We are dedicated to God's Word through regular Bible study, worship and prayer, sharing the Good News with all people by telling of the hope, love and purpose we have through Jesus.
How are Christians motivated to live as Christians?
How do we get someone to change? Isn’t this something we deal with all the time? It may be a husband or wife who wishes to get their spouse to make some change in the way they do things. We may have a friend who is always late and it frustrates us to no end. How do we get them to change?
So how do we do it? How do we motivate someone to change their lives; to give up bad habits for new ones? How do we encourage a family member or friend to be more dedicated to God and his Word? How do Christian parents get their children to listen and do what is right? What do we use to motivate Christian behavior?
Laying down the law is the usual method people use to produce change. For example, to increase church offerings, a congregation may try shaming its members into giving more. In such a case the law reads something like this: “A good Christian would give “x” amount of income to the church.” In a troubled marriage, a spouse may lay down the law like this, “I’m taking the children and leaving unless you clean up your act.” Parents do the same thing with children. “If you don’t behave, there will be no TV tonight.”
The law, however, often incites our sinful nature to do just the opposite of what it commands. God’s Word tells us this. “When the commandment came, sin sprang to life…” (Ro 7:9) Not only does the law make us aware of sin, it can motivate our sinful nature to do just that the law forbids. An example: Mom says to her two year old, “Don’t touch that glass vase!” Two seconds later the child’s hand is reaching out to touch the vase or to see how close they can come without touching. Laying down the law often moves us to disobedience. Even if the law’s threats stop us from committing the sin, it can never motivate anyone to want to do the right thing for the right reason.
The key to real change is Christ. The only way to move a Christian to do the right thing for the right reason is moving them to act in response to God’s love. Paul put it this way, “We love him because he first loved us.”
So why don’t we use the Gospel to motive and encourage each other? Perhaps it is because we want to see instantaneous results. From our impatient human point of view, the Gospel doesn’t seem to work fast enough. The law may get results but only the gospel can bring forth results that please God.
A Lutheran pastor named Herman Gockel gave an illustration of the Gospel’s power to compel Christians to do the right thing. He wrote, “A mother was upset when she saw several suggestive pictures on her son’s dorm room wall. She didn’t say anything at the time, but sent him a picture of Jesus. He put it on his wall. In a matter of days, the other pictures were gone. The mother never once badgered him. Jesus’ love, as called to mind by the picture, worked in his heart what laying down the law could never do.
“For Christ’s love compels us…and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Cor 5:14-15)
Confessional Lutheran Christian Ministry Pastor Donald Stuppy
Im Holzweg 4a 55288 Spiesheim
Phone: 6732-600-3933 Cell: 173-419-9572
In His service,
Pastor Donald Stuppy