Emotion follows action. In a nutshell – if you don’t feel like doing something, just do it, and the “want to” will eventually follow. This is something we’ve all experienced. Let me give you a verse of Scripture and a brief example. Mathew 6:21 teaches us that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. This verse does not just teach us that your money is an indicator of your affections, the reverse is also true. If you’re not into something, start investing your time and/or treasure and your emotions will soon follow. By way of an every day example, consider the physical attraction between a guy and girl. After he woos her and they get hitched, the “love at first sight” stuff wears off in a couple years and they’re left as two ordinary people, with ordinary problems, in a ordinary house, with ordinary kids, living ordinary lives. Most counselors will say something like, “Love is not a feeling. It’s a choice. Emotion follows action. Start investing time into one another and the feelings will soon follow.”
I am afraid this advice leaves out a big piece of the pie – motivation. I can’t help but ask, what is your motivation? Let’s turn it around and I’ll ask myself the questions. Did I begin throwing cash in the offering plate as a “peace offering” with God in hopes of getting out of my financial crisis? Am I treating my wife with kindness so that I can motivate her to fulfill my needs? Too often, we approach life with a transaction mindset. We make deals with God and the people around us to get what we want. Striving for the right results with the wrong motivation is not right and will not produce lasting fruit. The fruit of the spirit is just that – fruit. It is is not the goal! Walking in the spirit is the goal and the fruits flow out of a spirit controlled life.
So what is your motivation? Since we started with money, let’s end with money. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. I hope that our motivation is God’s pleasure and that our actions will flow from a life that is under the spirits control.