For a sermon I gave several years ago, I jotted down a list and titled it "The Evolution of a Passion to Obey God." That passion doesn't just spring up, full-blown at salvation. We do enter our new life in Christ with a desire to please Him, and that does include obeying Him. But an intensely determined pursuit of His will develops more slowly.
In fact, the first stage--fear of the consequences of disobedience--barely qualifies as reverence for God. But as we progress in our faith and form a commitment to obey the Lord, we eventually reach the final stage, which is love and devotion to Christ. Wouldn't you rather follow Him out of love than out of fear?
Getting from the first stage to the last begins with what you might expect--an increasing knowledge of Jesus Christ. As we dig into God's Word to see how He provided for the saints, we develop a desire for His best. Men like Moses, David, and Paul weren't satisfied with what the world had to offer, and we won't be either when we witness His work in the lives of His followers. So we test out obedience and discover that God's promised blessings are real. As we acquire a record of consistent rewards for doing His will, we recognize the wisdom of obedience.
Can you find yourself on the spectrum between fear and devotion? It is my hope that you have committed to obeying God and that you are reading His Word daily to learn how to keep your promise. God wants your best--your passionate pursuit of His will--because He is giving His best to you.
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~