Thursday, December 6, 2007

What's My Motivation?

My husband was caught in a moving violation the other day. He didn't see the "no turn" sign until the officer so kindly pointed it out to him. I don't think he'll be doing that again, as the consequences came in the form of traffic school and a $200 ticket. I know, I didn't know a "no turn" ticket could cost that much either.

So a couple days ago, I went to lunch with a friend, and I had a perfect opportunity to j-walk. In fact, I just might have done so on the way to the restaurant. On the return to the parking lot, I felt very guilty and decided it wasn't in the budget to pay another ticket at that point, so I used the crosswalk like a good, law-abiding citizen.

After the whole incident was over, I began to think about my rationale. Do I follow the law simply because I want to avoid the consequences? Yes, that is a motivating factor, but is there something good and honorable about doing right merely to avoid consequences? Probably not.

My father was a police officer for over 30 years. He was strict and had high expectations for my behavior. Friends never understood how I didn't rebel against him, but I understood something about him which, as normal teenagers, they didn't perceive. I never doubted my father's love for me. I knew that he made rules for me because he loved me, because he wanted to protect me, and knew what was best for me. I obeyed not just to avoid consequences, but because I love and trust him.

And so it is with my Heavenly Father. He didn't give me His law and consequences because He wanted to ruin my life, or so that I would live in fear of consequences, but so I could see my need for a Savior. He disciplines me because He loves me. It's relational.

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