“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Rom. 6:13
What’s your motivation for living a good life?
Is it the fact that its expected by people around you?
Is it societies definition of a ‘good citizen’?
Is it because its the type of behavior that your friends value?
For a long time my motivation for living a good, moral life was negative: if I didn’t act this way, this would happen. There’s certainly some wisdom to this kind of motivation… after all, I’m sure that when I made right choices, I avoided negative consequences, but somewhere along the road I realized that this kind of negative motivation for being moral… the “I’m supposed to act this way” or “I’m doing it just because its the right thing to do” didn’t really work as well as I thought it did.
Because no matter how much I tried to follow the rules, I couldn’t … I’d have moments where I’d break the rules, where I’d say something I never thought I would say, where I would do something I never thought I would do.
There’s something in us that wants to break the rules, no matter what they are.
I realized through studying the Christian faith that Jesus invited people to a life of freedom and grace, not based on the motivation that they had to live a certain way, but more on the motivation that they were FREE to not be slaves to sin.
Rather than offering imperatives, Jesus offered invitations to a new kind of living. A living based on grace: the grace that he displayed on the cross.
There’s a verse that’s always stuck in my mind from the Bible: “whoever has been forgiven much, loves much.” Jesus says it of the woman who pours perfume on his feet. If I can really start to wrap my mind around the fact that I have been forgiven already in Jesus, I start to be a little less hard on myself. I also start to be a little less hard on other people, who need grace just as much as I do. My motivation for living a good life changes from fear of breaking the rules and being punished to gratitude for the blood spilled for my sins, and a desire for other people to experience that same forgiveness.