Why do people do good things?

We are often moved by external motivators.

–          Positive motivators or  “Carrots”

–          Negative motivators or “Whips”

We can also have internal motivators.

–          We want to do something because we see value in it.

–          It is our natural reaction.

External motivators are a lousy way to live a good life.

Philemon 14: so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

Paul was about to make a big request of Philemon. However, he was not only interested that Philemon do the good thing. He wanted him to do the right thing for the right reason.

Paul did not want Philemon to do the right thing because he was coerced. He was not interested in people being feared, shamed, or seduced into conformity.

Paul wanted Philemon to do the good out of his own free choice. He wanted people to live lives of grace and peace because they were touched by the grace and peace of King Jesus.

God does not call a people who simply conform out of external pressures. God calls a people who are changed internally and therefore live different lives.

I have asked myself this question a lot recently: Why do I do good things?

I am often tempted to act certain ways or say certain things because of the response of others – either gaining praise or avoiding conflict or shame. It is an act that cannot be sustained.

I need something more, something internal. I need the grace and peace of God to mold me so that I naturally live grace and peace, regardless of the praise or conflict that it might bring.

Why do you do good things?

To gain external praise, acceptance, blessings?

To avoid shame, conflict, punishment?

Life under king Jesus can be more free and more powerful than navigating external motivators. God’s grace and peace can transform  us into new people, a good people who do good.