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Many people do not like change and overall resist change. Some resist change more than others, but many despise change to one degree or another. Yet change is something that is going to happen whether we like it or not. There is a second group of people who are constantly on the cutting edge and like change. They can’t wait for the newest and best thing to be released and they are constantly getting rid of the “old” and upgrading to the newest and best thing. Other times, those who like change will upend their lives simply because things have been the same for too long and they want change.
Change is not always a good thing, but it is not always a bad thing either. Everything around us is constantly changing, yet through this change there are things that remain constant and will not ever change. So when it comes to religion, is change good? It depends. If I am wrong, then change is good as it brings me closer to God. Yet if change leads me away from truth, then that change is not good. So when we change spiritually we always want it to be because we are moving closer to truth and to God.
There are usually only two reasons why people make spiritual changes that lead them closer to God. Either they fear hell or they love God. Sometimes it is a combination of the two. Why do criminals leave crime and become upstanding citizens? Either they fear punishment, or they come to respect the law. Many times when one leaves sin and comes to God it is simply because they fear the punishment that God has promised to those who don’t obey. Yet that motivation often changes later down the line and they eventually obey because they know it is right and want to do right. The Bible uses both fear and love as a motivation for change...and it uses both because many times people are in a different place in their life and one or the other or both are necessary to motivate change.
Romans 2:7-8 says, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious and do not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.” Paul here lays out both the fear of Hell and the Promise of eternal life as motivators to change to do what is right.
So God has given us both fear and love as two of the strongest motivators to change and turn to Him. So what if neither fear or love motivates us to change? What is left? If I won’t change out of fear of eternal punishment, or out of love for God and hope for eternal reward, then I have no hope. Our hope lies in our willingness to be motivated to change. Our hope lies in our willingness to realize the horrible nature of hell and the wonderful rewards of heaven. Our hope lies in our trust in His word enough to change our lives and follow Him.
What motivates you? Is it the dangers of Hell or the promise of Heaven? Or have you up and to this point refused to change in spite of both heaven and hell?