Intentional Living

Life on this Earth is limited. I’m not meaning that we are on the brink of extinction or that the end is here, but what I do mean is that you get one chance at life. Even if you have survived a traumatic near-death experience and deemed your recovery as a second chance at life, you still only have one life. Of course for the believer we know there is a new earth being prepared for us where we will live for eternity, but on this earth, this wretched, broken earth, we only have one chance. One life.

Though we long for the new world where we get to be with God forever, we can’t neglect the life that we have been given now. I believe God has made us and has given us purpose. How do we live with purpose though? Looking at the life of Jesus I see that a life of purpose is a life of intentionality. The word intentional means “done on purpose”, so lets live our lives on purpose to the glory of God. Lets live an intentional life! 

When you’re living an intentional life all of your words and actions have purpose and meaning. When all of your words and actions have meaning then you are going to see people’s lives truly changed. 

Real quickly: In order for us to be intentional with others we have to get rid of ANY selfish ambition! The Christian life calls us to do this. Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

3 things: 

1.take up your cross daily 

2. Die to yourself 

3. Follow Jesus and his example 

This life ain’t about us! It’s about Jesus! Say that to yourself right now, “This life ain’t about me!”

John the Baptist said it best in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Less of us, more of him. 

As Christians we can all agree that we are to live for Christ, and are to live like Christ. If we are to live like Jesus then there is no question that we need to be intentional with others in our living. 

Think about Jesus and his life. Think about how he intentionally cared for others:

The woman at the well

  • Jesus purposefully went THROUGH Samaria even when all other Jews didn’t.
  • Once he got to the well HE intentionally started a conversation with the woman that was there
  • By doing this she came to know Jesus as Lord and told multitudes in Samaria about what Jesus had done 

Zacchaeus 

  • Jesus intentionally called Zacchaeus from the tree
  • And he told him that he had to stay at his house 
  • After this Zacchaeus proclaimed Jesus as Lord and even restored everyone that he had done wrong 

Disciples 

  • Think about how intentional he was with his disciples. Spending time with them and teaching them about himself and his father
  • Jesus humbly washed his disciples feet as a servant 

I mean we could go on and on about how Jesus was intentional and intentionally lived for others. 

John 21:25 says “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

The libraries couldn’t contain all of the great works he did everyday, but through the stories we read in the gospels it’s easy to observe that Jesus lived his entire life for others and as followers we should do this too. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says this, “Do nothing out of 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.”

Paul tells us to look at the interests of who? OTHERS!

-look at what might make someone else’s day 

-look what might help someone else out

-look what might help better someone’s else’s life

-look what might change someone’s life

But don’t just think about helping someone! 

Poet Samuel Johnson is credited with saying “Hell is paved with good intentions.” Thinking about doing something for others in no way, shape or form helps anyone! We need to ACT in an intentional way to truly make a difference! 

Think about how your church, or your community would be transformed if we all began to ACT on our good intentions. Change would be inevitable!

Let’s finish this with four things that will help us take the steps away from self-centeredness and towards a significant, intentional life. These four steps are from John Maxwell’s book “Intentional Living”, which is what inspired me to write this. So here are the four things that you can do RIGHT NOW to help you become less self-centered and more intentional with others: 

1. Develop a Great Appreciation for Other People 

  • no one is completely SELF-MADE. 
  • There are people in your life that have helped you along the way and added value to you
  • TONIGHT: create a gratitude list. Write out the people in your life that have made an impact on you. 

2. Ask to Hear Other People’s Stories

  • everyone has a story 
  • Fred Rogers “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”
  • Maxwell “Not only will stories inspire you to help them, but they will also show you ways  you can help them.”

3. Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes

  • When you’re at a restaurant and the service is terrible, put yourself in you waiters/waitresses shoes
  • Imagine how you would respond to others (or help them) if you put yourself in their shoes

4. Place Other People’s Interests at the Top of Your List of Priorities 

  • you have to KNOW their interests 
  • Once you gain that information use it to serve them
  • Maxwell said this “As you start you day, are you wondering what you will reap, or are you wondering what you will sow?”

Prayer:

“God, help me to me intentional with others. Jesus show me how to live a life for others. Help me to rid my selfishness, take up my cross, and follow the example that you have set for me. Thank you for those who have helped me in my own life. Use me to impact someone today and this week. Amen” 

Now quit thinking and GO DO IT!

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