Christians obey God out of love, not fear, Pastor Rick Warren says.
Warren, who heads the popular Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, explains in his daily devotional published Thursday that while many non-Christians might wrongfully assume that believers obey God out of fear, Christians are actually happy to obey God because of His love for them.
“Why do we obey God? Nonbelievers get this wrong all the time. They say, ‘I don’t want to be a Christian because I don’t want to obey God. You believers obey Him out of guilt or fear or obligation, and I don’t want that for my life,” Warren writes.
“Why do we really obey God? Because He loves us! He wants the best for us. He loves you like nobody else will ever love you. The Bible says the only reason there’s love in the world is because God is love. We don’t obey God out of fear or guilt or obligation. We obey God out of love because He loved us and saved us,” the megachurch pastor adds.
Warren goes on to say that once believers find Jesus and form a close relationship with Him, following His Word becomes easier. Having found a deeper meaning to their lives, Christians no longer seek cheap thrills, such as drugs or sex.
The megachurch pastor uses the example of being a Christian in high school, and explaining to a nonbeliever that he is no longer tempted by sinful habits because such things are “cheap, phony thrills that seem to give a temporary kick to life but then they kick back. They might look like freedom, but they don’t last, and they lead to despair, not dignity — depression, not delight.”
Warren concludes his message by citing John 15:9-11, which draws a connection between God’s love and our obedience.