A men’s group was discussing the reasons for living a morally pure life. One man argued that it was fear that kept him in line. Another insisted it was love. But a third man suggested that it was a love-motivated fear. Yes, he did fear the shame, the disgrace, and the punishment he might endure for wrongdoing, but worst of all was the fear of making his wife suffer. “I’d rather be beaten to death,” he exclaimed, “than to see the hurt in the eyes of the woman I love.”
That sheds some light on our Savior’s statement, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). If we willfully break those commandments, we will suffer loss. But it should also matter to us how God responds to our disobedience. Hosea 11:8 tells us that God the Father feels loving anguish. Because of Israel’s sin, He said, “My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.”
Jesus also experiences pain when we disobey. He wept over the city of Jerusalem when it spurned His love (Lk. 13:34). And in Ephesians 4:30-31, Paul exhorted believers not to grieve the Holy Spirit by being hard-hearted.
If we consider how much pain God feels when we are disobedient, we will find ample motivation to shun what is wrong and pursue what is right.
O help me, Lord, to be afraid
Of disobeying You;
And may I bring You highest praise
In everything I do. —Sper
The highest motive for serving God is the desire to please Him.