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What is your motive?

Behind everything we say or do there is a motive, and motives have a direct, vital bearing on every aspect of our lives. If our plans tend to go awry, then, it may be that we need to look closely at the motive impelling them.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, observes, ''Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.'' n1 If we can be sure that our contemplated action is divinely directed , and not just for the selfish betterment of our own situation at the expense of others, we can expect our efforts to be successful. But if these actions are unwholesome -- if they're impelled by the dishonesty or sensualism or selfishness of materialistic thinking -- certainly our motive is questionable.

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n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

Christ Jesus lived a life motivated by, and in complete obedience to, his Father-Mother God. He knew that unprincipled, selfish thinking and acting forfeit divine power. As he told the Jews when they questioned his origin, ''He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.'' n2

n2 John 8:29.

We can be sure this same God, who is also our Father, infinite divine Love, will not leave us alone if we seek to ''do always those things that please him.'' Doing His will, we have the right to expect good in our lives, for we're living in accord with His law, in obedience to His commandments. This is not impossible -- in fact it's natural. God's law is designed to bless His creation, and His will for His children is health, love, joy, and infinite good.

Perfect harmony is the spiritual reality of creation. As the Scriptures indicate, what God created is good and remains good. The demand is to prove this truth, to bring it to light in our lives through worship of the one God and conformity to divine law.

We should not be surprised if plans that are wrongly motivated fall apart at the seams, since unprincipled thinking and acting have no law to back them up and are therefore doomed to failure. There is, however, great joy and satisfaction in living in accord with divine law. This carries no penalties but rather gives us peace of mind and harmony, which selfish, unethical actions will never bring. As the Psalmist sang, ''The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.'' n3

n3 Psalms 84:11.

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At one time I would worry endlessly if I thought I had done or said something hurtful or unkind. This would bother me for days on end until I realized that I must question my motive. When I was able to see that the error had been unintentional, I could forgive myself and so regain peace of mind. In most unexpected ways I found that offense had not been taken by the other party, or else I would be given an opportunity to correct the wrong impression I had made.

Certainly our actions are significant, whether intentional or not, and we need to strive for greater consistency in expressing the divine nature, following Jesus' example. But our motives are most important.

As Mrs. Eddy writes, ''We never need to despair of an honest heart . . . .'' n4 Honesty is vital in assessing our motive, and will help to steer us along the path that leads to success and fulfillment in doing God's will. Then we reap the rewards that obedience to divine law always brings.

n4 Science and Health, p. 8.

Daily Bible Verse What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes . . . ? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is . . . The Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of Lords, a great God, a mighty . . . Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise. Deuteronomy 10:12-14, 17, 20, 21

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