Intentional to Be Intentional

Intentional.

We like to throw the word around, don’t we?

Granted, not intentionally¹, but enough we risk growing desensitized, even numb, to its mention.

Perhaps you’re like me wondering how to take not only your goal-setting, but your intentionality to the next level in 2019. If so, consider the following question:

How do we  become more intentional in our intentionality?’

For while most understand intentionality implies an upgrade in dedication…as being more mindful more often…not nearly as many see the term as anything more than the sum of its google definitions…
…which leads me to my first point.

Point 1: To embrace intentionality we must first see its core as covenantal commitment. For all you resolution setters out there, this is imperative to keep in mind. To achieve any goal with purpose, you must not only count the cost, but weigh it against an appointed strategy (more on this in a moment).

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” ~ Luke 14:28 (ESV)

Furthermore, it’s worth noting whenever we appropriate a particular cost, we’re also considering the promises and blessings of God (see how God institutes his covenants with the patriachs in Genesis). As such, to be intentional is to examine the faithfulness of God in all three time dimensions (i.e. past, present, future).

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Point 2: To embrace intentionality, we must view it as a relational/communal experience as opposed to individual effort. Like point 1, this concept is necessary both for pursuing the dreams/visions God plants as well as the sustaining of them.

Note how the Psalmist discerns God as one who delegates and journeys with us through the obedience…

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him [and worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and obedience], On those who hope [confidently] in His compassion and lovingkindness.” ~ Psalm 33:18 (AMP)

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence? Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why have you become restless and disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”” ~ Psalm 42:5,11 (AMP)

Put another way, whether God delegates an assignment or gives direction, He always offers the hope of experiencing Him in greater measure. Props to Webster, but unfortunately this something he missed in his dictionary.

Point 3: To embrace intentionality, we must understand our response to what God appoints and appropriates. For when God appoints, He is often granting fresh instruction and direction; however, when God appropriates, He is setting aside something for our possession that we already have.

Having said that, if you’re ever unsure what God is saying, always yield in surrender knowing God has anointed you to what He’s appointed you.

Ephesians 5:15-17 captures this beautifully in three simple words:  know His will.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)

A couple key nuggets from this passage…

1) Note how the context leading up to this passage centers on living on children of light and knowing what’s worth participating in. This is important to grasp as knowing our true identity (i.e. children of light) enables us to perceive our function/calling as an overflow/extension of that identity.

2) In verse 16, the Greek wording for ‘making the best’ means “buy up at the marketplace”, to see the opportunity as a commodity used by believers. This may sound strange at first; however, in the context of God’s evangelical economy, recognizing opportunity is crucial to valuing/seizing the time He’s given us.

With that in mind, we can better comprehend Paul’s charge at Ephesus, particularly the  transactional effects of Matthew 6:33 (which I submit is an underrated definition of intentionality)…

“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”

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Final Thoughts

  • While many of us like operating under the cover of ‘intentional’…in feeling secure in what we’re going after as opposed to being confident we’ll actually get there…true intentionality is never content on defining goals until it has established tactical strategies.
  • Intentionality is often received as a reactionary buzz word. If this truth resonates, we must re-evaluate our understanding of the term.
  • Often there’s a disconnect between what is good for us and what we want to be good for us. Accordingly, it should be no surprise if shallow convictions are met with shallow efforts. If we’re skeptical/indifferent concerning the sacrifice intentionality requires, we’ll be derailed by the facets of life that don’t cooperate amidst our pursuits.
  • Referencing the Lord with our intentions helps us know if God is in them. When we seek the Lord, not only must we seek with expectancy knowing He will answer, but also inquire how to integrate that answer into the priorities and commitments He’s already established/will continue to establish (see 2 Samuel 5 when David repeatedly references God in his tactical analysis). Remember in the realm of grace, there’s a natural rhythm embedded in the natural order of these priorities and commitments. Thus, by keeping God first, foremost, and center, we can know a higher level of intentionality with what He’s given us.

Selah.

Footnotes

  1. See what I did there? 😉
Cover photo creds: billiemakesahome.info