intentionality: choosing God

Category : God, Jesus, choice, different, taking action


Why doesn’t God force us to believe in him?  We are created to need God, so why not just go one step further and be created to always believe in God?  But that’s not what God did.  Instead he’s given us this thing called free will, which lets us make our own decisions.  Don’t you find that kind of amazing?

If I were creating the universe I’d make sure everyone would know it. I’d want them to always believe in me.  I would have stamped the moon with a giant copyright logo.  But if there is one thing that’s consistent with God, it’s that he’s different!  He wanted us to have the ability to believe in him, or to not.  To love other people, or to hate them.  There must be a reason for that, right? 

And there is.  It means we have responsibility for our decisions.

Everyone who is a Christian became one because they made a conscious decision.  Becoming a Christian isn’t hereditary.  It’s not something you can catch in the airport.  It’s one made by choice.

Even before we can really get to know God, we have to make a choice to accept him.  And you can’t make a decision without, well, deciding.  This is true for every choice we make in our lives.  Do we get up with the alarm, or to sleep an extra 10 minutes?  Do we eat breakfast or skip it?  Are you nice to your co-workers or selfish?  No matter what decision we are presented we have a moment where we must choose a course of action.

At the very core of the Christian identity is intentionality: the decision to follow God (or not) in all aspects of our lives.    

With intentionality comes purpose.  Not only have we agreed to move closer to God, but now we are moving with a goal in mind.  Our lives take on added value because we aren’t being blown about by new ideas and unexpected circumstances.

Luke tells us that at one point “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)  He made an intentional decision to focus the remainder of his life in concluding his ministry on Earth.  What would have happened if Jesus had allowed himself to become distracted?  What if instead of focusing on his mission, he let himself get distracted by things around him?  Would he ever have made it to the cross?

God moves with purpose, and he wants us to move with the same purpose.  We are called to go forth and make disciples of the world (Matthew 28: 19), not to simply sit around and wait for things to happen.  God has always intended for us to act intentionally.

Now if you’re like me, you find that a bit intimidating!  I’m not sure I’m exactly prepared to always live my life with God’s purposes in mind.  I’m not sure I can handle that kind of burden.  But to pretend that’s not what God wants is to hide the facts.  And in the long run the only one I’m hurting by hiding from the truth is myself. 

Realizing that I need to be intentional in following God has radically changed my interaction with him.  I look at things in my life and ask, “is this helping or hurting my relationship with God?”  If it helps my relationship I try to do more of it.  If it hurts I try to do less.  I obviously don’t succeed with either of these things all the time, but I try.  And in many ways making that choice is really what counts.  I’m not sure how much God really cares if we succeed or fail.  What I think he wants most is that we’re willing to try. 

As you read this post ask yourself those questions.  And when you get an answer act with intentionality.

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