Being duty driven doesn’t sound fun. Reading your Bible, attending the gatherings of the church, praying and serving just because it’s your Christian duty is not an appealing way to live the Christian life. But is it always wrong?
So the mornings I wake up and don’t feel like reading my Bible should I bother? Is it better not to go to the prayer meeting if duty is my only motive? Should I fear that because habit and duty are driving me not love and joy that I will gain nothing from the exercise?
Richard Sibbes (Google him!) in his famous book “The Bruised Reed” has this to say about the benefits of continuing for duty’s sake even when our feelings and emotions are some where behind where they should be.
“Feeling and freeness of spirit are often reserved until duty is discharged. Reward follows work. In and after duty we find that experience of God’s presence which, without obedience, we may long wait for, and yet go without.”
Sibbes’ point is that duty is often the road to Christian joy. He suggests that reading my Bible this morning just because I know I should is the route to experiencing the presence of God which my duty driven heart really needs.
Sibbes says all this to encourage us. God is well able to handle, forgive and work around my broken motives to give me by his grace a taste of his goodness which I don’t deserve.