Daily Devotions

No More Carrots and Sticks

Carrots and Sticks, reward and punishment--these are the two forces that govern almost all human behavior. 

We do good to get a carrot, a reward: we show up for work, work hard, help others, often with the expectation of receiving something back, whether that's a paycheck or a feeling of satisfaction. 

And we avoid doing bad to avoid punishment: we pay our bills to avoid bigger bills, slow down to avoid sppeding tickets, and curb our impulses, knowing that we will suffer more if we don't. 

Virtually every human interaction (and every man-made religion) has been governed by these two forces. But then, God introduces another factor: grace. When God appeared, he put an end to motivation by guilt, fear, shame, or obligation. Instead, what motivates and empowers us? God's love. 

"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." - Titus 2:11-14 

Lord Jesus, you have made us your very own people. Make us eager to do good not in order to avoid punishment or gain a reward, but rather, because you already have taken away our punishment and given us heaven. Amen.