Have you ever had a bad motive? Maybe there was a time when you simply felt you had "cause" to act a certain way - so you did. Or perhaps you just felt moved to some sort of action, not really realizing where the "motive" to act came from. Either way, I think we struggle with our "motives" more often than we'd like to think.
A bad motive can't achieve a good end; double-talk brings you double trouble. (Proverbs 17:20 The Message)
Solomon gives us some wise advice here. A bad motive will never achieve a good end. Start out poorly and we usually finish poorly. It is always more difficult to change directions than it is to continue on the course we are on. If you have a GPS, you know what I mean. Whenever you have experienced the little voice telling you she is "recalculating", you know what is coming, don't you? Yep, it is the "command" to "turn right" or "turn left" at the next exit! The GPS is redirecting you because if you stayed on the same course you were on, you'd be in a totally different "destination" than you expected!
Our motives often need a little "redirection". Motives are kind of like the "accelerator" on a car. Once you push down on the accelerator, the car is set in motion! If there is no one "steering" the car, it can lunge forward through garage doors, plow over paths not intended to be traveled by cars, or run people right down. There is way more to driving a car than pushing down on the accelerator! Similarly, there is WAY more to living right than just getting a "few" of our motives under control!
In fact, we might just take an inventory over the course of one day. I had a teacher in Bible school who asked us to do this once. He challenged us to take a small tape recorder everywhere we went, as a means of keeping track of the words we speak, examining the impact of our words. At the end, we were to "inventory" our words. The inventory was difficult, to say the least! In reviewing those tapes, I found out how many times I actually returned harsh comments with my own harshness, used words which did nothing to build up another, or simply avoided saying something when I probably should have!
Now, I am not suggesting we all need to tape-record our communication for a day, but this was an eye-opener for me! When I actually put two-and-two together, I saw how my own words were actually hurting some of my already struggling relationships! Uh oh! It was time for a motive change! Nothing "good" was coming out of my "input" into the relationships! I needed a "course correction".
Sometimes our "course corrections" are not all that easy, though. Getting off-course can cost us valuable time - especially as it applies to relationships! Whenever we "stumble about" in relationships with others, we may find our time being eaten up by a whole lot of "course-changes". Remember what I said about driving a car - it takes someone "driving" the car to actually keep it from doing harm! The same is true in relationship - it takes someone "driving" the relationship to keep it on course. Now, don't get me wrong - I am not suggesting it be us! In fact, if Christ is not doing the driving, we will need a whole lot of "God Positioning Service" (GPS) to get us back on track!!!
Motives set things in motion. Therefore, if we submit our motives to God first, we might just avoid the unnecessary and costly "course corrections" we have had to endure in the past!