Our motivation to obey the commands (or imperatives) of Scripture can finally become a delight when we see that the reasons (the indicatives) almost always center around God’s love and provision for us in Christ. Through the gospel, the Holy Spirit empowers our motivations so that we are driven with gladness, not guilt, being ever reminded of our forgiveness in the gospel, not our failures in the law. It is God’s ability, not ours.
Chandler, Matt; Geiger, Eric; Patterson, Josh (2013-11-26). Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church (Kindle Locations 378-381). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
So here is one of my struggles, so much of what is preached and taught in church centers around our actions. If Jesus is lucky, he is tagged on as an after thought. Just last week our Sunday School teacher made a comment in jest, but there was really more truth to it than she realized. She said (about halfway through the lesson) "And let's talk about Jesus too, because after all, this is Sunday School."
The first half of our time together was spent on the law. The rules. Here is what you have to do to be a good Christian...in this instance it was "go out and get to know your neighbors. Now how can we be more intentional about doing that?"
Now I am not saying that getting to know your neighbors is a bad thing. I would even say it is a good thing. Unless I tend to be a jerk or something. Then maybe not. But a desire to know my neighbors it is not what I believe should drive my behavior.
Jesus endured the cross for the pure joy of it. (Heb. 12:2) He didn't do it to be a good guy, He did it because He loved His Father and wanted to please Him. He did it because nothing brought Him greater pleasure than serving His Father. I used to think that His joy came from saving me, but I don't believe that anymore. I believe I am the by-product of His joy, not the cause of it. His joy comes from glorifying God, not rescuing me. He fixed His eyes on God, just as I should fix my eyes on Him. My joy should not come from my neighbor thinking about what a great example I am, but my joy should come from Jesus calling me a faithful servant.
That is what I want to drive me, my love for God and His Son. To be driven by the beauty of my forgiveness rather than my attempts to earn that which is already given. To rely on God's ability, and not my inability.
I don't think I am completely there yet.
But I am working on it.