Deuteronomy 6:20-25: In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders--great and terrible--upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness."
Recently on the weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser, one of the personal trainers asked the contestants why they were participating in the show, and most gave a generic reply, "Because I want to get healthy." She replied, "That is not a goal or a motivation that is going to see you through. If you are going to turn down tasty, high-calorie foods and drinks, you have to have a more compelling reason than, 'To be healthy."
And so the contestants began to talk about their dreams: to break cycles of heart disease and obesity in their families; to see their children and grand-children grow up; to be married and have a family; to be confident in their appearance and to see themselves as beautiful. As their deeper motivations were revealed, their resolved was strengthened, and instead of saying, "Why do I have to turn down this fried food and this margarita," they instead said, "I am freely choosing to give this up in order to see a better thing come to pass."
Too often Christians seek to live a "good life" from motivations that will never sustain us. Fear of disappointing God, guilt over past mistakes, a desire to be liked by others - all of these motivations will eventually leave us dry and living under a system of rules designed to merely maintain life, rather than to push us to abundance in Christ.
Our mindset should not be "I have to follow God's rules." Instead, God's laws and instructions in Scripture guide us to the "get to life." We get to live in Christ, turning from the world and pressing toward the things of God. He has rescued us and recreated us in Christ to be His sons and daughters, our lives resonating with the life and voice of the Spirit. The "get to life" is a lasting motivation that frees us to embrace God's Kingdom growing within us, and it frees us to participate in building God's Kingdom in the world.