Our motivations matter.
We can do the right thing for the wrong reasons, but eventually we will be discovered to be a fake.
On the other hand, we can do things wrong and make mistakes, but if we do them for the right reasons those things become lessons that help us get better.
There are many different reasons why a person would follow Jesus.
Fear is a big motivation. We are afraid of going to hell, so we want to follow Jesus to avoid the punishment.
Obligation is another reason. We think, “Jesus died for me, so I guess I had better go to church.” Our obedience is something that we feel like we need to do.
Expectation might be another reason. Our family and friends are Christians, so we feel like we are expected to be Christians as well.
Reward is a motivation for following Jesus. Not only do we want to escape Hell, but we want to enjoy the eternal life God has created for His people. We keep the end in mind to remind us what it is important to follow Jesus.
While all these motivations have their place, they miss the most important reason for following Jesus.
The best motivation we can have when it comes to following Jesus is love.
Love is the best motivation for following Jesus because it is a response to the love Jesus had for us.
It was love that motivated Jesus to show compassion and heal people. It was love that motivated Jesus to spend time with those on the margins of society. It was love that motivated Jesus to stand against the oppressive behavior of the religious leaders. It was love that motivated Jesus to leave Heaven, become a man, and die a painful death on a Roman cross.
Love is what motivated Jesus.
The proper response to love is love.
This means that the more we experience God’s love, the more our understanding of Jesus grows, and the more the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts, the stronger our love for God becomes.
Fear may have been the reason why we first decided to follow Jesus. A sense of obligation might be the reason why we first started to be committed in our weekly church attendance. The expectation of friends and family might have been the reason why we started to worship. Our starting motivation doesn’t matter, what matters is the reason why we continue to follow Jesus.
One of the ways we know we are growing in our faith is because motivation becomes more about our love for Jesus than it does anything else.
There is no formula for learning to love Jesus. It happens as we study Scripture, as we engage in the work of ministry, as we sacrifice in our giving, as we spend time in prayer, and as build friendships with other Christians. Just like other relationships, love grows stronger the more time you spend with them.
Follow Jesus because you love him.
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