Incentive is a word that is used to encourage people to greater action and effort. Most of us require some incentives to work harder at our place of employment or to study harder at school and university. You will often read about added incentives being provided to sportsmen and women to sign up for a particular sporting club or endorse a certain commercial product.
In some cases huge incentives are offered to have the sportsmen sign that lucrative contract! I am not sure what incentive spurs you on in your work, or just in life in general. I certainly need encouragements to continue on in many areas of my life including my work, ministry and family relationships.
When considering the matter of trying to live a life pleasing to God in this world I live in, I often find it exceedingly difficult. To be honest, I am attracted by so much of that which is on offer out there in the world. Some of the attractions are good and others not so good! I love the attraction of getting out in the bush and enjoying nature! I love the thought of travel! I love some of the luxurious commodities that are on the market to make life so much more comfortable and easier! Then there is food! Then there is preparing for retirement …. the list goes on!
So many distractions for my eyes and mind. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with these, what causes me to stumble is how much time I give to thinking and then pursuing these activities and commodities. My daily walk with the Lord often suffers and He is often just an afterthought!
As members of God’s new society, His church, we are required to live our lives differently and in step with Him. Paul seeks to spur us on in this regard as he continues to challenge church members, us, to live pure and righteous lives. In today’s Bible passage he provides us with four incentives to live a life that is in keeping with being a child of God and a member of His family.
These four incentives are both negative and positive in their instruction. I guess Paul is continuing his push for us to realize just how blessed we are to be ‘in Christ’ with all the blessings that flow from it as well the resultant responsibilities that also come with the name ‘Christian’. This is hard work but ever so rewarding as we walk this path of righteous living together.