I remember a time when I had the privilege to go on a
mission trip to a certain part of the world and stay with a missionary and his family who had been on that particular
field for more than fifty years. After I had witnessed all the
labor and work that had gone into the Christians there striving
to bring Heaven to earth in this part of the world, I commented
one day to the missionary about how fantastic his reward was
going to be in Heaven one day. He sharply cut me off in rebuke
and said to the contrary. Whilst I realize that was his perspective (for whatever reasons) I have til this day disagreed with that outlook. And I believe I have gone on to glean from the Lord 5 motives for serving God in our earthly pilgrimage. Here they
1. The love of Christ. The Bible says that we love God because
He first loved us. God is love. So it's only fitting that our first motivator is the Lord Himself. Colossians 1:16 says, "For
by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible
and invisible; whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
authorities- all things were created through him and for him.
I believe any service we render unto the King must start here in
our attention and focus. But it doesn't stop there. God promises
2. The promise of rewards. Being saved from sin, the wrath to come, and having eternal life is one thing. And if those were
the only things, we would have cause to rejoice. But the writer
of Hebrews says that they are confident that we are meant for
better things, things that come with salvation.
Scripture also goes on to state that God is not unrighteous
to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and
do minister. There are plenty of places in scripture that talk
about God rewarding His saints. One of them is found in
2 Corinthians 5:10 where Paul wrote: "For we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may
receive what is due us for the things done while in the body,
whether good or bad.
3. Fear of chastening. This is the third motive for serving God.
Please keep in mind this entails no condemnation. This is
referring to Christians who love the Lord. However, just as 2
Corinthians 5:10 ended with the promise of future rewards if
we serve Him, verse 11 of the same chapter says, "Since, then,
we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others."
The Bible says, "But when we are judged, we are disciplined
by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along
with the world."
John 15 paints another vivid picture where Jesus said, "“I am
the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch
in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch
that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are
already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you
abide in Me.
I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in
you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so
you will be My disciples.
Many people believe when Jesus talked about how those
branches are cast out and thrown into the fire; that He's talking about hell there. I don't believe that. In context, He's talking
about believers. So what I think is happening is parallels are
being drawn to what Paul described in 1 Corinthians 3 when
he explains rewards again when he writes: "If anyone's work
is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself
will be saved as through fire."
Again, this is all backdrop to show us that fear of chastening is a genuine motivator to serve God.
4. Promise of the Holy Spirit. Out of all of these points, this one
is probably going to be the most controversial. Needless to say,
I don't believe a person necessarily has the Spirit of God
dwelling inside them just because they've made a profession of
faith in Christ. Now obviously, the Holy Ghost must be
functioning to some degree in a person's life that claims Christ
because Paul said if any man doesn't have the Spirit of Christ
then he is none of his. But what I do question is at what point
does the Holy Ghost actually take residence inside a believer.
This is something that I'm continuing to study and hear from
God on. So I will not say much except to say that it all hinges
on baptism. Jesus was the Son of God His entire life. But the
Bible made it a point to declare the demarcation was when
He underwent His baptism. And I believe the same is for us.
Nevertheless, The Bible does speak of going from faith to faith
and glory to glory. In conclusion, I can think of two other
motives for serving God that deal with promises involving
the Holy Spirit. They are found in the following two passages:
One talks about the spiritual gifts God gives us to fulfill His
will and the other speaks of freedom and glory we receive
as we are being conformed into His image by His Spirit.
I believe these all are motives to serve God as we go from faith
to faith and glory to glory.
5. Heavenly Observance. Lastly, we're told something that
escapes our natural senses but is just as much true as anything
Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
1 Peter 1:12 even speaks of angels that desire to look into the
things of men as it pertains to salvation.
So what I would conclude with on this point is this: We've all had loved ones that have gone on before us. Let us by faith, hear their cheers as they encourage us on to run our race. And as the circle completes, look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Amen.