when i was a young girl, i hated getting in trouble. i wanted to be good! i did not want to have to suffer consequences or be disciplined. the fear of disappointing my parents or teachers or any adult that i was around would pretty much keep me on the straight and narrow. i did not even like to think that what i might do would just make them mad at me even if i knew i would not get in trouble. fear motivated me to do what was right as much as i possibly could. of course, i pushed past that fear sometimes and suffered the punishment for the pleasure of doing something that i thought would be worth it. but, for the most part, the fear of getting in trouble was my motivation.
when i think back now and realize that my motives were not really pure. i am surprised. i had always thought of myself as such a good girl, always wanting to please and be approved of. i see now that was true. but, more dominant in me, was the fear of punishment and disapproval, which shows me that being good, for me, was just avoiding punishment not a true heart reaction. i guess that only makes sense because as long as there is fear of disapproval or punishment, most of the time, it will alter our behavior. but, true goodness radiates when the fear of punishment is gone and it still comes forth.
i look at my life today and i still see that little girl who wants to be good and do what is right. but, my reasons today are not because i am afraid of discipline or disapproval. i am an adult now. the only punishment that would come to me for my bad behavior is from God and He has made it clear that He has removed the disappointment issue with Him. He knew that my behavior could only be truly "good" if the fear of His wrath and punishment was gone, so my motive could be pure.
i am not saying that God likes it when we behave badly. God hates sin and must punish it. He is a righteous and just God. He can not just look the other way. Sin makes him very angry and He must take vengeance. Nahum 1:2,6 says, "the Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges and He is full of wrath. the Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies...who can stand before His indignation? and who can stand up and endure the fierceness of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by Him." i think that sounds like He has to punish sin fiercely! that is scary! but, the good news is Jesus!
because God loved us so much, He created us to be the recipient of His mercy and grace and not His wrath. He knew we could never not sin. He knew before He created us that He would have to provide an escape or salvation from His wrath and still righteously judge our sin. Jesus was the answer to it all! (I Thessalonians5:9,10.) (Romans 5:8,9) Jesus took all of our punishment for all of our sin for all time. in His love for us, God poured all of His wrath on Him. there is no more sacrifice for sin! Jesus paid it all! Hebrews 10:12-18 states, "whereas this One, Christ, after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sin for all time sat down at the right hand of God...for by a single offering, He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy....this is the agreement that I will set up with them after those days says the Lord; I will imprint my laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them upon their minds. He then goes on to say, and their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more. now where there is absolute remission of sin, there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin." Wow! He has poured all of His wrath and disapproval and disappointment and judgement for all of our sin on Jesus. because of my faith in Jesus, i do not have to be afraid of getting in trouble with God anymore. i can be good because He made me good. I can do right because i want to do right. He changed me when i trusted in Jesus! He wrote "righteous" on my heart and gave me the Holy Spirit to remind me of that. when i remember this, all of my motives are pure because i'm not afraid of God getting mad at me for anything. His perfect love has cast out all of my fear! i can now be "good" from a pure heart!
4 days ago