Friday, January 20, 2012

Should Rewards Be A Proper Motivation For Godly Living?

I have been thinking this past week about that ultimate REVIEW when I will stand before the Lord and give an account of my life as I lived it here on this earth. It is a sobering thought. But it is also a motivating thought. (If you are interested in reading the previous three blog posts, you can find them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

I want to finish this thought today by asking the question, "Should rewards be a proper motivation for godly living?" I mean, should the rewards we will be given be what moves us as Christians to walk with Christ, read our Bible, share the gospel, be generous with our money, and so on. In thinking about this, I had to consult Randy Alcorn's little book, The Law of Rewards. I would highly recommend this book. Here are a few of his thoughts:
"Despite prevailing opinions to the contrary, the prospect of rewards is a proper motivation for the Christian's obedience--including the generous sharing of our money and possessions. If we maintain that it's wrong to be motivated by rewards, we bring a serious accusation against Christ. We imply he is tempting us to sin every time he offers rewards for obedience! When he offered us treasures for ourselves in heaven, was he tempting us toward sin? If rewards are a wrong motive, then he was luring us to do wrong. This is unthinkable. Since God does not tempt his children, it's clear that whatever he lays before us as a motivation is legitimate. It's not wrong for us to be motivated by the prospect of reward. Indeed, something is seriously wrong if we are not motivated by the promise of reward made by our God . . . But here's the incredible thing, the factor that turns the entire debate on its head--it wasn't our idea that God would reward us. It was his idea! Satan didn't make up the idea of incentives. Our sin nature didn't make it up. A corrupt world didn't make it up. God made it up. He designed us to need incentives to motivate us to do our jobs and do them well." (103-5)
Later he writes,
"It is certainly true that desire for rewards should not be our only motivation. But it is also true that it's a fully legitimate motive encouraged by God. In fact, the two most basic things we can believe about God are first that he exists, and second that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). If you don't believe God is a rewarder, you are rejecting a major biblical doctrine and have a false view of God. I encourage you to go back tot he Scriptures and ask God to open your eyes to the truth about his nature and how he motivates his people." (116)
He makes some really good points. I am particularly impacted by his use of Hebrews 11:6 that says we must believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those that seek Him. Could it be any clearer? God will reward and maybe, just maybe, some of our problem with living our Christian life is that we have failed to realize the glory of receiving rewards from our King Jesus.

Do You Think Rewards Motivate You For Godly Living?

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