Monday, April 9, 2012

IHIH {Part 1} What Does It Mean to be Intentional?




In order to live an intentional life, we must understand exactly what the word"intentional" means.  Dictionary.com defines it as "done with intention or on purpose; intended; deliberate".  So, an intentional life is simply a life of purpose; you don't just "go with the flow" when it comes to how your life turns out.  You play an active role in its outcome.  Overall it means that you define the kind of life you want to live and then set out goals that serve as checkpoints along the way.

It is easy to define the concept of intentional living but, I assure you, this way of living looks very different for the Christian than it does for the unbeliever.  For someone who is not of Christ, an intentional life is one spent pursuing selfish amibitions: what do I want to do; what is going make me happy.  On the other hand, the true Christian is not concerned with themselves but, instead, is concerned with doing the will of the Father; bringing Him glory. 

Having explained the difference in a Christian's intentional life versus an unbeliever's, I want you to know that I have written this series for the Christ follower.  Therefore, this entire series is going to be presented from a biblical worldview because, quite frankly, there is enough garbage on the World Wide Web to encourage you in any of your selfish pursuits.  My goal is to remind you that this life isn't about you and point you to God's word, showing you what life is really about.

So, if this life is not about me, what's the point in trying to live intentionally?  I'm so glad you asked.  You see, your life {and every other life that has ever been or ever will be} is a part of a plan created by an almightly God before the foundations of the world.  I don't know about you, but that is so encouraging!  Before the world was formed, He knew you.  Not only that, He thought up a plan for your entire life.  You have a purpose!

Here is what an intentional life looks like for a believer: finding out what God wants you to do, then do it!  It really is as simple and as complicated as that.  Simple, because God has clearly laid out in His word what He wants us to do.  No, He didn't reveal who we are to marry or what house we are to live in, but He has told us everything we need to know to live this life.  When you obey God's word, He will orchestrate all of the details of your life.

The task of "finding out what God wants you to do, then do it" can often be a complicated one, too.  We've talked about it's simplicity because God has already laid out His will for us: obey His word!  The complicated part is our flesh.  God says "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength", but our flesh often distracts us from loving God the way we should.  God says "love your neighbor as yourself", our flesh reminds us that we don't particularly like our neighbor sometimes, much less love them.  Of course, I could easily go on, but I think you get the point.

The problem with our flesh is that there is nothing, in and of ourselves, that we can do about it.  God has to change us from the inside out.  But, we do have a part to play in our transformation: read God's word and pray.  Do those two things and leave the rest up to Him!

So, to summarize today's post: an intentional life isn't about you, but about God.  It's about finding out what He wants you to do, then doing it.  It's about God coming in and doing a work inside of us.

Tomorrow, I'll being to share my personal journey towards intentional living and then we'll dig into the 7 areas of intentionality that I believe we all must focus on in order to live the kind of intentional life that the Lord would have us to live.  So, be sure to come back and join us!

Blessings,
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