“All things are working for my good…He’s intentional, never failing.“
I LOVE this song! It’s “Intentional” by Travis Greene and he sings about how no matter what is happening in our lives, God has an intention and purpose for it. The first time I heard it I texted the YouTube video to one of my best friends, Cathryn, and told her to listen to it at least four times in a row!
There is something soothing about knowing that God is alert and active watching over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). He’s always intentional, never lackadaisical. Yet, we don’t always reciprocate the act of intention towards Him with our whole lives. Living intentionally and purposefully for God in this day and age is difficult for many reasons.
Why We Live By Default
1. We are distracted by everyday life.
The job, the bills, the romantic relationship (or lack thereof), the kids, money, etc. Our worldly possessions and desires have a lulled us to sleep.
2. Acceptance of carnal lifestyle and behaviors.
I have used the excuse that “God knows my heart”, more times than I’d like to admit to excuse behaviors of the flesh. Of course, I’m not perfect… none of us are. Sometimes we will fail and sometimes we will mess up but when these things become a lifestyle or a habit, we are making a decision to deliberately be out of the will of God in our everyday lives (Hebrews 10:26)…no matter how well He knows our heart.
So how do we design an intentional life for God and live by decision everyday? Glad you asked!
Ways to Live By Decision
1. Be intentional about your mindset.
We are admonished to renew our mind daily (Romans 12:2). This is because our thoughts guide everything we do, what we say, how we respond to others, and how we feel. Take an inventory of some negative mindsets that you have about people and situations that bother your or get on your nerves. Next, make a list of the thoughts you’ve had that you know are in direct opposition to what the Word of God says. You may even have to take some extensive time in prayer and ask God to reveal those mindsets to you.
Because much of what we think is so deeply ingrained, we don’t even realize it’s not a Christ-filled thought.
When I find myself in a negative headspace, I like to find a scripture for each and every negative thought I have so I can hear what the Holy Spirit has to say about it. It’s only the Holy Spirit that can reveal the truth of what God has to say (John 16:13), however, we have to be intentional about beginning the process.
2. Be intentional about your daily habits and routines.
Jesus was always deliberate about where He was going and what He was doing. Even when it came to being crucified (Mark 10:33), He made every day count. Everything He did, He did it with the Father in mind.
How about you? What are your daily habits? How do you spend your time? How much time are you spending on social media, reality shows, and binge watching?
I admit, I have unintentionally devoted many a Saturday to binge watching Netflix and Hulu (back in the day it was Lifetime movies), surfing Instagram just salivate over food & laugh at comedic 60 second videos and then browsing Pinterest to look at more recipes I won’t ever cook.
Knowing this, one of things I have instituted is a “No Screen” hour. For an hour, I turn off my phone, TV and computer and just be.
Often I will pick up where I’ve left off reading in the Bible, read a book based on biblical principals, play with my dog or just do nothing and have a “Be Still” moment.
You see in order to change a habit, you can’t just say it, you must replace it with something else and then you have to actually DO IT!
Research says to make new habits and routines stick, you must do them for at least 66 days… which is different from the 21 days like we hear about often. Becoming intentional about changing your daily habits is within your grasp, because you have the spirit of self-discipline already within you (2 Tim 2:7).
3. Be intentional about your interactions.
How you interact with people on a daily basis will either draw them closer to God or lead them further away from Him.
You may be talking to a co-worker who is an unbeliever, a new believer or even someone whose faith might be waning. How they see you is how they will ultimately see Christ.
Are you forgiving of others’ mistakes?
Can you admit to your own faults?
Do you apologize for speaking rudely or being inconsiderate?
These are the kinds of things that we can be more deliberate about. It also takes the pressure off by allowing us to take off the religious mask we sometimes wear as Christians. Jesus was always His authentic self and as we must remember that as we strive to be authentic in Him.
4. Be intentional when going through challenges.
This may sound strange but let me help it make sense to you.
There is nothing in life that we go through that God isn’t aware of.
Before He formed us – even before we were in our mother’s womb, He knew every challenge and every trial we would face. So, if God was that intentional about the challenges in our lives, then we need to be just as intentional about them ourselves.
It’s second nature to become distraught, disappointed, discontented and depressed at the trials we face. However, as Joyce Meyer often says “You can’t be pitiful and powerful at the same time.” So in the midst of trials, you can be deliberate about learning what God is teaching you.
In my wilderness season, my car broke down and I did everything I could to get it repaired. I lost money, lost time and ultimately I began to lose hope. I used to think, without a car, how could I really “live”.
One day, I came to a realization instead of fighting the situation…I had to lean into it.
I said to God, “there must be a reason you don’t want me to go anywhere and just be still”. And during that time of isolation, He rooted out my self-dependence, redirected my life path, revealed to me His purpose for the next phase of my life and gave me a new mindset.
Had I not been deliberate about learning the lesson in that difficult season, I would have never experienced a truly intimate relationship with God or the GreatBIG life in Him He had prepared for me.
Designing a life of intention to be difficult in this day of distraction. But God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to do so.
What are some ways you can be more intentional as you live your daily life following Christ?