In his book, “Essentialism”, Greg McKeown coined the phrase “essential intent”. The author describes an essential intent as “one decision that settles one thousand later decisions.” That’s exactly what our decision to follow Christ should do for us. By simply saying yes to Jesus, so many other decisions are made for us. We don’t have to stress and deliberate over what to do in any given circumstance, because we know we should do whatever it is Jesus would do in the same situation. When we give our lives to Jesus, we allow Him to decide the fate of a thousand later decisions with which we will be faced. This essential intent allows us to live in freedom, unencumbered by the choices that afflict so many others who have chosen to seek life in a manner inconsistent with that for which they were created.
When we have a clear purpose, we are able to do more than we could have ever imagined. Focus is a powerful tool. Sometimes though, people lose their clarity. They start to wonder what it would be like to make a decision based on their own selfish desires. They begin to dabble in areas where Christ would never go. Convinced they can have the best of both worlds, they profess to be a “Christian”, but live according to their own whims. I think the reason so many people call themselves “Christian” is because it’s vague and allows them to hedge a bit. Saying you are a follower of Jesus implies you live as He did. It confirms your “essential intent”. A follower of Jesus obviously does what Jesus did.
The only way to live a full, victorious life, the life for which you were uniquely created to live, is by adhering to your essential intent. You promised your life to God. You told Him you’d do whatever He asked, and that you would be willing to die for Him. Remember when you surrendered your life to Christ? Remember what He meant to you in that moment? How are you doing with your commitment to Him? Are you still living according to your essential intent or have you wandered off the path, attempting the impossible feat of following Jesus while constantly looking over your shoulder at what you’ve left behind?
As followers of Jesus, our choices in life are simple. Ask yourself what Jesus would do in that same situation. Which choice allows you to look most like Him? Which decision will allow you to shine the love of Jesus more brightly? Walking in the footsteps of Jesus means we will spend our lives loving our neighbors as ourselves. We will always put the needs of others above our own. We won’t be deterred from our mission by the lure of money, popularity, safety, comfort, or pleasure. Followers of Jesus adhere to their essential intent. They respond to situations just like Jesus would. They love just as He does. We don’t even have to think about it because all those decisions were made for us when we decided to serve Him as our Lord and Savior. Whatever you’re facing or whatever is tempting you, remember you already made the choice in front of you by making the choice to live for Him.