Summary: It is possible to obey God out of every motive except the only right one...love!
“Doing All the Right Things For All the Wrong Reasons”
by Rick Labate
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables, and when he picked up a CD player to place it in his sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying, “Jesus is watching you.”
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight out and froze. When he heard nothing more after a bit of time passed, he shook his head, promised himself a vacation after the next big score, then clicked his flashlight back on and began searching for more valuables.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard, “Jesus is watching you.” Startled, scared and inquisitive, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, he saw a parrot.
“Did you say that?”
The parrot responded, “Yep. I’m just trying to warn you.”
The burglar relaxed, “Warn me, huh? Just who do you think you are?”
The bird replied, “My name is Moses. My name is Moses.”
The burglar laughed, “Moses, huh? What kind of crazy people would name a parrot Moses?”
The bird replied, “Probably the same kind of people that would name a rotweiller ‘Jesus.”
How do you respond to the sentence, “Jesus is watching you?” Does it bring up images of a heavenly RCMP just hiding behind some trees with his camera aimed your direction? Does it remind you that you better be careful how you live because if you’re not careful, come Judgment day you’re going to fry?
Last week we explored God’s grace. That God’s grace is everything we need for eternal security. It’s free, it’s abundant and it’s amazing.
TRANS: Romans 12:1 reads, “I urge you brothers, in view of God’s grace, that you offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Did you catch that? Paul says that because of God’s grace it is only reasonable to live honorable lives.
Obeying God For the Wrong Reasons
Please hear this. It is very possible to do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. People obey God:
· Out of obligation
· From fear of punishment
· From lack of assurance that God’s grace is sufficient for eternal life
· From misconceptions or a mistrust of His love
John Leo is a columnist that I enjoy very much. He writes for U.S. News and World Report. In the Oct. 12, 1998 issue he comments on the relationship today between rules, Madison Avenue and society. He titles his column “The Selling of Rebellion.” He writes:
Consider the recent ad for the Isuzu Rodeo. A grotesque giant in a business suit stomps into a beautiful field, startling a deer and jamming skyscrapers, factories and signs into the ground. One of the giant’s signs says “Obey,” but the narrator says, “The world has boundaries. Ignore them.” Trying to trample the Rodeo, the hapless giant trips over his own fence. The Isuzu zips past him and toppling a huge sign that says, “Rules.”
But the central message here is very serious and strongly antisocial: We should all rebel against authority, social order, propriety, and rules of any kind. “Obey” and “Rules” are bad. Breaking rules, with or without your Isuzu, is good.
A great many advertisers now routinely appeal to the so-called postmodern sensibility…Burger King’s “Sometimes, you gotta break the rules.” Outback steakhouses (“No rules. Just right”), Don Q Rum (“Break all the rules”), Neiman Marcus (“No rules here), Columbia House Music Club (“We broke the rules”), Comedy Central (“See comedy that breaks the rules”), Red Kamel cigarettes (“This baby don’t play by the rules”), and even Woolite now says, “All the rules have changed.”
“No rules” also turns up as the name of a book and a CD and a tag line for an NFL video game (“no refs, no rules, no mercy”). The message is everywhere—“the rules are for breaking,” says a Spice Girls lyric.
Lest we shake our finger at society and say, “That’s right all you bad people out there.” Listen to these perceptive startling words written in 1897 by someone whose convictions I respect:
“A sullen submission to the will of God will develop the character of a rebel.”
You see, if we obey God simply out of obligation we are only a hair width away from being like all those rule breakers we scorn. I repeat. You can obey God for all the wrong reasons. And there is nothing that is more of a drudgery than doing the right thing based on the wrong attitude.
It was around 8:45 on Sabbath morning in Virginia and I was on my way to the smaller church in my first district. I was driving an old Datsun B210 that burned oil. You could find me quite easily if you just followed the bluish smoke exiting the rear of my car.