Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Intentional

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete."

If there’s one thing God is impressing upon me at this juncture of my journey in thankfulness, it’s that it must be intentional. I didn’t realize how useful it would be for me to have the structure I created in the beginning with my schedule of one per day with a “summary” at the end of the week - God did that. Even this, however, makes it easy enough not to think about being thankful until it's time to write the blog.

Yet even that little bit of time is useful - and God certainly does use it. However, it is not all God requires. It’s fine to start small - we need our milk - but then we must advance in His calling. He doesn’t ask for a portion of our lives, He asks for all of it. Being thankful doesn’t just happen, but I can cultivate it. To do this, I must be intentional about it.

God has worked in my life to show me the art of being intentional, and how to begin to weave it into all areas of life. It is discipline, but not only that, and I cannot do it on my own power alone. At its zenith, it is like living and breathing God.

What does God command me to do? To “ the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and to “ your neighbor as yourself...” (Leviticus 19:18c). Love, God has shown me, is a choice, not a feeling. You don’t carry out a choice passively. You are intentional about it. So how can I be intentional about loving God and loving others as myself?

His Word is full of ways to do this. There are 30+ “one-anothers” in the New Testament, that speak to loving one another, caring for one another, admonishing one another, etc. I can look to the example of Jesus Himself and how He carried love out in perfection - not only in His death (and resurrection!), but in His life.

Part of what He did in being the perfect sacrifice for our sins was to bridge the gap between God and His children - to be our perfect high priest (think intercessor), and thus, unleash the Holy Spirit to reside within His children. No gap exists now between God and His children; we have the same power of the Holy Spirit Jesus had - for living in God. Not only did God sacrifice His Son for our offenses (think sin), but He broke its bondage over us and empowered us to live as He lived.

That power is there for us to draw upon within His will, which is love. It doesn’t just happen (though God may decide, in love, to carry us for a bit). We are to intentionally draw upon His power to love Him and those here on earth. Loving God is played out in loving others, but also in spending time with Him, in focusing on Him, in praising Him, in enjoying Him. The more intentional I am about focusing on Him (which is being obedient to His will), the more I want to focus on Him. Without that intentional drive, I fall back into my bondage.

It is a constant work-in-progress, and gets discouraging if I look at myself. I could never do it, and it seems exhausting. Yet God is right there at my side. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) When I focus on Him and entrust myself to Him, He fills me with His peace, His hope, and His joy. It is a joy to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Are you intentional in your walk with God? Are there areas of your life you have let drag? Perhaps it’s time to give that area of your life to God and entrust yourself (your time; your energy level; your children; your husband; your things - you fill in the blank) to Him and to draw upon His power to do what He’s calling you to do.

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