The Motivation Of Love
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
As children of God, sons and daughters of our heavenly father we have a relationship of love and peace that can and does sustain us through every situation. God is good and He loves us. He is our heavenly Father, our eternal Father who is always…always…always looking out for our good.
He wants us to be blessed, to be prosperous, to be healthy and strong. He wants us to succeed. Everything about the New Covenant and the new life in Christ Jesus points to blessing, peace, joy and righteousness.
So, where does the bondage of fear come from? It comes from the enemy of God who is also our enemy because we belong to God. We are God’s workmanship created in Christ for good works.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10
The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].“ Ephesians 2:10
The key here is the love of God, the love He has for us. Because of His love we receive His mercy, therefore we have nothing to fear from Him. And more so, because His love is perfect and there is no fear in love because perfect love casts out all fear.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Now this is not an indictment against us, as some would suggest, as though love was a commodity to be had merely by plucking it from a tree or taking it off a shelf. No. What the Word is telling us is this. The pathway to perfect love is through the One Who is perfect love. How do we become perfected in love? It is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in us.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
God is putting His love in our hearts. He is perfecting the work of Love in us. We don’t have to fear when we know God loves us. Here is one way we show that we know God loves us. When things go wrong, when hope is differed, when disappointment comes, when times are hard and we just don’t feel God’s presence or our circumstances just seem to be going from bad to worse.
In times like these, do we blame God? Do we entertain thoughts that He has abandoned us? Do we feel sorry for ourselves and buy into the lie of the enemy that God is not for us, but is against us and is judging us by putting bad things in our life to punish us for some past or present sin?
Or, do we resist the liar and affirm the goodness of God in our hearts knowing that He loves us no matter what else is happening at the moment? Do we look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, to find the power to endure as He did and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven? This is how love evokes us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
But you say, “Wait a minute. How can fear and trembling be compatible with perfect love that casts out all fear?”
Consider the Amplifed translation here:
“Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).” Philippians 2:12
This is to say that not all fear is bad. Some fears are preservative. We fear(wisely respect) fire so we don’t get burned. We fear things that we know would harm us so we avoid them. Fear in this sense is not unnerving torment as referenced above where love is concerned but this fear is acknowledgment with respect for the natural laws of creation that is sovereignly set in motion by God and must not be misused by man.
God has placed boundaries beyond which it is not safe or wise for us to cross. So a healthy fear (respect) of those boundaries is a good thing for us. This fear does not bring torment; it brings peace of mind. It is reverence for God’s power and His justice, for His righteousness and His exclusive authority.
In Him we have nothing to fear that would bring torment, for He is rich in mercy and love for us. And His love always manifests His goodness in our lives when we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power of love and of a sound mind. And in this we cry Abba, Father, Daddy. And His answer always comes back, “I love you.” So, rest assured in His love today and wait in confident hope in Him. He will not disappoint us.
All that we can do in the Kingdom of God must be motivated by love, love that is passionate, deeply felt and emotionally connected to us in such a way that it moves us to compassion, to mercy, to grace to a sincere heart for righteousness, to a willingness to sacrifice our most deeply valued possessions for the sake of pleasing God and being a blessing to others; to obedience more than sacrifice, to submission to the Holy Spirit’s leading and to know the love of God beyond all knowledge.
And this love is not a one-way street. It is abundantly with the promise life, with blessing, the endless, inexhaustible provision, with health, strength, power and peace. It is in deed the pathway to the fullness of God.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what isthe width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19