There is an old fable about a dog that boasted of his ability as a runner. One day he chased a rabbit and failed to catch it. The other dogs ridiculed him on account of his previous boasting. His reply was, “you must remember that the rabbit was running for his life, while I was only running for my dinner.” Another story that illustrates the same thing was told by Bobby Dodd, a coach and athletic director at Georgia Tech. A team was leading 7 to 6 with a minute to play, and the coach had instructed the quarterback not to pass the ball under any condition. But when the ball was moved to the ten yard line, the quarterback was overcome with temptation when he saw an opportunity to pass. The ball was intercepted by the opponent’s fleetest back and he started toward the opposite goal line. As he crossed the fifty yard line, from nowhere, the quarterback who had thrown the pass caught him and brought him down. Afterward, the losing coach said that he did not understand how the boy overtook his fastest back. The winning coach said, “Well, your back was running for a touchdown—my boy was running for his life”! Motivation can make a great difference!
Each individual chooses his attitude, because he chooses what he will think about, believe and purpose. Others may physically restrain us from doing wrong, but they cannot make us worship God. Those who have no respect for God or self cannot respect others and cannot command the respect of others. We are what we are because of what we want to be!
Adam and Eve knew everything they needed to know in order to please God, and they knew the consequences of disobeying, but they sinned because they wanted the rewards of disobedience. The motivation for personal pleasure overcame the motivation to obey God. That is what sin is.
Many things may contribute to poor attitudes—evil companions, constant pressure on the job, at home or in the church, or sin in one’s life. These bad influences can be overcome by a true faith in God and a commitment to please Him. God made us creatures of choice and He holds us accountable for the choices we make, therefore it is possible for a person to overcome evil influences and be governed by proper motivations.