How much of what you do for Christ do you perform out of obligation, and how much is done in love. We choose how we serve; we have been given free will and therefore we are as gods, (Psalm 82:6) the decisions that we make are therefore entirely accountable only to ourselves.
There is an almost oxymoronic statement applied to the born-again believer, but one that is truth, we are the only ones to blame when we sin, God is to receive all the glory for all other actions. The life we lead we lead by the conscious decisions of our own actions, unless there is a form of external bondage placed upon us, all that we do we do because we choose to do it. These can range from imprisonment, the moral structures that man has placed upon us, or the obligations that we feel we are responsible for. You do not need to provide for your family either materialistically or spiritually, that is your choice, if you do not perform these duties, you will be counted as worse than an infidel, (1 Tim. 5:8) but nevertheless the choice still remains yours.
Herein is the balancing point we attempt to achieve throughout the entirety of our lives, how have we as individuals decided to exercise our free will, and for what end result. Within the constraints and conditions that Almighty God has placed upon His creation, we are free to do anything that we desire to do, there are also those same set-up applications, although to a lesser degree, that have been set upon us by man, in either one, a breaking of those constraints will inevitably lead to some form of adverse effect, most generally in a negative terminology. Kill someone with intent of malice and get caught doing the deed, and your ability to move freely upon the planet will most likely be removed from you, and so therefore it is within your best interest to adhere to the rules and regulations set upon us.
But what if you do not get caught, what of that candy bar you took without paying for it, there was no ensuing punishment because no one saw you do it. Herein is where the Christian will say, “God saw the deed,” and truth has been told, yes, He did, but what was the punishment. No matter the act of sin, it will be punished if it is not repented of, but when, next week, a year from now? “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numb. 32:23) There is the issue at hand, are you doing all that you do out of a truly abiding love for Christ, or out of the obligations that you feel because of the possibility of punishment, either temporal or eternal, what are the determining factors in the exercise of your free will in relation to the walk with Christ that you are to be on. Do you modify those intentions in regard to the possible consequences that may arise because of your actions, or because of your love for Him?
Our Lord has put eternity into the heart of every person that has ever been born, but that does not mean we have to listen, free will knows no bondage save for that which we have previously mentioned, but this placement of eternity has purposed within the heart of every man the knowledge that there is more after this life, and so not only has He set in place moral laws based, at least in part, on this inner knowledge, but the possibilities of punishment for actions that go against these laws, whether they be physical or moral. The construct of these moral laws have of course been increased exponentially by man, this is expected, make someone by your actions or words feel bad, feel demoralized, and you will face a fine or worse. The man of God will need to in the future, and in many places now as it always has been, decide where he stands, for the truths of the Word of God do not fit in with the moral structure of man.
It is here that you will be known, where we decide to make a stand shows us who we are, whether we serve in love or out of obligations. You cannot trust in the Lord with all your heart (Prov. 3:5) and continue to lean on your own understanding, our Lord is not obligated to tell His servants His plan for their lives, and we are under no obligation to adhere to those plans, we do so out of love. There is the truth that keeps appearing in so many of these letters to you, the consequences of our actions should never be regarded if we know the actions are produced by the Holy Spirit of the Almighty within us, we are to go forward in the complete and unwavering confidence that who we serve is worth serving.
You can do anything you want to do at anytime you desire to do so, only the constraints of the physical laws that God has placed on His creation hold us back from going further, the moral constraints, the eternity within us, can be negated, the moral constructs of man can be disregarded, they hold no value unless you are caught. It is good to serve Christ out of obligation, but if those obligations are not rooted in love, they are nothing more than a routine, repetitive motion that holds no value. If you are performing them out of fear of the possible consequences to your actions in regard to the eternal, then you do not yet know the peace that passes all understanding, (Phil. 4:7) you do not yet comprehend the love that placed itself on that cross that day. Love for Christ is all that should ever obligate us in everything we choose to do, all else is only done in fear.