For love’s sake

Love is the most powerful force known to man. Nothing is stronger. It should not surprise us then, that love is the key motivating factor in scripture.

The apostle Paul wrote to a friend and brother from whom he had received much joy and comfort (Philemon 1:7). This letter was written concerning a new brother in Christ, a slave named Onesimus, who had left the household of Philemon. Paul wanted Philemon to forgive Onesimus, and to receive him not as a bondservant but as a beloved brother (Philemon 1:15, 16). As an apostle, Paul had the power to command (Philemon 1:8). Yet, that is not the way Paul approached this situation.

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Careful righteousness

Jesus expects us to do works of righteousness. Our righteousness must go far beyond that of practitioners of religion, in order to enter God’s kingdom, Matthew 5.20. One way in which it must go beyond is in a superior motivation behind it.

“Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven” Matthew 6.1.

In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6, the Lord Jesus cites three examples of righteousness that we must practice: giving, prayer, and fasting. Continue reading “Careful righteousness”

Motives

“Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, ‘Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’ And David said, ‘What have I done now? Is there not a cause?'” (1 Samuel 17:28-29 NKJV).

A lot of Asian youth enjoy T-shirts, just as do Americans. One that caught my eye somewhere said, “I am not lazy – I am selectively motivated.” I suspect that most of us might wear that shirt honestly. When it comes to things we really care about we can be quite energetic. Other things, well maybe not so much. Continue reading “Motives”