If you’re a hardworking professional who loves Jesus, you’ve probably heard some of the coach speak floating around about intentionality. You don’t have to search far to be bombarded with:
“Think it and you can become it!”
“Live less out of habit and more out of intent!”
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
“Believe it’s possible and you’re halfway there!”
“Live life on purpose!”
As a discerning believer, how do you filter through these messages for truth? Maybe you’ve looked at the goals you’ve set for your life or schedule or work and wondered if they please God. Can life on purpose and living for God coexist?
Can you be intentional and faithful?
We only have to look as far as Jesus’s life on earth for a beautiful portrait of intentional faithfulness. While Jesus was fully God with all wisdom and omnipotence at His disposal, He chose to live under human laws of time and energy, to own the day-to-day pattern of ordinary life on earth, all the while fulfilling His Father’s will perfectly.
In every situation, Jesus is an exquisite example of intentionality and faithfulness.
One clear example of how intentionality and faithfulness were woven into the very fabric of Jesus’s life on earth is recorded in Mark 5. Jairus, a prominent church leader, finds Jesus on a journey and begs Him to come to his house to heal his poor, suffering daughter who’s at death’s door. Jesus agrees and with obvious intention of going to Jairus’s home, heads that direction with Jairus.
But Jesus can never get far without being surrounded by a crowd. And today is no different.
As the crowd surges around Him, a woman quietly eases through the press and tugs the hem of Jesus’ robe. She turns away in quiet joy, knowing she’s been instantly healed of the blood disease that’s plagued her for a dozen years.
And in that moment we see Jesus’ faithfulness play out.
Jesus stops in the middle of a crowd that jostles Him at every step and demands to know who’s touched Him. Of course, He is God, so He already knows. But He has a divine appointment with this woman.
The trembling woman comes forward to tell Jesus her story, which takes a few moments. And as Jesus finishes His conversation with the grateful, now-healed woman, Jairus’s staff rush up to him. “Don’t bother the Teacher anymore. Your daughter’s dead.”
And this is the moment we see Jesus’ unwavering intentionality even more clearly as He turns to Jairus, with a special command, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Despite the seeming delays and side trips, Jesus had every intention of healing this man’s daughter. But not the way anyone expected. And definitely not as quickly as they’d hoped. But not too late either. For Jesus walks to Jairus’s house and raises the man’s daughter from the dead.
Can you be intentional and faithful? In looking at Jesus we find the answer a resounding “yes!”
Jesus’s life and ministry give us the pattern for how intentionality and faithfulness weave together in intricate harmony.
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Pursue God’s plan
Just as God planned for Jesus’ work and ministry on earth before the foundation of the world, He has a plan for your life and work. You can rest secure in the truth that you aren’t floating in a sea of unknown. You are fully known, loved, and planned for by God.
He wants you to be as intentional as His Son in discovering and embracing the “good work” He’s prepared for you and letting Him work through you to fulfill it.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10)
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Walk with purpose
God’s plans didn’t just appear out of thin air yesterday either. He has been preparing you throughout your life. One way to walk forward in intentionality and faithfulness today is by embracing who you are and what your hand finds to do.
Like the Apostle Paul, who was no stranger to intentionality and faithfulness, you can use the personality, gifts, and job right in front of you to serve God with purpose.
Once God took hold of his heart, Paul took his former zeal for destroying the church and turned it into a way to create a growth explosion in the church! Paul dedicated his life to spreading the good news of the gospel, working hard, living on purpose, watching God work through him.
“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:29
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Accept divine appointments with grace
Even with the best attitude and go-get-‘em spirit, life doesn’t always turn out like we thought. Circumstances change. Plans shift. New ventures fall flat. Life with Jesus is not for the faint of heart!
But in those moments when life looks different than you expected, it’s important to remember God ultimately directs your path. You can plan and pray and prepare with the greatest intentionality, but it’s up to Him to make something of your efforts and direct your course. His is the final say in the everyday adventure of life.
Like Jesus on the way to Jairus’s house, you may encounter “speed bumps” otherwise known as divine appointments. And that’s where faithfulness can really shine – as you let God alter well-laid plans and accept His grace for the unexpected moments, your faithfulness shines through.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
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Remember who lives within you
Not only did God intentionally prepare for you and ask you to live faithfully, He also prepared a way to make His big plans possible through you. When you received Christ, Jesus made His home within you, paving the way for you to live intentionally and faithfully, an example He himself set.
And like Jesus you are fully equipped through God’s power within you. So embrace the vision, tackle the dream, live the seems-crazy, God-sized promise! As you walk with Him in increasing intentionality and faithfulness, the power of Christ will become more and more evident to those around you.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
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View all of life as worship
Jesus never divided His life into “the sacred and the secular.” Every moment of the day, He did “always those things which please God” (John 8:29).
In our own adventure of intentionality and faithfulness, there is no sacred/secular distinction either. Anything we do is to glorify God – from simple household chores to sharing the Gospel to working our jobs. As believers, all of our lives are for God’s glory – whether we work in a ministry or haul trash!
Every piece of life is a testimony to God’s grace and presence in our lives. And it glorifies Him when we pursue what He has laid on our hearts to do with intentionality and faithfulness, acknowledging Him through all of it.
“And whatsoever you do in word or deed to all to the glory of God, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Colossians 3:17
So when the question tickles the edges of your heart, Can I be intentional and faithful?, look no further than Jesus’ example.
Reread the stories of His life and marvel that through every healing, every ordinary conversation, every parable, every community dinner, He lived both extravagant faithfulness and unwavering intentionality. And take heart that these concepts He lived in perfect harmony can also be yours through His grace and strength.
Janna Wright told her first story—something about kittens and lost mittens—at age two. As an author and speaker she still loves stories, sharing them often in her “biz-nistry,” Grace Thread, and her book, Grace Changes Everything. Janna adores deep talks, the CO mountain air outside her back door, and most of all, helping women of faith enjoy Jesus and the adventure of grace.
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