Are you perhaps familiar with "Pascal's Wager", proposed by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in the mid-1600’s. It's basic premise is that, mathematically, your chances of a good return are better if you believe in God than if you do not – thus belief in God is a safe bet that all logical people should make. This is true: siding with God is always a safe bet. However, I keep asking myself if this was any way to live for and serve Jehovah?
I believe that this principle has affected most of us in our acceptance of Christ as Lord; we may not know a lot about God but we know that we don't want to end up in the Hot Place, so we decide to believe in God. But we cannot remain in that kind of belief. This is service out of fear of consequences and has little to do with actually living for God. We cannot serve Jehovah because we do not like the alternatives. We should not obey God because he has blessed us (He has not promised earthly blessings, but heavenly ones, and so we may not be physically blessed here on earth). Our life for Christ is not motivated by His blood shed for our sins. No, these are all excellent reasons to love and be awed by Jehovah but they are not reasons to live for Him, to believe in Him, and to obey Him. I say this because these are not the reasons the Jehovah gives us in His word.
There is only one reason to live in God: "Be holy, for I am holy." This is stated six times in Leviticus (11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7, 20:26, 21:8) and is repeated by Peter (1 Peter 1:16). It is not because of what the Lord has done for us that draws us to love Him, but simply because He has commanded it:
4"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."A life that is truly lived for Jehovah is not done out of motivation for one's own personal interests. When the prime motivator of a life or lifestyle is personal gain, living for anyone but oneself is precluded; this is utter selfishness and is not that to which God has called us. While we may first come to and know God in fear of retribution, we cannot grow in Him while we remain there.
--Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NASB)
The problem is that so many of us never go past that spiritual point. We never come to know and serve God simply out of acknowledgement that He is God and commands and deserves such respect. I would encourage everyone to come to know God, not in lip-service but in your heart. We may have first turned to Him out of fear, or because it was expected of you or it was what everyone else what doing (the bandwagon effect), but that does not mean that we must stay there! We are called to live a life for God, and there is joy and peace to be found in obeying God because He is Jehovah, the Great I AM, God of Creation, Lord of Hosts, Almighty! He is Lord; let us serve Him and love Him as such.
Tags: Jehovah, Christian Living, Pascal, Holiness, Fear of God, Spiritual Growth