July 5, 2022 – Romans 2:4 – Fear is a Terrible Motivator

Starting today I want to do something a little different. I’m reflecting on one of my favorite passages in the Bible, Romans 2:4.  But I’d love to know what some of your favorite passages are.  Or what are some questions that you may have about faith or the Bible?  Shoot me an email at andy@stm-umc.org and I’ll add them to my list to work on in the coming days. 

Today we will read Romans 2:4:

4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

I love this verse so much.  When I found it and internalized it, it changed my life.  It was truly a life-changing verse for me. I tell people that for most of my life, my image of God was that He was a really angry Col. Sanders.  He was an old man in heaven, with a long white beard, who did not like me very much.  He was up in heaven and couldn’t wait to zap me with a lightning bolt. 

By the way, when you think about it, that sounds more like the image of Zeus from Greek mythology than it does the God of the Bible.  

Finding verse changed my life because it changed my motivation.  For years my motivation was fear. I’d better do this, or God will get me. I’d better do that, or God will get me.  I was serving and I was living out of fear. And fear is a terrible motivator.  You can bow up and do anything for about six months out of fear but then that fear will run out.  Fear gets old and eventually, you aren’t afraid.  

But love, love is the greatest motivator.  When I realized that God loved me, it really changed me.  No longer was I driven to repent or be faithful because I was afraid of God, but my motivation changed to understanding that I was loved by God.  

Love is renewing.  Love doesn’t grow old.  Love empowers.  I don’t serve God because I’m afraid He will get me.  I serve God because He loves me.  

I am driven to repentance by the kindness of God. It’s God’s mercy and kindness that saves us, that drives us, that changes us  If we can make that switch, it changes everything.  

You are loved today.  Never forget that. 

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