"So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD." Lev. 22:31-33
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward You are serving the Lord Christ." Col. 3:23,24
It isn't what we do, or how we do it, it's Who we do it for.
Leviticus is full of really hard laws. Everything in the tabernacle must be done just so. Absolute perfection is required of both the sacrifices and the priests who serve. Now we know that perfection was needed because it was a picture of the Perfect Sacrifice and Perfect High Priest, but that wasn't quite as clear to those who had to keep the laws. I can imagine the priests listening and thinking, "How can I ever keep all of this straight? Is it even worth it?"
In a similar way, the Law of Love is hard. Patience, humility, counting others more significant than ourselves... seriously? Our culture and our selfishness insist that a life like that is crazy. Why would we work toward those goals? I mean, sure, living at peace with all men sounds great, but not if that means living a life of inconvenience and pain, right?
And so God gives us a reason.
You're not working for people who will take advantage of and disappoint you.
You're not working so that you can check off everything on a cold, impersonal checklist.
You're not working to make yourself look or feel better.
You're not working to be accepted into a group or organization.
Most likely, as you work all of those things will come about in some way or another.
But none of these are the encouragement that God gives us.
We work and die to ourselves because the One who loved us when we were unloveable asked us to. We work because the One who rescued us from Egypt, Who called us out of Chaos into Order, has asked us to. We offer our lives as a living sacrifice, because the Perfect Sacrifice died for us!
We're not working for them. We love, because He first loved us. Because His Spirit is in us, enabling us to follow His example. Our True Love is helping us to have all of the character traits that we love and admire in Him!
He loves us, my siblings, and He's gone to great lengths to rescue us and prove that love to us. Now He asks that we follow His example and show the world how He loves us, and He gives us the ability to do it. Is anything too hard when you know it will make your Beloved smile?
Be encouraged: HE is worth it!
Peace to you,
*Title taken from lyrics to "Love is a Good Thing" by Andrew Peterson