Why do we do what we do? It is important for us to do the right thing, and it can be helpful if we examine our motives as to why we do what we do when we do it.

For example, some people only work hard when the boss is watching. In school some children only behave properly if the teacher is in the room.

When it comes to our life in the truth we are aware of the fact that God knows everything. This completeness of God’s knowledge of every detail was hard for David to comprehend when he said, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” So one motivation for not running amok and sneaking sins is that we are being watched closely, constantly.

Since God knows all about us He knows not only what we do, but why we do what we do. Are we doing the right things? Are we doing them for the right reasons?

God understands us and He does offer the carrot, for He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Jesus has told us “that it is his Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. The more real the kingdom is in our mind’s eye, the more we will be drawn toward it. We need to make the kingdom a vivid goal and think about it frequently.

As we grow in spirituality another strong motivation becomes our love for God. Appreciation for his goodness and thankfulness for his tender care and mercies towards us can create a love so great, such a consuming fire within our breasts, that we want to live right because we would not want to displease our Heavenly Father by sinning against Him. Joseph expressed this perspective when he told Potipher’s wife, “How can I do this thing and sin against God?

Jesus certainly always did the right thing and always for the right reason. He said, “I do always those things that please him.” To sin against his Heavenly Father would have been so abhorrent to Jesus that the very thought of it must have been repugnant to him.

When David confessed his sin to God he said, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.

God understands us. God knows why we do what we do. God wants us to love and obey Him because it is the right thing to do. But God also understands that He made us as goal-seeking creatures, and so He does offer us a reward for doing what is right. We may in our early development want to do right only to avoid punishment and to receive the reward, but as we grow spiritually we will be obedient to His will because we want to please Him because of our fervent love for Him.

Submitting to crucifixion was something our Lord dreaded. We are told how he was able to endure it. He did it by thinking not about the pain and suffering he was enduring but by looking forward to the Kingdom. Following his example we can also better overcome our trials and choose to do right because of our yearning for the kingdom. We are told that we should “Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Robert J. Lloyd

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