Many in Christian circles have been using the word “intentional” in various ways. The dictionary defines it as “done by intention or design.” So I looked up the root word “intention”. I got more answers here, but the one that pertains the most is “A determination to act in a certain way: RESOLVE.”
So intentional means to resolve and to do something on purpose.
Here’s one of the issues facing us as Christians: We spend a good deal of our time just floating along with the monogram of “Jesus Person” written across our life but no real godly purpose. No “intentions.”
It’s true that not every person that accepts Jesus into their life will be called to preach. Or even lead at any point, for that matter. But we need to become intentional with our walk or our focus becomes easily distracted. In 2018, 1.6 million car accidents were caused by distracted drivers in the United States. Distraction is deadly. Even more so in our spiritual life.
James addressed this very problem in chapter 1, verses 14 and 15:
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (NKJV).
In Luke, we see the story of Mary and Martha (ch. 10). Jesus visits their house, and Mary sits at the feet of Jesus listening as He teaches. Martha complains because there is work to be done. But the truth is that she is distracted by things that are not as important as time with Christ. No matter what it is that is going on in our lives, being distracted is a dangerous place to be.
Intentional living means that we have plans. We do things by design. We avoid distractions. Our life as Christians should be no different.
Ask yourself this question: Does God have a plan for my life? If you answered no, then you and I need to talk because God does nothing without a plan. And if He made you, He has a plan for you!
However, if you said yes, then ask yourself what that plan is. Look into the mirror and say out loud, “What does God have planned for me?”
Do you have an answer? It would be nice if God just came to you after you got saved and said to you, “So this and this is what I want you to do. This is My plan for you!” But He doesn’t do that. We could go into a long explanation as to why He doesn’t do that, but that’s not the point we’re trying to get to here. However, I do like what Shawn Bolz has to say about it:
“It would be so easy if God just gave us clear and direct words that we could obey, but mankind has proven over and over that we would rebel under any authority that isn’t relationally driven” (Translating God).
It’s true! If someone tells us what we are supposed to be doing, we will see it as something given to us by one in authority. And while there is no one in the Universe with more authority than God, He doesn’t see us as slaves. He sees us like family! (John 15:15, Heb. 2:11, Rom 8:29). We are meant to walk out this life with Him as our Guide, not our slave-master. But that doesn’t negate the fact that He has planned a specific purpose in life for each one of us.
God Has a Plan
Acknowledging that God has a plan for your life is the first step to enacting that plan. Even if you don’t know what it is. That’s the direction to go. Start asking Him, “What do I do, Lord?” You’d be surprised what happens as that becomes part of your daily prayer.
It should become one of your greatest priorities to seek more of the Holy Spirit. You will find greater and clearer answers as He becomes stronger in your life. I do this with my wife twice a day. And I desire to increase that.
Now, back to the point. As God’s kids, we must learn about being intentional, doing things based upon the reality that we ARE NOT just floating around, unfocused, and trying to find God’s will in our lives. If you do, you will be forever frustrated and unfulfilled.
You see, we rise every morning and live our lives with full intentionality. A plan of sorts as to how our day is going to be. As Christians, we are attached to the unseen world. The “spirit realm.” As a people, made in the image of God (having a spirit), this area should become the most important area of the two realities that we are a part of. Again, this happens as the Holy Spirit has more and more leadership in our lives. Why is it that we are so intentional with the fleshly world but not with the spiritual? We need to be able to say that isn’t the case.
Okay, Matt, now what?
Living More Intentional
Now we see the truth of the matter. We see that we need to begin to live more intentionally in our spiritual lives. What does that look like? Here’s my advice (as I am still learning as well):
Pray. Talk to God. Set the reminder, on your phone. Fight the distractions that life throws at you. Make it a point to not only talk to God but ask what He is wanting to do in your life. If you cannot answer plainly that you know what God is doing, then join the crowd. But don’t let a lack of knowledge or understanding slow you down. That is where our faith comes in. Keep in mind that those who talk to God regularly know more than those who do not.
Be intentional about your day. As Christians, we are the people who physically live in the real/fleshly world as well as the spiritual/heavenly world. We are the translators to the world around us of what God is doing and saying. Plan to be a beacon. Ask for someone to be put there for you to love on. Face your moments with intentionality in mind.
Read the Word of God. So often people are not sure what God is leading them to become or do for the Kingdom because they have simply allowed the world to overcome their love for God’s Word. One of my most favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 1:17-18. It says that there is a “spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Seek that! Ask for it all the time as that will lead you to see things in Scripture that will blow you out of the water!
You will survive without another hour of sleep. No one will kill you if you’re a little late. Take the moment, do something that may very well result in eternal consequences.
Live for God intentionally. He has done what He has done for us intentionally!
Matt has been writing blogs since 2008. Newspaper articles prior to that. Most of it has been about the goodness of God. “Life’s greatest purpose is God and all that entails.” He has written and published seven books with a long list waiting in line. His prolific writing is attributed, by himself, to a gift from the Great Master Author. The books range from devotionals to Christian and family fiction. The genres’ variety has demanded that he use pen names. So he writes all his devotionals and blogs under “Matt Davenport”. Adult/Christian fiction is written under M.R.Davenport. And he writes Y.A. under E.M.Oliver. The Y.A. writing is currently under a goal of two separate series’ that will, eventually, converge into one another. These two series’ involve a total of 10 books (one written and published already) that are set to culminate by the end of 2025.
He is married to his best friend and editor, Nancy. Between the two of them, they have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. They are blessed to reside on a beautiful, old farm (built during the Civil War) which they share with a very large heard of goats and two chummy barn cats. Which is all located in Oregon.
“While my work will always have a great range of story and character, I will never be embarrassed by children (mine or someone else’s) reading it.”
Sapphire Arts is his and his wife’s company. It is still in the baby stages and will eventually combine a publishing and design LLC. Add to that the talent they both have for creation (woodcraft, seamstress craft, digital design, etc), and SA will have much to offer.
They have a daily (Monday through Saturday) online Bible Study at 9 a.m. Pacific time. It is open to anyone who wishes to join in and watch by requesting to be friends with Matt on Facebook.