Years ago I owned a childcare center. There were times when the classes would get chaotic (keeping 20 two year olds behaving all day is hard work). The most effective way to quiet them and get them todo what you wanted was through positive reinforcement. The teacher would find someone doing what they wanted and say, “Oh I love how Tarissa is sitting!” Suddenly another kid would do what she was doing in order to be recognized. If you really wanted results, you’d praise her with words and give her a reward for obeying. In no time flat, all the kids would start mimicking her behavior so they could be recognized and receive a reward.
So many times, we think of God as someone who is up there waiting to punish us for doing wrong. I believe He’s more like a patient teacher who uses positive reinforcement to help us down the paths He has for us. There are rewards and blessings that He has for those who obey His Word. Yes, there are consequences for disobedience, but God motivates us through rewards. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate being rewarded for doing what’s expected.
Here are some Bible verses on the rewards God has for us.
1. And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 TPT
2. For God will reward each of us according to what we have done.
Romans 2:6 GNT
3. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:9 NLT
4. Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished together, but that you may receive a full and perfect reward [when He grants rewards to faithful believers].
2 JOHN 1:8 AMP
5. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
James 1:12 MSG
Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash
Positive reinforcement is a great tool to encourage people to continue doing what they’re doing. It rewards them for a job well done. Many companies are like mine where they give bonuses if you meet the goals the company sets for you or if you help the company meet their goals. For me, that last one comes once a year. It’s easy to forget several months in that I will be rewarded next year if I help the company achieve its goals long term. Sometimes it feels like a chore having to do the things I have to do because I forget about the reward at the end.
In II Chronicles 15, King Asa must have been feeling the same. He was the first king in a while to remember God. He got rid of most of the idols and shrines. He even removed his grandmother from the role of queen mother because of her love for idols. He also defeated armies with over three times as many men. God was blessing him, but he was starting to lose sight of the positive reinforcement that God was using to bless him for doing what he was supposed to do.
The spirit of God came on Azariah and he went to the king to deliver a message from God. In verse 7, he said, “But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded” (GNT). I believe God is saying that to you and I today. He wants to encourage us to continue doing the work He called us to. I know that we can feel like God has forgotten us as we focus on completing and doing the work He’s given us, but He hasn’t forgotten us. We will be rewarded.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.” God believes in positive reinforcement. He has given us many promises in His Word to keep doing the work even though it gets tiring and mundane. If we will continue to do what He’s called us to, we will reap a harvest and a reward. Don’t quit doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t give up. God sees what you’re doing even if others don’t. He won’t fail in delivering on His promise to you.
This is a guest post from Chris Brown, Missions School Director with Coreluv.org. You can visit his site BrownsMission.com to follow his journey.
Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (NLT). In Chip Ingram’s book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, he points out that the later half of the verse is as equally important as the first. When we step out in faith, to fulfill the work He called us to do, our lives must be marked with an active faith. It is the only way to truly know Him and have a genuine, intimate relationship with God. While his love is unconditional and unending, His pleasure in us is limited by our faith in Him.
We must seek Him first (Matt 6:33) and stop seeking the things, career, people, and possessions that only serve to ensnare. Yes, it goes against our very nature, but we must resist the urge to take a break from God, and instead, fan the flame of our love for Him and smother-out our love of self. Solitude with God is the fuel of longevity and success in the Kingdom. As we pour ourselves out in service to God, we must not give into the desire to take a break and escape – for fear of burnout. Instead, we must withdrawal only to “sincerely seek Him” and to receive the rewards of endurance, peace, faith, strength, restoration, and joy that He gives.
Live your life seeking Him above all things and never let anyone or any circumstance tell you that HE is not enough or able to be all you will ever need. Vacations and sabbaticals will come and serve to make us stop the busyness of life, regroup, and connect with friends and family. But they should never entail absence from God or our service to others. They should actually provide us the time and opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the biggest possible way! So GO – pursue God and find your rest in Him.