done on purpose; deliberate
I’ve always been an advocate for intentional living… and many other things that are easier said than done. But let’s try. Intentional living means to live on purpose. Before we get to the how, let’s talk about the what. What is our purpose?
I’m not going to try to speak into the purpose/calling/gifting/passion of each individual reader, but I’ll talk about the purpose of every Christ follower: know Christ and make Him known. So how do we do that through intentional living?
1. Intentional Relationships
Where has God placed you and who has He placed in your life? Your family, household, friends, church family, co-workers, and neighbors (all as applicable to you), are all opportunities for intentional living. God created us for relationship and community. Those in your life who are believers are to be the ones whom you grow in the Lord together, hold each other accountable, and edify one another. Those in your life who aren’t believers are not just missionary targets, they are image bearers whom God is seeking to save. You have the opportunity to speak truth into their lives and love them as Christ would.
In all relationships, love as Christ would. It’s often a difficult task, but it’s possible through the Holy Spirit in you. And seek to do so with new relationships. Be deliberate in your pursuit to love people. Sometimes we have to go out of our way to be amongst those who are in need of a relationship with Christ – or even with another human being! There are lonely people in this world. Perhaps you’re on of them. Be intentional.
Relationships take time. They take effort. They take self-sacrifice. Which leads me to…
2. Intentional Selflessness
Jesus modeled this for us very well. Let’s take a glance at a familiar passage: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8)
Humility doesn’t come naturally. But it’s paramount to intentional living as a believer. I’ve written before about our need to fix our eyes on Jesus. When we rightly focus on Christ, we can’t focus on ourselves. When we have the mind of Christ, our thoughts and desires are for the well-being of others. Serving one another is the means and the end to loving others as Christ loved us.
3. Intentional Giving
Where does your money go? What about your time? How do you use the gifts and skills that the Lord has entrusted to you? I encourage you to take a look at your finances, your calendar, and your passions; then evaluate how your life is impacting Kingdom growth.
Give as the Lord leads – generously. Do what matters – wholeheartedly. If He’s laid something on your heart and equipped you to make a difference – be a difference maker. There are always opportunities for the church (corporately and as individuals) to respond to a hurting, lost world. Be aware of those needs and do your best to meet those needs. If it’s not a need you can meet on your own, seek to partner with others, your community, the church, and trusted organizations. Again, intentional living is better done with others.
4. Intentional Worship
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17
I mentioned earlier that our purpose as believers is to know Christ and make Him known. Everything I’ve discussed above – relationships, selflessness, and giving – is all to make much of Him and less of us. We are created for a relationship with God and to bring Him glory. We do that through worship.
Yes, that includes singing and the Word proclaimed on Sunday mornings, but it is so much more than that. Worship is prescribed in Colossians 3:17. Whatever you do (24/7), live intentionally for Christ. Give thanks to God. Fix your eyes on things above and remember, it’s all about Him.
At Coats, we’re all about being disciples who make and multiply disciples. That takes living life on purpose. Are you up for the task at hand?