You’d think after more than 30 years of being a Christian, it would get easier. In many ways, it has. But there are still times when I just don’t want to do the right thing.
Today was one of them.
Get out of my warm bed at 5 a.m. to fix breakfast for my husband? Nope, that wasn’t on the top of my Oh boy, I get to do this today list. Even though I knew after breakfast we’d read a snippet of a devotional book and pray together, one of the best parts of my day, I still didn’t want to get out of bed. My flesh wanted to stay horizontal beneath the covers.
Some days I don’t want to read my Bible, either. Other days I don’t want to be unselfish, or honest, or kind. The alternatives are often mighty tempting.
I suspect I’m not alone.
That high school boyfriend who sent you a private Facebook message? You don’t want to say no. And some days you don’t want to come home. And at night, when the kids have been especially bad and your husband doesn’t appreciate you? You think about walking away and never looking back.
Some days you don’t want to go to church. Or to work. Or to visit your loved one in the nursing home. You don’t want to give. Or serve. Or pray. You don’t want to honor your vows, keep your promises, or train your children.
Some days you just don’t want to do the right thing.
But by God’s good grace, we do.
Thank you, Jesus, for helping us.
Today, on the day I climbed out of bed at 5 a.m. to fix my husband breakfast, and read, and pray, I thought of eight good reasons to do the right thing.
We do the right thing:
1. Because disobedience is sin. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). When I know what I should do and choose to disobey, there’s only one word to describe my action—sin.
2. Because God punishes sin. “. . . because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Prov. 3:12). Because God loves me, he will punish me for disobeying. His motives are pure. He wants the best for me. He knows that sin and its consequences cannot produce the good life I desire.
3. Because the natural consequences of my disobedience will hurt me. Skipping my Bible reading, eating junk food, and being lazy all come with consequences. And they’re not good.
4. Because doing the right thing lays the foundation for a good life. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).
5. Because God sees every sacrificial, selfless thing I do. ”God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb.6:10).
6. Because God will reward me—in this life and in the next. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat. 25:21).
7. Because I’ve never regretted doing the right thing, but I usually regret doing the wrong.
8. Because I want to honor God and make him smile. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Most days I love Jesus more than I love myself. Because I love him, I want to please him. Love is the greatest motivator of them all.
Today we get to decide whether or not to do the right thing. For these eight reasons and many more, I hope you’ll say yes.