I am up far to early today, not at all because it is in my nature, its more so having something to do wit an early stirfry dinner that gave me idus last night and left me passed out on the living room floor around 6pm. Up at 3am and scrolling through some of my favorite blogs, I came across ordinarilyextrodinarymom‘s blog post No Hustle, No Sleep, No Repeat and it really got me to thinking about motive and true inspiration. And as if by magic I turn into today’s devotion and it read
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18 ESV
Ugh oh, I know what this means, and I don’t need Shug Avery to sing it to me for confirmation; it’s obvious, “GOD”S TRYNA TELL YOU SOMETHIN””
Grudge, malice, vengeance, animosity, those are all such harsh and dirty words. What on earth could they possibly have to do with a good ole’ christian girl like myself? But, this is why I love the Holy Spirit so much. Just when I’m about to mount my high horse and set off swiftly into the sunset, like a perfect gentleman He takes my hand and brings me right back where I belong.
So perhaps I’ve never tried to put sand in my exes fuel tank, never wished that my neighbors cat would die, and I didn’t talk bad about so & so (well…that bad, I didn’t talk about her that bad) after I found out what she said about me. No, my motivation is more elusive than that, I would pay them back simply by trying to be better than them, proving them wrong and living my life with the mantra “Oh, I’ll show them!” Suddenly it was clear, and for the first time I realized that maybe those dirty words I’d like to think I’ve never done, I did and actually do.
“So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 AMP
Is it success? is it popularity? Is it to be known? Is it to be loved?
When our number one priority and motivating factor above all things is God there is fullness and satisfaction. Don’t misunderstand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being motivated by the desire to live a full life that is profitable and successful, to have an abundance of awesome friendships and healthy relationships, to live life with purpose and to thrive with passion for what you do. These are all great things we should want and should be motivated by. In fact, Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). But what happens when our primary motivation is not our love for God and bringing Him glory? Idols, which is anything or anyone we put before God, are formed. Comparing ourselves to one another and even jealousy can crop up in our lives. We lose the sense of enjoyment we once found in what we do. Our lives are consumed with busyness always going going going with a harvest that bears very little fruit or growth. Things begin to feel like a struggle; there is a loss of peace and a contentment that only comes from glorifying God . What we once viewed as important because it was done to edify God has now become negotiable; based primarily on feelings and circumstances.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2 ISV
Love for God, Love for others and love for yourself. I ask myself, especially when I’m blogging or on social media, does this post demonstrate my love for God? Will this retweet enrich or disrupt someone else’s life? Does this instagram post show me in a light that is reflective of the love and respect I have for myself? And that’s just one minor way love can be a motivating factor. In my case, taking on an attitude of trying to show off or show out because of a grudge or out of revenge is faaaaarrrrr from operating in love. It should be no wonder why things often did not prosper. Whether its love for God, love for others, a healthy love and respect for yourself or a love for what you do, it’s all meaningless and nothing outside of love.
Obedience to God is an essential component to the Christians life. But have you ever wondered why? While it is not always easy to be obedient it is required in order to be pleasing to God. Its also beneficial and critical to living a life in the fullness God intends for His people.
“But remember—continue to obey the law that the Lord’s servant Moses gave you. You must love the Lord your God and obey his commands. You must continue to follow him and serve him the very best that you can.” – Joshua 22:5 ERV
Where the heart lies the man follows. This is why Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 “that no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to one and despise the other.” Love is an all in heart choice. You can not sort of love someone or something, you either love it or you don’t. Sure, there may be varying degrees of love. Im sure you don’t love a friend in the same manner you love a spouse and you don’t love your children in the same manner that you love Starbucks coffee on a Sunday afternoon. You might make time and reservations for your spouse that you otherwise wouldn’t for a co-worker, just as you would give the world for your children, highly unlikely you would do the same for a vanilla frappe. In the same way, as believers, God should be the paramount love of our lives and when He is there is nothing we won’t do to satisfy that love. Our obedience overflows from that love, just as the psalmist illustrates we too desire to be obedient to God. Psalm 119:4-5 “You have given us your laws to obey— oh, how I want to follow them consistently.”
“If we love God, we will do whatever he tells us to. And he has told us from the very first to love each other.” – 2 John 1:6 TLB
“How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law of the Lord.” – Psalm 119:1 NET
When we are obedient we release God to operate uninhibited and to move fully in all areas of our lives. Conversely, our disobedience births consequences and death (physically and/or metaphorically) that inhibit us from attaining all that God wants to give us.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 NET
“Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.” – John 15:5
How does a child know right from wrong? Unfortunately, none of us were born knowing how to drive a car, do long division or instinctively recognize that touching a hot stove is a bad idea. Fortunately, that’s why we have parents and teachers, leaders and mentors to give us loving correction, to guide us and instruct us. None of us are perfect. We are born into this world full of sin, funny as it is we never have to teach a child to lie because it is in our nature as men in this fallen world to sin. And just as a child is corrected by their father or mother so it is we are children of God, born into this new life of Christ. And like any loving father he corrects us for our benefit and instructs us in the way we ought to live. Obedience to heeding to God’s instruction leads us into a life of fruitfulness, maturity, and growth.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21 NIV
Salvation is a gracious and undeserved gift from God that is given to all who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ; His deity, death and resurrection. When a person comes to believe a thing, whatever that belief may be, his or her life can not help but reflect it. If I just say the words “I believe,” and in my heart there is little to no truth in my confession, my life will undoubtedly appear quite contrary to that belief system. Our faith defines our desires, actions and behavior. As a believer in Christ our actions should line up according to His word.
“This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments. The one who claims, “I know him,” while not keeping his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person. But the love of God is truly perfected in whoever keeps his word. This is how we know we are in him. The one who claims to remain in him ought to live in the same way as he lived.” – 1 John 2:3-6 CEB
“Young people can live a clean life by obeying your word.” – Psalm 119:9 CEV
You can not live in the will of God if you do not obey the will of God. Simple enough principle with a whole lot of worth. However, do you know the will of God? In order to know God’s purpose, plan and will you have to be in His word. The bible is where we find instruction, guidance, truth and life. As believers we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit who is our advocate and helper. It should be our daily practice to hear from God, meditate on His word and pray for the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to carry it out.
“the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV
“Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father.” – John 15:8
Without obedience we can not walk out our faith and our faith without work/action is dead (James 2:14-18). Furthermore, without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Our lives are lights that set us apart and point to the one we belong to. Our actions, how we behave, speak, treat and love each other are all ways we demonstrate God’s affection for us and the world. The word makes it very clear that a life of obedience, love and faithfulness are a great delight to our Father.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
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