A few weeks ago, Tim Keller offered some helpful insight into the motivation for obedience, when he answered this question:
What should be the motivation of Christian obedience? What's the broad motivation of why we should obey the Bible and obey the Lord?
Beauty and duty.
If we were completely sanctified, we would only do what God has said in His Word, strictly out of desire to please Him. We would never do it out of fear. We would never do it out of coercion. It would only be out of joy. That's how it ought to be.
The fact is our hearts aren't right. So sometimes we have the do the right thing because we know we should.
If you have an anger problem, ultimatley if you are a Christian, you have to say, Why do you get so angry? Maybe you get angry because of inferiority feelings. How do you deal with those inferiority feelings? You're going to have to use the gospel in your heart. You have to remind yourself of who you are. In the end, the only way to overcome anger is to use the gospel in your heart until that insecurity is gone.
However, if you have an anger problem and you want to pick up a rock and hit somebody in the head, and actually your heart isn't right, I still think you should not do it. Just because you might go to jail. Just because your family is going to be so unhappy with you. Just because God says no.
In the long run, you should always do the right thing out of love for God out of joy for God. But in the short run, very often you should use any means possible to do the right thing, which means tell yourself, I'll probably go to jail if I do that. God will be mad at me (which He will be, by the way, if you do that). Even inside being a Christian, you're beautiful in Him and in Him there is no condemnation, He is still angry at his children, I think, who He loves, when they do something wrong.
In the long run, beauty is your motivation. But in the short run, do it because it's your duty to do the right thing.
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