I grew up in a religious context where my motivations for doing good things were guilt and the fear of getting caught! As people rescued from darkness (Colossians 1:12-14), we are meant to do good things, living as citizens of a new Kingdom. But are guilt and fear really the twin fuels of Kingdom living? Where do we find motivation and power to live an obedient life in the ways of the Kingdom?
I always loved hearing longtime Navigator staff member Jerry Bridges teach. He went to be with the Lord last year, but one line of his still echoes in my mind: “Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.” Jerry said that because he knew that in the Gospel there is both motivation and power to live in obedience to God.
As sons and daughters of God (Galatians 3:26,27; 4:6,7), our motivation for obedience and service flows from God’s love for us, His grace lavished on us, and His salvation. We are wonderfully saved, and the motivation for our good works is to honor our heavenly Daddy who rescued us! Titus 2:11,12 puts it this way: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (NIV84).
But where does the power come from? Another facet of the Gospel provides that answer. The apostle Paul taught that for those who believe, God has provided “his incomparably great power” and “that power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19,20 NIV84). Wow, that’s power! Paul also described the mystery of the Gospel as “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Think about it: Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, dwells in us, providing power for obedient living. Paul then said that we “have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:10).
The fullness of God is available to us for obedient living, and no authority of this world can overtake us when we walk in the power of Jesus Christ!
To read more from Doug, visit his blog at makingwaves.navigators.org