We like to silence various scriptures and teachings by saying “I don’t feel motivated to be good except by love. Commandments and wrath don’t motivate me.”
We are just showing what spoiled namby-pambys we are when we say that. Our children might say as much to us. And if we granted it to them, how good would they be?
They would be miserable brats who would find their way to hell and bring condemnation on our own heads in the processs, for we would be at fault for not having raised them up in the way they should go.
The scriptures may not contain any people as spoiled as ourselves to compare ourselves with. But we can still ask ourselves whether we, in place of Limhi’s people, would not “feel motivated to be good except by love” after suffering all that they endured at the Lord’s hand – for they knew and acknowledge who it was that afflicted them. Or we could ask whether we, in place of the Nephites after God wreaked havoc on their cities, swallowing them up in the earth, and in the sea, and destroying them by fire would turn to him and say “we do not feel motivated to be good except by love”.
Would we still insist then on maintaining our little tantrum?
I wasn’t there, but I hazard a guess they felt “motivated”.
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
How does this transformation fit with dictating to God what we will obey and what “motivates us”. Particularly when what “motivates us” is, conveniently, that he only say that which appears to us as offering us love and adoration – like a spoiled girlfriend we scoff at anything less than jewelry and fine chocolates and think to ourselves “what’s wrong with that? I’m worth it”.
If the scripture said we needed to become as a spoiled child, dictating to the Father how he may rightly raise us and under what conditions we will obey and just how he must say things if we are going to obey them then I guess that attitude will label us saints.
But that isn’t what it says, and as long as we stand by such attitudes we are still engaged in being an enemy to God, for we are not yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and submitting to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us, even as a child does submit to his father.