This is part 2 of a series of posts I will be sending out every Friday, relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference. The posts will be short, to the point, and practical – designed to help you/your family in preparation for the conference (you will still benefit if you’re not coming to the conference!). Here goes with the second post…
Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…Intention vs Intentions!
Mark 1:35 NKJV – 35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Maybe since reading the last post, you had a moment to reflect on the level and nature of the busyness in your life – or maybe you were too busy? 🙂
One of the keys to making progress in the right things in our lives, which again is simply that which God has called us to be and do – is to understand the difference between intention, and intentions. They sound the same but are very different from each other.
Intention speaks of diligence, discipline, organization, and Spirit-empowered action. Intentions, on the other hand, speak of that which we want to do, know we should do, plan to do, but never actually get around to doing! We all know what it feels like to be surrounded and bogged down by the things that fit that category – and it’s never a pleasant experience, is it?
Having said this, that’s not always a bad thing – because some things we intend to do are birthed out of impulse, emotion, pressure, or obligation – so it’s no big loss when they get left by the wayside.
“Intention speaks of diligence, discipline, organization, and Spirit-empowered action”.
On the other hand, those things we neglect to do that God does want us to do – they are the things that haunt and hassle us with guilt, frustration, and regret. So how can we avoid this?
Charles Hummel in his classic, tiny little booklet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent” puts it this way as He reflects upon the life of Jesus…“Jesus had no divinely drawn blueprint or schedule; He discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. Because of this, He was able to resist the urgent demands of others and do what was really important for His mission” (p9-10).
What this helps us to understand, is that when prayer is a priority in our lives – it increases our “spiritual vision” and also our “spiritual strength”. We need spiritual vision to see more clearly that which God has and hasn’t called us to do, and we need spiritual strength to stay focused and faithful (living with intention) and avoid the distractions that lead to neglect (living with intentions).
In Summary – intention is when we prayerfully set the priorities for our lives, and in dependence upon the Lord, carefully carry them out. Intentions are just sincere, but unrealistic desires, that most likely will not eventuate – and even if they do, may not be God’s will for us anyway! Let us aim to live, by God’s grace, with more intention, and fewer intentions, remembering of course that we will fail at times. Thankfully, God knows this, so that’s why we have a Saviour to forgive us, and help us get on track again.
For thought, prayer and application: Take some time to mentally, or physically (better option) note down your top “intentions” for the next few weeks/months. Take this to God in prayer, and ask Him to show you which are in line with His will, and which are not. Prayerfully evaluate your motives for each intention. Ask the Lord to show you where you might be motivated by selfish gain, the approval of others, or pressure to conform. With those things you discern to be God’s will, ask God for the wisdom and strength to carry them out, and give them the priority they deserve. Confess any intentions that you have neglected, and believe and receive God’s forgiveness.
Click Below To Read Previous Posts in This Series…
Have you registered for this year’s ENGAGE 2017 Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference (Christchurch & Auckland)? Click here to find out more and register.