Ulterior Motives

Ulterior Motives — Learned or Inborn

Biblically Speaking

Paula Short
Published in
3 min readNov 20, 2021


I’ve been pondering the question of ulterior motives. Are they inborn or learned? I was thinking that it seems like now more than ever, there are more societal ulterior motives. But I’m wrong.

What is an ulterior motive?

Your Dictionary explains an ulterior motive this way. An alternative or extrinsic reason for doing something, especially when concealed or when differing from the stated or apparent reason.

Where did it come from?

Way back in Genesis 3, Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempts Adam and Eve to rebel against our creator by eating from the tree of knowledge. Why? What was his ulterior motive?

Satans ulterior motive was separating man — us, from God.

He succeeded by causing man to rebel against God, his goodness, love, perfection, etc. This drove man to seek autonomy and self-righteousness.

We’re our children’s first teachers. We’ve all exhibited ulterior motives at one time or another. Christians aren’t exempt from displaying ulterior motives either; it happens.

You may wonder, can a child whose parents never exhibited ulterior motives learn them? The answer is yes. While they didn’t learn it from home, they did learn it somewhere.

We can learn ulterior motives from others such as family, friends, peers, community, and society.

Psalm 139 tells us that God knows our thoughts, even before they become words or actions. We might be able to fool others, but we can not fool God.


Genesis 27:1–46 tells us that Abrahams’s wife Rebecca and son Jacob deceived him, tricking him into giving Esau’s birthright and blessings to Jacob. Then, in turn, Esau plans to kill Jacob.

Take a look at the Pharisees in the New Testament; in their desire to do good; they wanted the glory and praise from man for themselves. These men used their status for their own personal gain. They spoke the truth about God, but their actions were often sinful.

We are created in the image of God. But because Adam and Eve succumbed to satan, the character of God was marred and instead reflected the image of the serpent. Thus passing this from generation to generation. So to answer my own question. I believe it is both inborn and learned.

Remember when I said Christians aren’t exempt from exhibiting ulterior motives? We’re far from not.


Whether you are a new believer, someone who is curious about Jesus, or a long-time follower.

We all have a moderator, intervener, deliverer, redeemer, and savior. Jesus Christ.

When we trust him and ask him to intercede, he advocates to the Father for us to help us prevail and persevere during times of trial and temptation.

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Paula Short

Just an ordinary Christian women blogger traversing through the wilderness of an everyday mess. Seeking God in the everyday. https://simplycoffeeandjesus.com