The Great Rewarder: How to spur on obedience
I think we all like rewards. It feels good to have achieved something and then to reap the reward.
Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, and some are not even tangible.
For me personally, I can feel rewarded just by seeing all the boxes on my checklist ticked off. Those of you who have been working hard to lose weight are rewarded by seeing the numbers shrinking on the bathroom scale. Creators who have dreamed big are rewarded when they see their projects come to fruition. Business owners are rewarded with big profits when they run their businesses with wisdom and integrity. I'm sure you can add to this list of non-tangible rewards.
Children, I think, benefit the most from tangible rewards. They are great motivators for good behavior.
Just look in any children's section, and you will see reward charts galore! Chore charts, obedience charts, you name it.
This past winter we saw great success using a reward chart with Lexi when she stayed with us for ten days. My daughter joked and said, "Mimi and Papi fixed you!" lol. In all seriousness, it truly did transform her behavior, and she was able to see how obedience and completing chores brought her great joy through a tangible reward.
As I was reading in Leviticus last night, I was struck with seeing the Lord as our "Daddy". A Father who guides His children about what is right and what is wrong and offers rewards when His children obey.
“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new.
I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.
And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
As I pondered this further, I thought to myself how many commands and moral laws of the Bible have attached to them a promise, a reward if you will.
For small children, I believe it is good to motivate with tangible rewards because it trains them to complete a task when asked, but further instills in them, a job well done which will translate to being less about material reward when they are older and more about the satisfaction of knowing that they will have done a good job and listened to mom and dad, rather than, "Go clean your room!" which will more than likely result in push-back, attitude and more reprimands.
In the same way, we are children, God's children and He is indeed our Daddy. If we were to focus on the end reward of our obedience, whether it be the lavish blessing God has promised through His Word associated with a specific obedience AND/OR through knowing that we are pleasing the Lord, I think those areas where we may struggle with temptation and besetting sin, will become less about striving and more about resting in the promise attached to the command from our loving Father which will feed our gratitude.
In the passage I shared above, the Lord spoke about and emphasized the reward first BEFORE he listed out the severe punishments if the Israelites were not to follow His commands.
Even God focuses on the positive to spur on obedience.
Here are just a few commands with a promised reward...
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.
The one who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
and whatever we ask we receive from him,
because we keep his commandments
and do what pleases him.
1 John 3:22
I encourage you to look at all of Scripture with bigger eyes now, to see the attached promises and rewards that the Lord mentions in those areas where you are convicted - that you need to be more obedient in. **Preaching to myself hear...**
I truly believe that when we look at God's commands and admonishments, instead of being overwhelmed with thoughts of, "I'll never get this right." Or "I'm probably just going to fail in this area again", we should instead focus on the Grace that the attached reward promises. God's Grace covers every backslidden area of our lives, every misstep, every besetting sin and spurs us on to obedience.
Afterall, it is the Lord who ultimately causes us to walk in obedience. You can read more about how we are designed for spiritual success here in my blog post Spiritual Instincts: We are designed for SUCCESS!
Remember, God is your Great Rewarder! Now go claim your prize! :-)
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