This Ink with Pen and Brush is a view of neighbors across the pond from our dining window that I drew last winter from my photos. Our Minnesota ‘Winter Wonderland’ is on the way!

What might you guess is my motive in using this particular Art for our Thought–Motive?  If your answer is something akin to “I don’t know” then, you’re close to my answer as well.  One of mine is to reflect on the relative ‘peacefulness’ of how things were in our world the first day of Fall in 2019 (aka the ‘Old Normal’)!  


What Is A Motive?

MOTIVE IS A REASON for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious. Motive is something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc. Three other words come to mind: purpose, intent and goal.

“Fact Checking”

WE HEAR LOTS this pre-election season about ‘fact checking’: Is the alleged factual content of political ads, speeches and news coverage accurate?  I sometimes come away with a feeling that the ‘fact checking’ needs ‘checking’.   Why?  One reason has to do with our word motive.  I understand that each candidate’s motive is to win the election.   If that was not the case, why even bother?

Can Motives Be ‘Checked’?

HOW CAN ANYONE check a motive behind action or words? Is that possible?  It’s been suggested that if you wish to understand why (motive) someone is doing or saying something:  Look at the consequences of their words and actions.  If doing something that is making everyone around them suspicious, unsettled, miserable (and maybe even themselves):  One hypothesis is they are actually trying to make everyone around them suspicious, unsettled, miserable, etc. It’s hard for most to understand why people will do things like that.  But, it may actually be their goal. 

Where are Motives Born?

WHERE DO MOTIVES originate?  One’s motive may be influenced by environment—by other people or events.  A well-known comedian, when confronted with wrongdoing would say: “The Devil made me do it!” Not true! The ‘Devil’ may influence your motive but not make you say or do anything. That motive comes from a deeper place. Our motives, our intents, and our desires originate from our heart. …He [the Lord] will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart…1 Corinthians 4:5.    All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Proverbs 16:2. Motives originate from the heart. 

What’s In My Heart?

WHAT RESOURCES ARE available in my heart? They will frame my motive and effect my use of words and actions. That’s what will be heard and seen by those around me. For the follower of Jesus, It begins with God.   When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our heart….”  Galatians 4:6.

The Holy Spirit in your heart produces… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22, 23a.  The key characteristic is love. Thomas Aquinas said, “…Love is born of earnest consideration of the object loved. It tends to generate that same love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in those who are observing and hearing your example. 

What Are We Modeling For The Future?

ARE WE GIVING the next generation a worthy reputation to live up to?  Are we modeling not only factually accurate information and respectfulness toward opponents?  It seems to me the contest in an election should be about what each candidate has in mind (motive) for the good of all citizens equally.   Sometimes it feels candidates are bent on seeing who can best destroy the character of their opponent with abusive, insulting, degrading language.  Is that a worthy model?

My hope is that better motives will change the rhetoric to a model any American can honorably point to as leadership examples everyone may look up to. 


I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  

1 Timothy 2:1-4

2 thoughts on “Motive

  1. Hi, Jim. With regard to motives, Paul said that he didn’t even evaluate his own motives, and he was content to have the Lord reveal his motives. Then, when all his motives were examined, Paul (and us) would receive his proper praise. The judgment seat’s focus is our praise and rewards. The reason we can’t completely know our motives is that our hearts are deceitful and wicked. In recent times, I have had to “button my lip” more than I would like to because so many attitudes (including mine too often) are so negative and hurtful. And being shut down by COVID has not helped. In fact, COVID has made matters much worse.


    1. Yes, Dave, COVID has kept us all from the spiritual health (often taken for granted in non COVID times) we gain from person al contact in relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ who help in the mutually nurturing family of Christ. One day we will be able to return to a new normal! Only He knows when.


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