January 17, 2023

Motivated by Love to Do Good

Written by Shana Schutte

You will experience the most joy when you are serving Me out of the right motives.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 17, 2023

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Corinthians 3:17

This morning as another day of the New Year unfolds, I’m thinking about years past and seasons the Lord has brought me through—including a season when serving the Lord felt like a burden. It didn’t feel like a burden because I didn’t want to serve Him, but because I felt unloved by Him. As a result, my service was overshadowed by legalism. . .a feeling that I had to serve Him, or He would be unhappy with me. I felt I had to earn His love. 

How wrong I was. 

I’m thankful that this challenging time has long since passed and that the Lord restored me to knowing I am deeply loved, because He is Love. Now, I so enjoy serving from a heart that wants to, rather than from a heart that feels I have to. 

When we know we are loved and we are in a loving relationship with Him, service becomes an expression of affection for Him and an expression of partnership with Him, rather than action done out of guilt, fear, or shame. 

During the time when I believed I had to earn God’s love, I took a long weekend away to a quiet retreat where I could listen for the Lord’s voice, pray, and talk with Him. 

His truth filled my mind. He taught me afresh that living in His love needs to be the reason for doing good works for Him. I’d like to share some of the truth that He shared with me. I hope it encourages you. 

When you are living in My love, and your heart is filled with the knowledge of My love, then you will be motivated to do good works for me.

When you are convinced there is nothing you can do to earn my love, your motive will not be to earn my favor by what you do, but you will be motivated out of gratitude and joy to serve me.

In this there is freedom.

Doing works to try and earn My favor is death. But doing good works from a place of gratitude brings life and joy. 

You will be able to tell when you start to live like an orphan, because you will begin to strive and panic. You will feel as if you are not doing enough for Me. You will begin to feel like a slave.

But living from a place of deep knowledge of My love—that doesn’t just fill your head, but fills your heart—is liberating. You are not a slave, but My beloved child!

I want you to know the joy that comes from serving Me with the right motives—and that only comes when you are convinced of my love. Be convinced of my love. 

You belong to me.

You will experience the most joy when you are serving me out of the right motives.
If you are serving me to try to gain My favor, or if you are serving Me to prove that you are good enough, or if you are trying to build yourself up and find significance through what you do, you will never do enough to experience joy. Nothing you will do will ever fill you up. It will be like pouring water into a pitcher with a hole in the bottom. You can never do enough to experience significance and joy through what you do. Joy only comes from knowing Me and serving me from a heart that knows me and knows My love. This is life. Know me, and you will experience life. 

You belong to me.

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).


Lord! You are so good! How can I thank you for your great and deep love for me? How can I thank you for setting me free from the slavery of believing I have to earn your love? Fill me up with a deep knowledge of your love for me and give me the desire to serve you that comes from a heart firmly rooted in freedom. Amen.


Go outside where it’s quiet and you are alone. Then yell the above prayer into the sky in exuberation!

Related Reading

Galatians 5:1; Romans 8:15-16; Psalm 51:12

Worship Resource

Hillsong Worship: To You


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