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Intentionality

March 27th, 2013

“I live in eager expectation . . that my life will honor Christ.” Philippians 1:20 NLT.

Good intentions alone do not rise to the level of intentionality.

My thoughts and comments today are about “intentionality.”

As a young teen, I “worked” a few summers in my grandfather’s Truck Stop in southern Illinois. Really, I just worked for a roll of nickels to play the pinball machine when not pumping gas. A pinball game is habit forming, a game of random occurrence with the whimsical fall of the metal ball, allowing minimal control by the player. For the small investment of coin and time, the game provides the amusement of flashing lights and blaring sounds as the ball progresses down the sloped surface, haphazardly hitting bumpers and accumulating points with the slim promise of a free replay. Life can be a lot of activity and commotion with no more than amusement in return for one’s expenditure of coin and time.

Some live accidentally, even randomly, ricocheting from one occurrence to another. A lifetime is too irreplaceable for that. Life should be lived deliberately, with careful thought, real convictions, and clear direction. Days without a plan become hours wasted; marriages or friendships without mutual definition and effort diminish; careers without goals are reduced to a succession of jobs without economic progress.

Recently, I have been captured by the Biblical concept of intentionality. Joshua was intentional; “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV. Daniel was intentional; “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV. And Jesus was intentional; “I must be about My Father’s business . . I do always those things that please [the Father].” Luke 2:49/John 8:29 NKJV.To succeed, you must learn to live with Godly intentionality.

Paul was intentional, “I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ . . for me . . that means fruitful service for Christ.” Philippians 1:20-22 NLT.Life responds to intentionality. A Law of Physics states that in a closed system “matter degrades from order to chaos.” That is evidenced in modern culture, broken marriages, poor habits, or careless spiritual disciplines. Without intentionality, the natural process is degeneration. With intentionality, the spiritual dynamic can be regeneration. You cannot risk casualness about matters with eternal consequence. See Hebrews 2:3/Mark 8:36 NLT. Spiritual life, like marriage, is one choice faithfully affirmed over a lifetime.

As I left our home to meet friends, I would hear my Dad’s frequent reminder, “Allen, be careful.” Under my breath, I usually protested, “Well, of course, I will be careful.” He knew what I have since learned: carelessness just happens while carefulness is the creation of intentionality.Good intentions alone do not rise to the level of intentionality; be intentional about things you intend.

Your spiritual journey without guide or goal can easily become only emotional and intellectual meanderings. The Bible and Holy Spirit are to be your guide; Christ-likeness must be your goal.“Till we all come to the . . knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of Christ.” See Ephesians 4:13-15 NKJV. The practical application of one’s Christ-likeness is best expressed by spiritual maturity. A definition that works for me is: “Spiritual maturity is rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” About that, be intentional.

My prayer for you this day is: live a Godly life with clear and resolute convictions.

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