Love or Obligation?

Why do we do the things we do? Is it because we feel like we have to do certain things? Is it because we feel like we would let someone down that we really looked up to or want to please if we didn’t? When I was in middle school I started to play the trumpet in the school band because my grandfather played the trumpet when he was a kid. I played trumpet because I wanted to, not because I had too. I played baseball from the time I could throw a baseball all the way through high school because I really like the game of baseball. My other grandfather played college baseball, all my brothers played baseball, and like most my friends, even had a favorite major league baseball player. I follow the game of baseball because I have a passion for it.

As Christ followers why do we do the things that we do? Think about the last time you went to church. Did you go because you felt like you had to or because you wanted to experience Christ with a body of believers? Do we read the Bible to get to know the nature and character of God or because we feel like we have to because that is just what Christians are supposed to do? Do we pray at meal time, around the table with our kids, because it’s what we have always done growing up or because we know God listens to the prayers of the righteous?

For years now I have wrestled with why Christians do the things that we do. At times I ask myself some of these same questions. It’s so easy to get into routines and lose the heartbeat behind the mission of it all. Jesus commanded believers to make His name famous and to make disciples of all nations. My prayer is that we obey the commands of Jesus because we love Him, not because we feel like we have too or Jesus will be mad at us. I have to admit this is much easier said than done. Life gets busy, work can be overwhelming at times, and 24 hours seems to little for all we have to do in a day. In the midst of all this is the why and how behind the what. I believe we tend to focus on the what more and God focuses on the why and how. We look more at the external and God looks more at the heart. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 (HCSB), “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

As a Christ follower, what drives us is the power of the Gospel that transforms lives. This is the difference in love and obligation. Love comes from a heart of desire and passion. Obligation comes from a heart of rules and regulations.

When we love Christ, His bride, and His mission…

1. We desire to know God more each and every day through His Word.

2. Serving others flows naturally from the heart.

3. We pray for others more than ourselves.

4. Leaders are equipped and resourced to make a difference.


When we have the tendency to feel “obligated”…

1. We “find” our Bibles only on Sundays.

2. We think of our own needs first.

3. For the most part, we pray selfishly.

4. We think more internally instead of externally.


My prayer is that we as the local church will grow in our love for Christ and His mission.