Right Thing – Motivated by Future Reward

Motivation, Thoughts
Many times in the gospels, Jesus lifts up the hope of future rewards as a legitimate motivation for good works.  And the reward theme continues in the rest of the New Testament.  Let's see what Jesus and the apostles had to say about keeping our eye on the prize. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Mt 5:11-12).  Persecuted for your faith = REWARD. "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven...when you give to…
Read More

Doing the Right Thing – Motivated by God’s Approval

Motivation, Thoughts
In I Timothy 2:15 we read, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."  When God views our "work" - our lifestyle, our choices, and our actions - will we be approved or ashamed? I can't help but view this verse through my own vocational experience.  A significant part of my job as a geophysicist involves presenting my ideas to management.  When my work has been thorough and thoughtful and complete, my work (and to some degree myself) have been "approved".  But I have also felt the "ashamed" of a thrown-together, poorly-thought-out presentation.  If our earthly bosses can engender these feelings of accomplishment or shame, how much more important is it that our work is…
Read More

Doing the Right Thing – Motivated to be an Example to Others

Motivation, Thoughts
One of the functions of the body of Christ is the opportunity to encourage and build up each other.  And one of the best ways to do this is through our righteous living and the example it sets.  The theme of being an example and following an example is a prominent one in the New Testament. "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (Phil 3:17). "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation and with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia" (I Thess 1:6-7). "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because…
Read More

Doing the Right Thing – Motivated by God’s Reputation

Motivation, Thoughts
Another motivation to do the right thing is our desire to enhance God's reputation.  At first glance we may to ask ourselves, "Is it really possible that the Creator of the world, the Sustainer of the world, and the Author of our salvation needs any help from us on the reputation front?"  The answer is yes.  Just as the children in a family contribute to the family's reputation, so also, our actions either impugn or enhance God's reputation on the earth. The church is the body of Christ.  The church is the physical representation of Jesus to a watching world.  And when they look at us, the community of believers, what do they see?  One of our motivations for righteous living is to accurately reflect the character of our Father…
Read More