At the end of parshas Shelach Lecha, we have the incident with the mekoshesh, in which a man is found deliberately desecrating Shabbes and is put to death as a result. Immediately after, we are given the mitzvah of tzitzis. The Tanna DeBei Eliyahu (via the Ohr HaChaim) explains the connection: after this person was punished, Moshe entreated HaShem and said that the reason the mekoshesh found it possible to sin was that he was not wearing tefillin (one may not wear tefillin on Shabbes). Therefore, HaShem gave the mitzvah of tzitzis as a reminder of His mitzvos, even to be worn on Shabbes. Now, in order to punish this man with death, two witnesses had to come up to him immediately before he sinned and warn him that the act which he is about to do carries with it the death penalty, and the man must respond 'I am doing it for that.' This had to have happened with the mekoshesh, otherwise he would not have received the death penalty. If the fear of being put to death did not deter this man from sinning, how would wearing tefillin have helped? The answer is precisely the point which we have been discussing. The warning of death is a negative motivation, and was not enough to stop this man's sin. Wearing tefillin, on the other hand (and on the head!), would have been a different kind of motivation - it would have enabled him to look up for a moment and notice that he is a child of HaShem and has the important job of doing mitzvos in this world. It is this positive realisation of self-importance that would have caused the mekoshesh to automatically disassociate himself from sin.
Rabbi Twerski (Angels Don't Leave Footprints) puts it in parable form: a person who buys a brand new Porsche will drive it extra carefully to make sure they do not scratch it, whilst someone who drives an old banged-up car will not be as careful. If one viewed themselves with such importance as the new expensive car, then they too would be careful to treat themselves properly so as not get any spiritual scratches on themselves.

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