(Psalm 11: 4-7)
4 But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
examining every person on earth.
5 The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.
He hates those who love violence.
6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,
punishing them with scorching winds.
7 For the righteous Lord loves justice.
The virtuous will see his face.
We all have our own motivations for doing the right thing. Whether it’s a desire to see God one day, a fear of His wrath, or even a longing to see someone again who has gone before us, there is always that one big reason that we continue on in our pursuit of righteousness and our commitment to virtue.
When my grandmother passed away, I was given a folder full of things she had written. Her son, my father, had passed away suddenly at the age of 22, and much of her writings centered around her never-ending grief over his death, as well as her profound determination to be with him again in Heaven with Christ. She was fully committed and motivated to her pursuit of Heaven, and I know she is there with my father now…rejoicing in the presence of God and many other loved ones.
When I was a little girl, having grown up in a pentecostal church environment, I had a hefty fear of God’s wrath. I had heard my fair share of sermons on this very topic, and I went to bed every night begging the Lord for His forgiveness. I itemized my sins from the day and implored to God, “If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” I didn’t want any blazing coals or burning sulfur raining down on my head! No sir! Give me Jesus every time!
No matter where you fall on this spectrum of motivation, remember that God knows your heart. He sees to the very deepest depths of it, and He knows you. He created you just as you are, and He is using every experience of your life to mold you and to lead you closer to Him.
These days, I am more like my grandmother was. I have moved past my fear of fiery rain. I know I am not definably wicked, though I do (as all of us do) have wicked tendencies. I know I am not in danger of God’s wrath at all times. I am more motivated by my desire to be reunited with my loved ones, and by my desire to experience Heaven and see the face of God once and for all. I truly want those things more than anything! So I am not going to let stupidity, ignorance, and folly keep me from them. I am going to walk in His ways. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.
So what’s your motivation? If you don’t know, I encourage you today to spend some in reflection to find out. That way, when you are faced with temptations and tests that life will undoubtedly bring, you will have the strength to turn away.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the strength to make virtue and righteousness the most important part of who I am. This life is hard, and full of temptations and trials, but Your word gives me hope of a reward in Heaven for my commitment to You. Help me to remember that at all times! Amen.