By Brooke Holt
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:14-17)
What motivates you? What motivates you to obey the speed limit? Probably fear of the police officer waiting around the corner. What motivates students to study? Usually, the upcoming exam. As a health coach for many years, I have had to repeatedly ask what motivates my clients to lose weight. Sadly, numbers on the scale are important but not enough to truly keep someone focused on making good choices. True motivation to make the hard choices comes with freedom from fear, shame, and guilt; it is a motivation that sees beyond that shame and guilt to who they can be. Positive goals are always the best goals!
So, let’s take this question of what motivates you to a spiritual level. What motivates you to love God and obey his commands? Is it fear of hell or fear of God? Is it the desire to impress your pastor or friends in the church? We know the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Yet, Paul would remind you that while fear of the Lord leads to wisdom and a healthy turning from self to the Savior, that is just the beginning. Once you have trusted in Jesus as your Savior, you are secure in his love, grace, and salvation. He adopts you as his child, and you are an heir of his great inheritance.
You are wanted; you are chosen; you are free from fear through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord longs for you to live in this freedom and enjoy all the benefits of being his beloved child. God’s love for you is perfect and unconditional. Paul wrote at the end of chapter eight that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:39). There was nothing you could do to earn God’s love, and there is nothing you can do to cause you to lose that love.
Paul reminds you of your freedom in Christ. That incredible freedom we find in his love can motivate us to love God through obedience. Just as my health clients will struggle to be motivated by shame and fear, you will struggle to be motivated by shame and fear. That is why the Lord reminds you today of his perfect and unconditional love. You are free in Christ. Now, go out and practice that freedom, enjoy the gifts of being the son or daughter of the King, and delight yourself in the inheritance he has for you today and for eternity.
Take time today to consider what motivates you in life—fear, shame, love, or freedom. Then ask the Lord to help you embrace the freedom of his love and salvation he lavishes upon you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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