Session 8

Awe is the best motivation for action

From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study

Have you ever tried to collect payment from a dead man? It’s near impossible. Unless someone steps in to cover the bill, you’re out whatever you were owed.

Spiritually speaking, that is our condition before we meet Jesus. There is a sin debt to be paid, but we can't pay it because we are dead.

To pay off our debt, we'd have to be able to work. And that's a problem because dead people can't work. Even if dead people could work, what we'd earn wouldn't be sufficient for the debt we owe. Even if we had something of worth to give — which we don't — it wouldn't matter because dead people can't pay their bills.

Before Jesus, we're spiritually bankrupt with no way out. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4).

God loved us so much He sent Jesus to pay our debt and bring us back to life. Think about that: Not only are we debt-free, we’ve also been given the opportunity to enjoy our newfound freedom.

Just getting us out of debt would have been a big deal, but God goes one step further. He gives us a new life so we can do all the good things He planned for us before sin entered the world (Ephesians 2:9-10).

That means that the things we do for God, we don’t do to earn favor from God. We do things for God because we've received favor from Him! The awe that led David to pen these words is the same awe that leads us to serve.

“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5).

We work, serve, and give, not because we are trying to be made right with God but in response to what God has already done for us. Serving and giving is what happens when gratitude and worship overflow into action.

Reflect:

  • Think about some of the things you do “for God.” What motivates your serving and giving?
  • What do you love about God? Take a few minutes today to sit in awe of who He is and what He’s done for you.


8 of 30

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Are you living like you’ve been made new?

Pop psychology says we can overcome our problems and be a better version of ourselves. If you’ve ever tried that, you know it’s exhaustin...

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Session 2

What are you building your life on?

People-pleasing is an addiction of sorts. It starts with a craving for approval. Once we’ve experienced the applause and approval of men,...

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Session 3

Rules are easier, but a relationship is better

It’s easy to read Paul’s letter and wonder why people would turn back to the law. Why willing submit to keeping all 613 commandments of t...

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Session 4

It’s good to be a child of God

Ever notice how kids seem to fall asleep faster when mom or dad is in the room? The monster under the bed has nothing on mom or dad. And ...

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Session 5

What if freedom isn’t what you think it is?

Ever noticed how hard it can be to share an umbrella? A step too fast or a step too slow, and you’re left out in the rain. Pull too hard ...

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Session 6

Where to turn when your heart grows weary

Desperation can lead us to do things we’d never imagine. When the pain is overwhelming, the pill doesn’t look so bad. When our debt is cr...

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Session 7

What happens when knowing God becomes the reason we pray

Think about the last time someone was unexpectedly generous toward you. When a coworker drops everything to join you in the waiting room,...

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Session 8

Awe is the best motivation for action

Have you ever tried to collect payment from a dead man? It’s near impossible. Unless someone steps in to cover the bill, you’re out whate...

Read Devotional

Session 9

Good things can come from hard times

It’s easy to project our own definitions of “good,” “just,” and “loving” onto God. And why wouldn’t we? Before Jesus, all we know of good...

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Session 10

What it means to be a member of God’s family

When we ask Jesus into our lives, we become a part of His family forever. The same way that an adopted child takes on all the rights and ...

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Session 11

You are the light in the darkness

Remember the song “This Little Light of Mine”? Although simple, the song’s lyrics are packed with truth. When we find life in Christ, we ...

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Session 12

You’re not fighting a losing battle

You could look at the state of society and lament that “everything’s going to hell in a handbasket.”Sometimes, it seems as if lies flouri...

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Session 13

You can experience freedom in suffering

None of us are exempt from suffering. Just because we follow Jesus does not mean we are immune to hurt, doubt, and pain. The difference b...

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Session 14

You’re at your most powerful when you humble yourself

Psalm 14 describes the person who takes advantage of others as a fool. The fool stops seeking God’s will because he thinks he knows what’...

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Session 15

The power to defeat sin is in you but not of you

We often find ourselves in a battle between what our flesh wants and what God wants for us. So we try harder. We make more rules. We come...

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Session 16

Where we go to find joy in any circumstance

Every romantic comedy has a moment where the guy tells something along these lines:"I’ll be fine as long as I have you."It’s a sweet sent...

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Session 17

Learn to see yourself as God sees you

Before Jesus set us free from sin and death, we were alienated from God. The chasm between us was too much to overcome on our own.This es...

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Session 18

How to stand strong when trouble comes your way

When planted, the seed has to break or die. It’s impossible for a seed to become a beautiful flower or delicious vegetable without breaki...

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Session 19

We don’t have to wait for eternity

Summer sunsets are the best. As the light slowly fades, brilliant oranges and bold reds paint the sky with color and texture that’s hard ...

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Session 20

One way to know if you’re walking in wisdom

It doesn’t take long to learn that how we speak to and about others matters. At some point, we’ve all reaped the consequences of snapping...

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Session 21

The faith-filled life is a dependent life

Following Jesus has never come without challenges. Wherever the good news was preached, persecution seemed to follow (1 Thessalonians 2:1...

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Session 22

Three ways to stand firm as we wait for Jesus’ return

2 Thessalonians is Paul’s second letter to the church in Thessalonica. After commending the church, Paul goes on to appeal to them to “st...

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Session 23

You can’t do this on your own

Sheep are never more free than when they’re following their shepherd. The shepherd knows them better than they know themselves. As he gui...

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Session 24

Who’s running the show?

God is sovereign. That’s why Paul encouraged Timothy and other believers to pray for their government leaders — the same officials who we...

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Session 25

Learning to be disciplined and dependent

God gives us freedom in Jesus freely; it’s a gift.At the same time, we live daily, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. So ...

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Session 26

When the way down is really the way up

Jesus turns the world’s values upside down. In His kingdom, those the world calls wise are really foolish. Those we see as rich are often...

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Session 27

What to remember when fear leaves you paralyzed

We have all experienced fear. The fear of loneliness or loss, the fear of uncertainty or being misunderstood, the fear of rejection or si...

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Session 28

A secret to hearing God’s voice clearly

We all have teams we support and wear their colors proudly. But does wearing our favorite player’s jersey give us their athletic skill? O...

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Session 29

Why you should get passionate about your spiritual health

As the early church grew, Paul spent much of his time writing to younger leaders to encourage, equip, correct, and impart wisdom. He task...

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Session 30

Where would you be without the Gospel?

In Psalm 30, David praises God for delivering him from death’s hand. David was delivered from death physically and spiritually. Onesimus,...

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