I've been reading 'The Beauty of Holiness' by I. C. Mathis (published 1936). There is this great thing he writes that says, "It is motive that gives quality to action." (24).
But it's imbeded in something else that I was uncomfortable with. The whole quote is this: "God looks not so much at what we do, as at what we intended to do. It is motive that gives quality to action. Therefore, God looks for motive and intention. If the desire to sin is sin, may we not say that the purpose or desire to please God is accepted, even though we blunder and make mistakes?" (24-25).
Ick. "God only cares about what you intend to do", sounded like such a weak, pathetic thing. "oh, as long as you intended to obey God, it's all ok".
But then I kept thinking about it. And it sounded kind of nice, and it sounded like something God would do.
During my commute a few days later I realized something about 'intent'. It's a matter of where your real intentions are. You can't fake intentions.
So, among other things, I've learned that when I approach text, be it non-fiction or the Bible itself, I have to be willing to be wrong in my thoughts and viewpoints. Otherwise I will never grow because I think I know everything I need to know. Which I obviously don't.