Living intentionally is a very important component to the Christian life because the vital ingredient to our faith is relationship. Our entire faith is built on relationship with God. Without relationship, we reduce God to some deity we worship on a one way street. This is not what we believe nor is it a notion we encourage.
Our relationship with God shares much of the same factors our earth relationships have which is one of the reasons why Jesus came in the flesh anyways. To reveal God to us in a way that we could understand. Our relationships are based on communication, understanding, camaraderie, love, appreciation and dozens of other social adjectives.
However, I’ve learned that few relationships survive an unintentional existence. Though relationships can be casual, a relationship lacking intentionality will at best be rather shallow and cordial.
I’ve learned more about my relationship with my God through my relationship with my wife than by any other schoolmaster. If I’m co-existing with Ashley but I’m not intentionally investing in our relationship we will get stale or slowly but surely drift apart. Now, we’re well aware of this potential problem and so we keep a close eye on the degree of connectivity we’re operating at. We desire a close relationship with each other! That means, date days and nights. Conversations about God, life, family, our interests etc. Just because we’re under the same roof or even in the same room together doesn’t mean we’re being intentional with each other. Believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way!
Some individuals could be somewhat content just know that they’re around each other. Though there’s days where this happens in my marriage and it’s acceptable to a degree, my wife desires high connectivity between us. This means I’ve got to be intentional concerning my investment into our relationship and she has to know it. Early on in our marriage, I thought that maybe she was maybe a little more needy than I was. Over time I learned this was one of the greatest keys to the ongoing success of our marriage which I didn’t have but she cultivated in me. Live intentionally. Especially with the relationships that you truly value. You’ll prove you actually value those relationships through your intentional investments into them.
This blends well into our relationships with God. A too casual approach to God can be dangerous. That path can often lead to disregarding times of worship, prayer and reading His Word because you may become convinced that those things really don’t matter. Worse yet, you may even do some of those things practically but never engage the heart in the activity. We learn from the life of David (Beloved), that God looks at the heart.
1Sam.16:7 NLT “…People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It’s extremely difficult to try to be intentional in a relationship when your heart is not engaged. God knows this and He cares far more about the engagement of the heart, seeking Him intentionally than simply going through the motions.
The infamous verse 11 of the book of Jeremiah chapter 29 gives us some insight on how the Lord see’s us and what His intentions are for us. It’s encouraging and full of promise. The following 2 verses, 12 and 13 are often eclipsed by verse 11 but they’re equally remarkable.
Jer.29:11 NKJV “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Rest assured, He will listen to you when you intentionally pray to Him. He will be found by the intentional heart that seeks Him with everything in them. This doesn’t mean casually breaking open the Bible here and there. This doesn’t mean throwing up random prayers in our moment of challenge. This is not casually attending church on Sunday to check it off your weekly to do list. Those halfhearted commitments bear little fruit, if really any at all.
But the intentional ones who seek the Lord with everything in them will find Him. These are the ones who pray His will into the earth. They worship because their heart is so obsessed with Him. They study His Word to discover the Author, not just to get through a daily discipline. This degree of intentionality with the Lord will take you to new levels in your relationship with God.
Take at least 5 minutes today and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live intentionally during these 3 weeks. Ask Him to give you creative ideas on how to engage the heart in pursuit of Him. As He begins to drop ideas in your mind, jot them down. These will help you remain engaged several days into the fast. Oftentimes we start things well but we don’t finish well. The key of intentionality will help advance your faith in new ways with longevity. I’m believing that what you’ll discover will be a new way of engaging with God that will stick with you long after Intentional 21 has concluded. Imagine, from this day forward a strong, intentional thriving relationship with God being all you know. You can do this!
- Pastor Josiah Elias