I can do one of two things for you as a pastor, as a Christian, as your friend. I can beat you up with rules and religion — “Do more, try harder!” — and I can make you conform your behavior. Like that guy who makes you jump during worship. It would be an external apparatus working on your outside, but it would never become a part of you. You’ll get short-term change, but Monday through Saturday when the fear is gone, the change won’t last.
Or the second thing I can do is: I can tell you about the grace of God, the goodness of God, and the love of God — where God loves you no matter what, without conditions, even counter-conditionally, through the depth of our very worst, at the cost of His very Son. So then our actions would spring out of gratitude for what He has done for us and for who He is. That comes not just from rules and religion, though those are important, but from a real living relationship with the living God. That’s the only pure sustainable motivation. Grace can take a lot longer than guilt-trips, but in the long-term, grace is the only thing that can internalize to change your heart.
— J.S. from The Christianese Dating Culture