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When my son Noah was in preschool, he hated to get his school picture taken. No matter what we did or said, Noah wouldn’t smile. Exasperated, my wife said, “We’ll buy you a monster truck if you’ll smile!”

He immediately gave us the biggest, most amazing smile ever. Let me clarify — it was a toy monster truck. But it still worked like a charm for the next couple of years. Noah knew that if he did what we asked he would be rewarded.

A few years later, we began to teach Noah that the right thing to do is to smile because he loves his mother. It was hard for him to understand this at first, but when we pointed out that all throughout the year mommy and daddy bought him toys because we love him, not because he had done something to earn it, eventually it started to make sense to him.

Our Heavenly Father wants the same from us. His desire is for us to trust Him and obey Him because we love Him, not because we expect a reward or blessing, or to prevent some punishment. God always looks at our hearts, and therefore our motives.

Try it sometime. Do something really nice for someone (maybe your spouse or parent) without expecting anything in return, focusing on doing it because you love your Father and that person. Now that’s real love!

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