Who is your king? For some, it’s money; others, power; others, fame; and still others, the desire to live the “easy” or “lazy” lifestyle. Mine is definitely people of the female gender. Women run my life, not just in the literal since of having a mother and two sisters who always have things for me to do, but in the sense that I always want to be around them, having fun, and being in a relationship is a big deal to me. So is it okay for us all to have different motivations? Or is there some universal motivator out there that should really be driving our behavior?
Writing to the Romans, Paul tells us that sin is a basic facet within us – that the earthly sinful desires we have drive our decisions and that is not good. Paul does reveal to us a central dialectical process going on within ourselves. We have the opposing forces of our sinful desires and our “inner being that delights in the law of God.” (Rom. 7: 22.) This is problematic, for in the words of the psalmist, “The Lord is King.... Everyone who worships idols is put to shame; all the gods bow down before the Lord.” (Ps 97:1, 7.) This then declares that God should be our king; he should be our primary motivation. So how does one resolve this conflict of interests? How does one put an end to the struggle between the will and laws of God and our own sinful desires and pleasures?
The answer to this is found in John, where we are told the story of Jesus walking on water during a storm, and the apostles accepting him into their boat. As he does so, the waters are calmed, and they reach the other side safely. This is an allegory for our own lives. God who brings “righteousness and fairness” (Ps. 99:4) will calm the storm of our hearts and bring peace. Jesus will give us the way safely to the shore which we wish to land upon, the Lord’s kingdom. Providing us comfort, strength, and peace, Jesus should be the primary motivator of our lives. We should all live in the spirit – praising God and doing our best to please his sight, knowing that our sinful self has died with Christ upon that cross through baptism, and thus we are free of its curse.