Have you ever wondered how you can tell if you are doing things for the right reasons? Well, the easy answer is found in how you feel while you are doing what you are doing. Actions that we take for the right reasons always leave us feeling satisfied, encouraged, and blessed. Actions that we take for the wrong reasons leave us worse off for having done them. We may be facing a situation that requires we take some action, but we can approach that action from different places. We can do things from the love that’s in our hearts or we can do things for many other reasons like “expectations,” “compulsion,” “obligation,” fear,” or “bondage.” Anything that you do because you have to do it leaves you feeling angry and despondent and eventually you will stop doing it, even if it’s a necessary thing to do.
It’s sad to say, but it seems like most people’s view of God is one based on fear and not on love. I would surmise that fear comes from not understanding, but still it manifests as fear. What do people do when they find themselves in a potentially threatening situation? They start bargaining with God! It’s as if they feel that any help and support from God comes only in response to their good behaviors, so if they can promise to be good in some area, maybe God will have pity on them and help them. That would be called, “fear.” A fear based paradigm always does what it does for the wrong reasons. Hey folks, if the qualifying factor to receive God’s help in tough situations is good behavior, then we are in a “heap o’ trouble!” So, the next time you find yourself in a tough spot, dispense with the righteous promises that you don’t really mean anyway and seek God’s help because you know He loves you and desires to help you!
Religion is generally based on fear. Religious people do all kinds of deeply religious acts because they are afraid; afraid that if they don’t do this or don’t do that, then God won’t be there to help them. Nothing wrong with self-control. Nothing wrong with wanting to do good things! What becomes wrong with it is a motive that is based on fear or obligation and not on love. If God has truly made me free because of Jesus Christ’s accomplishments, then I am truly free. I am free to love; free to give; free to serve! If I don’t love today, God still loves me anyway. If I don’t give today, God still gives to me anyway. If I don’t serve today, God still makes sure my needs are met in abundance so I can serve another day. You see, free means free! If I slip up today and do some rather sketchy, suspect activities and in so doing risk losing God’s favor in my life, again I’d be in a “heap o’ trouble!” I think we can give God a little more credit than that! If God made us free, then true freedom means we can choose what we are going to do without any fear or obligation. If I do something because I’m afraid, I’m doing it for the wrong reason. Whenever you are feeling obligated or serving/giving/helping out because you have to ~ it will always suck for you! You know something is wrong because you know that it sucks! Trying to tell yourself it doesn’t suck is pointless! So you have two choices: change your mind/motive or stop doing what you are doing! Why on earth would I ever want to serve God if it only ever sucked? The real idea is that He blesses me and does kind, unexpected things for me, then in response to what He does, I want to give and serve! That order never changes.
So you must ask yourself, “What things am I doing that I would rather not do?” “What behaviors do I engage in out of obligation that offer no benefit to me?” “What avenues am I pursuing because such and such said I should rather than what I want to pursue?” And…stop doing those silly things! Do things from your heart. Do things because they bless both you and the recipient. I have always said, if you want your kids to not love God and not want to learn about Him, make them do things in His name! Don’t let ’em choose; make ’em go; make ’em read, make ’em pray! (Haha) That way you can almost guarantee they won’t want to do it! (He says facetiously) I’m pretty sure you don’t want forced, obligated love from your kids either, right? So how will the kiddies ever learn? Well, you teach them just that. Tell them about God’s care for their lives, despite their behavior. Tell them how good God is no matter what they do! Then, you won’t have to force anyone to do anything!
So, don’t be fooled my friends! That lil’ voice condemning you ain’t from God! God doesn’t need to scare you into doing anything for Him or for anyone else for that matter. Free means free homie! Love God, love your fellow-man, and do as you dang fool please! Let the big ‘ol hidden vat of love welled up inside your heart, out! Decide to do what you do out of love, not compulsion. Love people just cuz… And, you will find that every action you take based on love, works! And, while you are loving other people, you will find that you are loving yourself!