I once read the story of an eight-year-old boy who was instructed by his mother to hoe the family garden. His mother told him to hoe two rows of beans. She showed him exactly how she wanted him to do it, and told him, “Now, when you get through, tell me so I can come and look it over.” When he finally finished according to her instructions, he called her to inspect it. She took one look at it and shook her head in disapproval, “Well, son, it looks like you’re going to have to redo this. For most boys this would be all right. But you are not most boys: you are my son. And my son can do better than this!”

Did his mother stop loving him because he did not hoe the garden to perfection? No. She simply expected that he could do better. And God expects the same of us.

After we receive Christ by faith and know that He accepts us and loves us just the way we are, we will find ourselves wanting to obey God. We desire to do good things for others because God has forgiven us and changed us inside. Paul told the Ephesians, “…He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10).

God’s life in us causes us to do good things for others. He changes our character. His love for us motivates us to do good things for the right reason. We don’t do good things for others because we want to become right with God. We do good things for others because we are right with God.