How to walk intentionally with the Lord
Lately, I’ve been studying the word intentional. Dissecting what it means for my life, looking at it as a command, and how our culture has molded it.
On the surface you think of words like willful and voluntary; though that’s the truth, we’ve somehow eased its’ effect. Meaning, to voluntarily do something is supposed to be selfless, but it isn’t always. To willfully give is supposed to be joyful, but it isn’t always. Our intentionality to our way of living has slowly slipped from our grasps and landed in a pool of justification.
I realized this when I was speaking of Jesus as being intentional with my life. Believing and feeling Him specifically teach and push me in a way that I specifically needed, in a way that maybe my neighbor wouldn’t have understood or would have fought. Jesus, thorough on every account, has showed up with a genuine and intentional presence on my life- and so has He in yours.
Psalm 139: 13-16 (ESV) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
The first question then is: do we notice it?
From day one, He has designed our very presence. We’ve read this scripture before in the context of loving our bodies and loving the curves, color and habits that we are. I, instead, am taking it from another perspective.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the sole fact that His voice is what did the work. His mind, power, and sovereignty are what put us together and breathed life in to our lungs. That is an intentional decision to not only want us, but to be a part of us. An intentionality that trumps the lies and circumstances this world puts us in. Because our very existence is made of and by Him.
But, do we notice this?
As we start our mornings, go to work, watch the kids, hold conversation, come home, fold the laundry, walk the dog, and go to bed – do we notice Him? That in every moment of living, His intention is there? Every decision and action we face, every dynamic we each live within, is a result of His good work and plan.
Do we find confidence in that? Do we find our hope and peace in that? My head wants to scream yes, but my heart knows better. It knows the truth that in order for us to say yes, it means we have to be intentional back. And our instinct runs from that.
The second question then, is: how do we respond?
So, as I have sat convicted by this truth, that my nature is to let God do the work and for me to soak up all the giving, I have realized the depravation we have as a culture to intentional Christian living. We have allowed our minds to create this pool of world + Jesus that creates an excuse to act one way and think another. A hypocrisy that has started within our own faith. How? Because there is no such thing as world + Jesus. Only the world or Jesus.
So, it starts with us. If we know that we have a God who intentionally loves and pursues us, what’s our response? To intentionally pursue Him back.
But we often fail at that throughout our daily routine. We choose to let the world make excuses for us, rather than intentionally choosing God. We let our mind tell us that it’s too much effort to listen to a sermon on the way to work, or that it’s too distracting to pray in the morning, or that there’s not enough time before bed to read a few verses. But intentionality doesn’t mean squeeze it in, it means make it happen. It means you design your routine and choices around Him, the way He purposefully designed us. It means going beyond your quiet time to intentionally pursuing God throughout your day, as a lifestyle, a posture, and a walk.
3 Ways to intentionally walk with God
1. Choose God first.
Meaning, there are moments throughout your day that are filled with silence, music, or even crying. Choose God in those moments. Play a sermon, listen to Christian music or a podcast, or have the bible app read you verses- do this while driving, cooking dinner, cleaning, at lunch, etc. There are moments being left to the temptation of the world that could easily be filled with Him.
2. Fight to show up.
Community is a gift from God. He knows that we cannot do number 1 perfectly but rather desperately need accountability and encouragement. We too often take it for granted, but they are there to remind you that you aren’t alone, that Jesus is better, and to walk this life out arm in arm.
3. Run to His word.
No matter the circumstance, the routine, the season that you are in, we are nothing without His word. We cannot live out this Christian life without God himself- and the word is God. That is where we build the relationship and where we learn who we are in Him. It’s where our hope lies, and our identity is sealed. Without the word, we fall to the world. It is our guidance and our example. To intentionally pursue Him, means to intentionally read His word.
When I think about all that God has done for me and all that He continues to do, I can’t help but feel my heart rush with a desire to do everything I can to return the love. To intentionally live my life running after Him, the way He has so genuinely done with me.