Monday, January 18, 2010

Paul's Laws of Motive

Law: a rule, principle, or fundamental condition regarded as governing the relationship of an element in the structure of something to the other elements therein contained.

Newton may have his three Law's of Motion, but the Apostle Paul has his own Law's of Human Motive that we would do well to study. Here he describes one of them:

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:14-20)

Do you believe that? That doesn't really help me feel so good about myself. That's not so positive and encouraging. It certainly doesn't help my personal concept of self-esteem and humanistic identity. However, Scripture never discusses these pop-psychology notions. A true picture of human nature is described (in the first person) by Paul. Believe it! It is the truth! It applied to him and it applies to you, me, and the people we lead - it is a
law. Leadership is all about people. Great leaders understand human nature - which is to say the indisputable laws that are at work in them, as well as those that govern the people they influence. You must become a law student, in this regard, to become a better leader. Study people, understand what directs them, consider the common conditions at work in the hearts of men.

Here's the rest of the Good News story - the answer to Paul's closing question: "Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7: 25) He is able to triumph over the law of sin at work within his people.

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