Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm Afraid... Not!

Once upon a time, when I was kid... Ok, it wasn't that long ago. Anywho, maybe I'm the only one who did this, but when I was growing up, I had to do chores. Terrible, horrible chores that took FOREVER. I'm talking hard stuff, like making my bed, picking up my clothes, and even emptying the dishwasher (except for anything breakable - like glasses, plates, cookwear... that really only left silverware and pots). Well, all sarcasm aside, I had to do all these chores on a regular basis. As for motivation, well, as most horrible children at the age of eight, I didn't do a single one of these things because I loved my parents. I did everything out of a healthy fear of the Paddle.
Now, don't get any ideas about me being abused or anything stupid like that....  I survived, and as the Bible says in Proverbs 23:13 "Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." I lived!  But child-rearing is not the point.

The point is, I did things because I feared the consequences, not because I wanted to serve my family, or even because I loved them. That didn't come for several years, and was only slowly produced through maturity.

But how often do we treat serving God like this? Oooo, I gotta go to church, otherwise He'll whap me! I forgot to tithe! God's gonna go after me this week!  I need to volunteer in nursery more often, especially if I don't want a lightning bolt to strike me!

Our life, serving Him, is not to be drawn out of fear, but rather of love and gratitude for what He did for us. Consider:

He gave you the breath you just took
He gave you the clothes on your back
He gave you the food you ate for dinner
He gave you life
He died to give you eternal life
And He continues to supply exceeding abundantly above that we can ask or think!

And in exchange for all of this, He truly asks for nothing.

Wait? Nothing? Yeah, look in the Bible, Salvation is a free, non-exchangeable, non-refundable gift. And all those blessings? Look at John 14:13-14 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it." It kinda gets really iffy here. This isn't like a good luck charm, or a magic leprechaun giving away free gold, but the more you study prayer, the more you realize that when you are in God's will, seeking God's will, you will want God's will. Another thought for another time.

If you continue in John 14, vs 15 says "If you love me, keep my commandments." And there is my point. We should keep His commandments out of love for Him. Like a child, often it takes a bit of maturing to get to this point.... though sometimes we fall back to immaturity.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18 In my opinion, this is the best part. We are not perfect, so we cannot understand the true love, but God loves us in a perfect love. We don't need to be afraid to ask, we don't need to be afraid to do.

When your motivation changes from doing things of necessity to doing things out of real love, it stops feeling like chores. Instead, serving becomes such a great delight and joy that you find yourself yearning to do more. Service is a privilege.

Because of Him,

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