What motivates you to keep the commandments?
It seems that celestial motivation is based on love: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Only when we obey because we love God, and want to be close to Him and the love He continually offers us, does our obedience become celestial.
It seems that terrestrial motivation is based on incentives. Blessings is what one seeks in the middle-kingdom version of the gospel. If you pay your tithing, we like to say, you won’t be burned at the Lord’s coming. We jokingly call it fire insurance. When we obey to receive blessings, particularly blessings that magnify the status of the natural man and/or make our lives here in hell more comfortable, our obedience feels terrestrial. We have quite a bit of wordly success literature that permeates our culture. From the seven habits to our reverence for institutionalized education and delight with members who achieve significant worldly acclaim, we obey to get stuff all the time. How often have you heard a member claim that Covey’s seven principles are just principles of the gospel re-packaged in a vocabulary that the world can understand? We love us them blessings.
Telestial motivation is all about fear. If you don’t keep the commandments you will be thrust down to everlasting burnings in hell.
What is our default motivational approach when we encourage others to keep the commandments? How about when we want children to comply with our desires? Do we show our love for others, and then ask, no strings attached, for their help, forgiving them if they don’t comply? Or do we immediately offer them money or other incentives to encourage obedience? Or even worse, do we threaten them? “Take the dishes out or you’re grounded.” Shouldn’t we try to use the highest level of motivation possible?
Understanding why we obey is important.