I touched on this a bit before (see “Take Action”), but with the New Year now underway, I think it’s important to emphasize the value of intentional living over the next twelve months. How will you be different and more like Jesus when December rolls around? What will you have done to glorify Him as you look back over this year? One thing is certain, if you don’t plan how you will get somewhere you’ve never been, you will never arrive. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen by accident. You don’t wake up one day and discover you are a disciple of Jesus. Believing in Christ is easy. Becoming the person He created you to be is difficult and requires an incredible amount of work on your part.
You have to decide what you will do with the next year of your life. No one else can do this for you. Circumstances will easily throw you off course if you have not prepared in advance how you will navigate the rough waters you are certain to encounter. Living intentionally means getting very clear about what you want to accomplish and who you want to become in the Kingdom. How will you live out the commands of Jesus? Thinking you should do more for the poor isn’t good enough, because something will always get in the way of your plans. The details of your own life will intervene and make you put off or forget what you intended to do.
Instead of some vague sense of knowing what you should do, you need a concrete plan of action. How will you help the poor this year? Will you lend financial support to a ministry already engaged in the work? If so, how much and how often? Will you volunteer to help serve meals at a homeless shelter? When and where will you do this, and how often will you help? Perhaps you will go on a mission trip to serve the poor in another country. Where will you go, how will you arrange the finances, what will you do when you arrive, and what will you do when you return? Getting specific, writing it down, and putting a date on everything is how you live with intention.
If you are like me, you have already squandered too many years that should have been used to further the mission of Jesus and used them to enhance the kingdom of yourself instead. We plan our vacations and holidays, we plan our entertainment and careers, but do we ever take the time to plan how we will better serve and follow Christ? He is the one we proclaim to be Lord of our lives, but we would be hard pressed to define what that really means. We claim God is first in our lives, but in reality He is relegated to last place when it comes to how we actually live.
This year can be different. This can be the year we walk away from Christianity and instead pursue a life of following Christ. We don’t need any more religion. What we need is an undying passion to serve the One who gave His life for ours. We need to live with an intentional plan of how we will glorify God in everything we do. This can be the year everything changes and we truly live for Him and not ourselves. This can be our best year ever if we decide to truly put Him first. Haven’t we wasted enough time already? Let’s get intentional and truly make Jesus the Lord of our lives this year.