In Deut 10:12-13, the Lord gave Israel five things that he required of them. They were to fear the Lord, walk with the Lord, love the Lord, serve the Lord, and obey the Lord. These are what I call the five necessary things in your life today. You should fear, walk with, love, serve, and obey the Lord. I believe these five things are also your motives for doing the things you do.
Why do you do what you do? It’s common knowledge that you do what you want to. But why? What are the motives for what you do?
Fear – Fear is a powerful motive. You do what you do because you are afraid. You don’t need any other motives to act when you are afraid.
Wisdom – Wisdom is an excellent motive. Walking with the Lord is wise. After Israel sinned by worshipping the golden calf, God was ready to destroy them. Moses interceded and God repented. Moses then told the Lord that he would not proceed if God would not go with them. He knew that they needed to walk with the Lord.
You do what you do because what you’re doing is good for you. Wisdom leads you to do what’s best for you. You may not want to do it, you may not love it, but it’s just the right thing to do.
Love – Love is a powerful motive. You do what you do because you love a person or a thing, or you love yourself. When you are saved you are not to love the world. All that is in the world is the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When you love the world then you do these things. When you love the Father more than you love the world, then you have a defense against these things. You don’t want to do them. According to Rom 7, you may do them but you don’t want to.
Service – Service is an excellent motive. You do what you do because the person you do this for is depending upon you. A child or pet, for example, depends absolutely on your service. And when you are motivated by serving others, you are satisfied to serve.
Obedience – Obedience is an excellent motive. You do what you do because you have been commanded to do it. It is your duty.
Combining Your Motives
The more of these things that motivate you to do something, the more likely you will do it and want to do it.
If you are only in church this morning because this is your duty, you will likely not be in church much longer. However, if you are here today because you love the Lord and you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. And you want to obey the Lord and serve others. And you fear the Lord. You are going to be here nearly every time the doors are open.
Initially, Peter followed the Lord because he was commanded to do so. However, after Christ’s resurrection, when the Lord dealt with Peter about feeding his sheep, the Lord asked Peter three times whether he loved him. And after confirming his love, then the Lord, once again, commanded Peter to follow him. Peter’s motives were stronger after this. He was motivated by love and obedience, and not just obedience alone. Peter never denied the Lord again.
Changing Your Motives
You might ask how the Lord would change your heart so that you might one day be motivated by several of these things, instead of just one. Ps 37:4 says “Delight thyself also in Lord; and he shall give the desires of thine heart”. That is, he will give you the desire to fear him, walk with him, love him, serve him, and obey him.
Check your motives today and see what motivates you to do what you do. If you are missing some or all obese motives for doing the Lord’s will, then ask the Lord to help you change your motives.