Friday, January 2, 2015


The CARROT and STICK is an age-old example of effective motivation. Presumably, if you dangle a carrot in front of mule, he will go forward in pursuit of the carrot. If the mule cannot be moved by the carrot, the stick will be applied to drive him forward. It is a simple illustration of REWARDS and PUNISHMENT. However primitive the example is, it is nevertheless an accurate depiction of how men are motivated by the prospect of receiving a reward for progress, or being punished for a lack of progress.

God has employed the carrot and stick throughout the Bible - HEAVEN as an eternal reward for obedience, and HELL as an eternal punishment for disobedience. Nobody taught this concept more than Jesus Christ Himself.

It works for me. I am sufficiently motivated by the offer of ETERNAL LIFE in God's Heaven, with Jesus Christ, His angels, and the saints of all the ages. I am sufficiently deterred by the dreadfulness of HELL, eternal torments, pain and regrets. I do believe that I have an eternal soul, and that my eternal destiny is mine to choose.

Sadly, this generation does not seem to be affected by the carrot and the stick. Many of them reject the concept of eternal rewards and eternal punishments, choosing instead the beggarly elements of this world for their reward, and defiant denial that they will ever be punished for any wrong. It is ultimately a personal choice.

I am convinced of the supernatural power of God to save and to destroy; to create this universe, give life to all things living, sustain this miraculous environment we live in, or to pronounce death and destruction. I genuinely believe in God, and that He is embodied in Jesus Christ. I believe the miracles of the Bible, not the least of which is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consequently, I believe in Heaven and Hell.

Conversely, I am convinced that anyone who rejects the carrot and stick of Heaven and Hell must certainly be an atheist. And I agree with the Psalmist who said, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" If you cannot be motivated to righteousness by Heaven, and cannot be deterred from sin by Hell, you obviously do not believe there is a God, and are therefore identified by the scriptures as a fool.

I can only appeal to your good senses and urge you to consider that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by an eternal, life-giving God. Do not spurn God's carrot and stick. Do not despise the eternal reward of Heaven, or scoff at the eternal punishment of Hell.

ESAU despised the great reward, choosing a small, insignificant, temporal reward instead. He chose a bowl of beans instead of multi-generational blessings of God. Don't fall into the ESAU pit. In time, he regretted his choice, but it was too late. The reward was given to another, and it could not be restored.

Jesus taught that the poor but godly man, Lazarus, died and received his reward. The rich and sinful man died and received his punishment. "And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented," Luke 16:24-25.

The CARROT. The STICK. HEAVEN and HELL. It is no joking matter. God wants you and me to love Him and obey His Word. He has applied the perfect carrot and the perfect stick. If you and I cannot be moved to love and serve Him by these, then we are among the greatest fools of all time.

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