These two incentives are out of this world. I doubt any motivational speaker focuses on them. Nevertheless, if you want to be motivated for life, especially for plowing through the tough passages of life, you need these two. Best of all they are powered up by God Himself. So, you don’t even have to work hard at rehearsing them. Just connect with reality, the Reality that is God, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. His power is released to keep us motivated, whenever we choose to hold on to these truths.
What are our top two incentives? The fear of God and the love of God. It sounds strange, I know. When you put them together like that there seems to be a contradiction. How can you love what you fear, or fear what you love? But it’s only the wrong kind of fear of God that causes the problem. We’ll get to that later. Just take it in faith (for now) that they go together like peas and carrots. Know too, that we need both incentives in order to have a robust, Spiritual Immune System, able to fight off nasty Temptation Invaders in our moments of weakness, doubt and pain.
This is the beautiful one—because our Lord is so desirable. Unless our passion for Jesus is greater than anything the world, the flesh or the devil can tempt us with, we may knuckle under. But it is. The Holy Spirit lives in us! He is a furnace of fiery affections just waiting to empower anything that looks live love for Jesus. No one knows Jesus better or loves Him more than the Constant Companion who is united to our spirit. You know this. Just turn to praise the Lord, or thank Him, or want to please Him. There is a Power inside of us that “shows up” and starts lifting our hearts heavenward.
Our passion to know and believe His Truth, live in His Peace, and enter His Presence are all inspired by a fire that can never go out—the eternal love of the Spirit for the Son. Don’t think of this love as a feeling. Some of us don’t get much emotion mixed in with our passion. For me it is a fierce sense of loyalty that fuels my desire to live for Jesus over against any obstacle or temptation. I don’t want to betray the One who rescued me at such a terrible cost to Himself. Above all, I want to get to know Him as well as I can down here. As it turns out, one of the best way to do that is to keep saying (with Him), “Not my will, but Thine be done.” What a powerful incentive!
This is the rugged one—as tough as nails. Especially, when we are in a crunch time, feelings of love for Jesus can vanish as other feelings come flooding in. We need incentives that will work for us under any condition. That’s where the fear of God comes in. According to David, the Lord spoke to his heart about the reason we go astray. It is because “there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1). Clearly, this is God’s antidote to temptation. The fear of God is “the beginning of wisdom” (think right choices). But it is also a powerful, heaven-sent motivation against wrong choices.
Although the fear of God includes a holy awe of His majesty in moments of special revelation, that is not the side of it which concerns us here. The “every day” fear of God is having a lively recognition that God is in charge and you’re not. This translates into knowing that everything you do will have consequences AND that you cannot escape them. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my wrong attitudes and wrong behaviors will reap a reward I don’t want to experience. This is a tremendously powerful motivation that keeps me walking within the moral boundaries, pointed in the Lord’s direction. It is always there to “rescue” me from turning aside, because the knowledge of consequence is “before my eyes.”
For more on this see the complete article, “Two Powerful Motivations,” at our website.