Living Life With Intentionality
I had the opportunity to go to a Dave Ramsey SMART conference earlier this year, which had multiple speakers who talked about everything from finances, becoming debt free, preparing for retirement, relationships between a husband and wife, parents and kids, etc. One word that was consistently used by all the speakers was “Intentionality.” The definition of Intentionality is simply- the fact of being deliberate, intentional or purposive (with purpose or intention).
A popular quote from Dave Ramsey is “You win with the things you are intentional with.” I believe most of us would agree with this statement, because we see that it’s generally true in society today. When intentionality is practiced, we will see results:
Athlete- for an athlete to become the best at their sport it takes years of practice, discipline and repetition. You don’t become a professional athlete or even an Olympian by accident.
Being Fit/ Losing weight- to achieve the results we are looking for you need to put together a plan of exercise and most importantly a detailed food plan. No one wakes up three weeks later and loses 15 pounds by accident… it takes sacrifice and discipline.
Financial Planning/ Retirement- If you want to have a nest egg for retirement, you need to be intentional years prior to your retirement years. You will need an investment strategy, and you’ll need to be very intentional with your money, so you can achieve the desired results.
We won’t be successful in our careers, finances, physical health by accident… it takes focus and being intentional with our choices. This applies to our spiritual life as well, and just like the examples mentioned above, we won’t make it to heaven by accident.
Ezra is a good example to us of a man who was Intentional with his relationship with God. Ezra 7:10 states “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Before Ezra could lead God’s people from Babylon back to Judah and be an effective leader, he needed to “set his heart” on God. This verse tells us that Ezra chose to be intentional with knowing God and was focused on doing three things:
1. To study the law- Ezra knew that God’s people had to be led according to God’s law. The text says that he sought it out. No one is prepared to lead God’s people without knowing God’s word- 1 Tim.3:16-17- All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. God does not miraculously pour this knowledge into one’s head. Like Ezra, we must seek it.
2. To Practice it- Ezra also understood that, in order to be effective as a leader, he had to live what he taught. Bible study is a pointless exercise, if we fail to apply it. Ezra’s knowledge and understanding of the Law of God were truths that governed his daily life. James 3:3- Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. Wisdom is better seen that heard.
3. To teach it- Ezra was going to put his knowledge and influence to good use. He was determined to make a difference in Israel by teaching them God’s law. As we know, teaching has always played an important part in the Kingdom, and thus there has always been a need for teachers. One must be willing to teach in order to lead God’s people today (1Tim. 3:2). However, not everyone is ready to teach. A lot of work, study and effort must be done to become an effective teacher.
Ezra was in Babylon, and he knew that the remnant repopulating Jerusalem would be in need of leadership. He intentionally prepared himself, while still in Babylon, to go to Jerusalem and lead God’s people. He prepared himself by first preparing his heart. Leaders lead from the heart. The heart determines the direction of our entire life- Prov. 4:23- Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
The question we need to ask ourselves is… where are we at with our relationship with God? Are we intentional with our study? Are we intentional with our practice of God’s word? Are we intentional with teaching others about God?
Which camp do your find yourself in today?
Intentionally a workman for God? 2 Tim.2:15- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Or Heb 5:12-14- For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Intentionality- the fact of being deliberate, intentional or purposive (with purpose or intention).
- Craig Hecht