Here is the wrong motivation, your love for the Lord to serve others above self. If you are using your “love for the Lord” over and above your “love for sin” as the motivation to obey, you have not appropriately crucified the flesh in your mind.
It was not Paul’s love for the Lord, that motivated him to conduct himself in certain manner, avoid certain behavior, adopt other practices. It was not Paul’s desire to perfect his flesh that gave Paul cause to sin less and to love people more.
It was Christ’s love for Paul demonstrated through his accomplishment on Paul’s behalf that constrained our apostle. When we tie our performance to our righteousness in Heaven, rather than attributing our righteousness in Heaven to our new identity IN Christ, we are missing what Paul wants us to see in Romans Chapter 6.
If you suppose that your flesh is capable of performing to the measure of the righteousness belonging to God himself, that would be described as “walking after the flesh,” you are only fooling yourself.
A quest for righteousness before God through performance is the wrong motivation for doing the things that Paul calls on every believer to do and for abstaining from the particular behavior Paul would have us avoid. Whose love was it that restrained our apostle? Was it his love for Christ, or was it Christ’s love for Paul? 2 Corinthians 5:14
If you remove the motivation to live Godly, people are just going to go out and live any old way they please. People have such a hard time when their motivation is based on the false assumption that God gave to Israel a law contract in order to provide for them the motivation necessary for them to live righteously.
God designed the law to make sin show its hand, to make sin abound, so that they could look at that picture of the law and look at themselves and say, “These pictures do not match up,” so that they could see that their sin was exceedingly sinful.
But even with the proper motivation, even with grace as our motivating agent, the flesh is never capable of performing to the standard necessary for righteousness, when righteousness before God is linked to people’s performance.
People must rid themselves of the tendency to think that God is dealing with people as he has dealt in time past, when the law program was the order of the day. Paul wants us to understand and understand fully that motivation to do righteousness is the exact opposite of what our natural minds suppose it to be.
God did not design the law to enable Israel to live righteously unto him or to give them the motivation to do it. Take away the law Paul and you have taken away the motivation people need to do good and to avoid evil, that is the way the natural mind works.
That is really the heart and soul of the argument Paul faced when he preached: you are not under the law, but under grace! Romans 6:14
Salvation, justification unto eternal life is a gift of God, how could we enhance or add to that gift by our righteous works? Justification unto eternal life is entirely a work of God for the believer, not a work of the believer for God. No effort of our flesh could accomplish it. No effort of the saint can add to it!
This is itself is the motivation for a believer to bring the body into subjection to what God had done freely for the ungodly as we place our faith in what Christ accomplished for our sin debt, when he died for those sins. 1 Corinthians 9:27, is Paul talking about Christianizing the flesh and making it better flesh, capable of doing more things?
Paul was motivated in that sense to bring the body into subjection, to keep those desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to keep it at bay and not let that reign supreme, when it came to his activities and his actions.
Paul had all the motivation that Paul needed to bring his body into subjection to whatever degree possible for Paul, not allowing it to reign supreme, when it came to his actions. But, had Paul arrived when it came to the sacrifice of himself for the sake of those to whom he had been sent? That was Paul’s prayer, that was his great desire.
Paul prayed that he might be made conformable unto Christ’s death. Christ sacrificed himself for the sake of his Father’s enemies, Paul wanted to be made conformable to Christ’s selflessness. But, Paul had not arrived at Christ’s selflessness, Philippians 3:12.
You see, even with the proper motivation, the flesh is incapable of removing self from our service. Paul was not able to divorce self from his service, when it came to what he did on behalf of others. We have been motivated to serve, but thank God that our destiny, our blessings are not dependent on our serving.