What motivates you to serve the LORD? Before you answer that question, take a moment to think about it.
In most churches we usually see three types of people: those who are motivated to serve Christ; those who are marginally interested; and those who merely go through the motions with a take it or leave it mentality.
In a recent “friends survey” I received via email, two of my friends answered this question, “What is your greatest fear?” with this type of response, not pleasing God. If one reads that correctly, lack of approval is the motivator. Fearing the ultimate outcome of not being approved by God; not hearing those words “well done, my good and faithful servant.”
One of my greatest fears as a child and young teen was not pleasing my step-father. It seemed that having that fear was rather futile, since there was very little I could do that pleased him. Nothing I did seemed good enough. I still have some residue regarding all of that, but I am not certain I have translated that over to my relationship with God. Perhaps I should, but I have not.
Growing up my mom used to use “fear of God” a lot. She would say things like, “If you do that, I’ll put the fear of God in you.” I was never certain what “fear of God” meant, but I assumed it was not a good thing and indeed it is not. At least an over abundance of the “fear of God”.
God did some pretty obscene things to Israel for their rebellion, but somehow it never seemed to cultivate an appropriate level of “fear” regarding their behavior. Still they rebelled against Him in spite of what He did. Yes, there were times when they had a momentary retreat and served Him with some level of “joy”, but mostly they lived their lives in rebellion and apparent apostasy.
I think that most people feel that when Christ came on the scene that “fear of God” dissipated. However if you read the NT carefully, that may not be the case. Judgement for behavior is still alive and well. And rightly so. There should be consequences for our moral and “spiritual” behavior.
I am not certain what my current level of “fear of God” is right now. I suppose on a scale of 1-10 it might be a 4. Serving Him seems like it should flow from love and respect not fear. Yet I admit the ever-present cloud of judgment still seems to float above my head keeping fear alive.
So, I ask again, what motivates you to serve the LORD?