As authentic disciples there are two main motives in which we can serve the Lord with one is love and the other is fear. We can choose to serve the Lord because we love the Lord and desire to live for Him, or because we fear His punishment. Love is to be the foundation of our service to Him and as new converts and as authentic disciples we should seek to develop love as the foundation for our lives. Serving the Lord from a motive of love is what every true child of God needs to develop in their personal walk with the Lord. It is the key to a strong and intimate relationship with the Lord and should be every authentic disciple’s motive for serving the Lord. Our purpose should be to seek to know Him and love Him and by perfecting our love for Him knowing perfect love casts out all fear (Phil. 3:10; 1 John 4:17-19).
As a new convert, or a babe in Christ, one must learn to truly trust the Lord in their daily walk. As we learn to trust Him with our lives, it results in obedience to Him and as you learn to trust the Lord more and more, your love for Him and your obedience grows (John 14:20-21). Authentic disciples who have taken the time to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord learn to obey the Lord out of a motive of love. Those who fail to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord will struggle with guilt, condemnation, and fear of punishment throughout their lives. Jesus said in John 14:23-24, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words”. We must see the importance of developing an intimate relationship with the Lord in order to love Him and serve Him from a motive of love. Over time as we experience His love in our lives and His many blessings, our faith, trust, and love for Him will grow. We will learn to trust, love, and obey Him in every situation, circumstance, trial, and temptation we face in life because we know He truly loves us in our hearts.
God is a God of love, a perfect loving heavenly Father, who loves you perfectly and only has your best interests at heart. As authentic disciples we do not have to be afraid of Him by walking on egg shells due to fearing the punishment of eternal separation because of our imperfectness. If this has been your motive for serving God, then it is time to repent and acknowledge your misunderstanding of the gospel and what it means to be a genuine disciple. He loved you so much He sent His only Son to die on a cross and shed His blood for you, and He offers this free gift to you so you can spend eternity with Him. We should never serve the Lord out of a motive of fear by being afraid of punishment from God which causes torment and distress in our lives. A relationship based on fear and not trust and love is one in which you would walk on egg shells when you were around them due to an unhealthy fear. A fear based relationship with the Lord or man can cause stress and is not healthy for any person to suffer emotionally, spiritually, and physically because of it.
As sinners we should have responded to the Lord from a proper understanding of the gospel by acknowledging our sinfulness and repenting of our sins. We need to understand in our hearts that He loves each one of us personally despite our sinfulness. We then must be willing to sit down and count the cost of following Him being willing to forsake all to follow Him. If we understand the gospel message correctly there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve His love, we can only to trust and rest in His love for us. In the book of Romans 5:8-9 it says, “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” God loved us while we were sinners and demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross our sins. And, through the death of His Son Jesus Christ and His shed blood, He secured our redemption unto eternal life.
Due to this fact as authentic disciples, we have been freely justified by God (made righteous) through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on a cross. We are saved from the wrath to come that will be poured out on those who have rejected Him. Therefore, we have no reason to fear eternal separation from Him. In the book of 2 Cor. 5:21 it tell us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Therefore, our motive for obedience and service should be a love for Him. True disciples who seek to know the Lord intimately will learn to trust and love Him and they will serve Him out of a motive of love and enter His rest (Heb. 4:9-13). Those who enter His rest will experience His peace, joy, and the abundant life that is in Jesus Christ (John 10:10; Rom. 14:17). Each of us will have to give an account for the things done here on earth whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10). All the things we do in life not done from a motive of love will not stand the test of love and will be burnt up.
Those who profess to know Jesus Christ calling Him Lord who do not love and obey Him, who offer up lip service are the ones who should fear eternal (Matt. 7:21-23; 15:7-9). If you do not love the Lord serving Him becomes a have to, rather than I want to. To serve the Lord in this manner is hard work and will become a chore, drudgery, a dead, lifeless, empty religion going through the motions. It is hard to do something for very long you do not love, enjoy, and want to do. It is hard to walk in obedience and live a godly life if they do not love the Lord. Eventually, those who do not truly love the Lord will return to a lifestyle of sin. As 1 Peter 2:22 says, “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” Those who fail to progress in the faith and spiritually mature run the risk of falling away from Christ.
Here is the difference between Christianity and the Christian religion. The Holy Spirit is at work in the believer transforming him inwardly by the grace of God. The Holy Spirit’s inner work of imparting grace (His divine influence upon our hearts) to us results in an inward change of heart as we are being transformed and conformed into the image of Christ. Those who are of the Christian religion are those who do not have the Spirit and go through the motions without the grace of God being imparted resulting in inner transformation of the heart. This confirms the importance of believers learning to be led by the Holy Spirit in their lives (Rom. 8:14). It is only those who are sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to be led who are able to remain humble, and maintain a right heart before the Lord that will continue to receive His grace (James 4:1-10).