As a single male with no kids, I might not seem likely to be in the audience for Encouragement for Today, a devotional written to help women navigate everyday challenges with a Biblical mindset. Yet even though I’m not in the target demographic, every time I’ve taken the time to read Encouragement for Today I’ve been struck by how applicable the devotionals are to my life.
For example, yesterday’s devotional—written by best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst—focused on the topic of our spiritual motivations, a topic that’s been on my mind a lot recently. Lysa asks, “Do you do good things because you are loved, or so that you’ll be loved?” Asking yourself this simple question is a quick test of the motivations behind your actions. Lysa explains:
Doing something “so that we’ll be loved” is a trap many of us can get caught in. When I do something because I’m trying to get someone else to notice me, appreciate me, say something to build me up, or respect me more, my motives get skewed.
I become very “me” focused. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and the other person. And I can get stinkin’ angry when I don’t feel more noticed, appreciated, or respected.
I can get all twisted up and take my frustration out on myself and that person in an unfair way. I typically sabotage my own efforts and bend to discouragement and defeat.
But, doing something because I am loved is incredibly freeing.
I don’t view the relationship from the vantage point of what I stand to gain. Instead, I look at what I have the opportunity to give. I am “God focused” and love directed. I keep my expectations in check. And I am able to lavish the grace I know I so desperately need. I live free from regret with clarity of heart, mind, and soul.
Many of us, myself included, struggle with a perceived need to earn the love and grace that God freely offers us. But we can only extend true grace to others when we ourselves accept God’s freely-given grace for what it is. It’s that same grace which should motivate us to reach out to others.
If this resonates with you, you can sign up to receive daily devotionals like it at our Newsletters page. The Encouragement for Today website has an extensive archive of past devotionals if you want to explore further before signing up.