We love each other because he loved us first.
– 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
While sitting around the table with several friends who love golf, the question was raised, “What motivates you to play the game?” The answers came quickly. One simply wanted to play better than he did the last time out. Another was very competitive and wanted to shoot the best score in the group. The third piped up and said it was pure joy just to be on the course spending time with people he liked. Since I don’t play golf, I felt obligated to tell my friends why I’m not motivated to play. We all laughed when I shared that golf was the only sport I’ve ever tried where the more I played, the worse I got! We agreed the game will humble even the best.
What motivates us to love God enough to serve Him? Some might say they serve God in order to get into heaven. Others may view God as a life insurance policy or a good luck charm. It’s easy to serve God out of habit and not really think about why we do it. The Bible presents another idea altogether—it’s called grace. Jesus, God’s only Son, paid the penalty for our sin by dying a painful and humiliating death on the cross. This, and only this, makes it possible for us to enter heaven and spend eternity with God. We must surrender ourselves to Him completely. We love God out of gratitude, even though we realize we can never give Him what He has given us. We obey Him, praise Him, and serve Him because we want to. We love Him so much that we can’t wait to tell others about His amazing love. We love Him because He loved us first.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Help me to fully grasp the price that was paid for that love. Thank You for Your grace. Fill my heart with the desire to serve You and make You known to others. Amen.