One semester in college I decided that every Sunday I’d go spend 3 hours on my campus to share my faith. I would pray about the time all week, asking God to bring people in my path, to give me courage, and for the Spirit to guide my words. The first day that I went I wandered around campus unsure of my pan and seriously doubting if this was a good idea. I felt prompted to head to a specific room on campus and when I got there 6 people were in the room setting about their different tasks. I really can’t remember how my greetings went, I’m pretty sure I brought up that I’d gone to Church that morning and I remember saying Jesus somehow in the context of the conversation. It was odd. 6 people were working and as soon as I said ‘Jesus’ within minutes 5 people cleared the room. And I didn’t pass gas, I promise!
But one person stayed, she looked at me squarely and said, “So, you’re a Christian?”, “yes”, “me too, but no one knows that here.” She went on to share with me that the night before her only friend at the school stabbed her in the back and that she had just last night asked Jesus for a friend. And there I was, without a doubt in my heart that Jesus had sent me specifically to answer her prayer and to be her friend. It was an amazing start to a beautiful friendship and a powerful few months of seeing God use my purposefulness on campus for His glory.
So what exactly is intentional living? And does it co-exist with Spirit-filled living? Because that’s where I get caught up sometimes. When God asks me to walk by the Spirit, shouldn’t that be my top priority and not to chase after my own plans? When we figure these questions out in the context of our own lives, we will see bigger fruit than we’ve ever seen before.
So let’s look at Intentional living for a minute. My discipleship leader gave me a life plan this past week and I’ll attach a blank copy for you here. Intentional living is not planning every hour of every day, but it is charting a course for your life with the end in mind. When I filled out my life plan, I thought about this time next year and what kind of person I hope that I become.
God places callings on our lives in three areas: Personal, Spiritual and Missional. In each of these He gives us a passion that burns in our hearts, a people to care for and a place to carry the calling to. If we identify where God is calling us personally in this season with our jobs, our families, our hobbies and our friends then we may realize that we’ve neglected one of our callings for another. He can use this to hone in our priorities.
The same is true for our Spiritual and Missional lives. Where is God asking you to grow spiritually this season? Is He asking you to spend more time with Him, to learn how to study the Bible, or to join a discipleship group? Where and to who is God calling you to be on mission?
As believers we want to make sure that the rudder of our ship is pointed in the right direction. Because if it’s off, we’ll wind up way off course. We’ll look back at our lives 2 years down the road and wish we had readjusted our priorities. So answer these questions prayerfully, submit yourselves to Jesus because He could be calling you to readjust.
I went back through my answers and asked myself, do these answers glorify God? Ultimately that’s what I want most in my life, so I walked back through my responses with God’s glory in mind.
Next we make goals.
We’ve written down the callings on our lives. Now we list out some goals. If one of your callings is to serve your family, then a goal could be to spend more quality time with your siblings or parents. If God is asking you to grow in prayer, then a goal could be to set aside a specific hour to pray. Setting goals is important in intentional living because it points you in the direction of actually walking in your callings.
After goals we define action steps.
What exactly is it that we need to do in order to accomplish these goals? This is good because it shows you your next steps. When we realize our action steps we can step into our calling knowing that we’re walking in such a manner that pleases God. If our aim is to glorify God through our lives and we’ve prayerfully identified God’s calling on our lives, then God is pleased and glorified when we walk out the action steps of our callings.
The semester that I lived intentionally on my campus to share the gospel every Sunday, my heart beat for God to pour out His Spirit like a mighty rushing river straight through campus. I felt called to be on mission sharing the gospel to students on my campus, my goal was for students to know Jesus and my action steps were to spend three hours every Sunday walking by the Spirit.
But all of that intentional living was led by the Spirit. He’s the one who put the passion burning in my heart for student’s souls and for God’s glory. He’s the one who envisioned what could happen if I stepped out in faith. And He’s the one who got me there every Sunday and put people in my path.
It can be harder to see how some aspects of our lives can be Spirit-led, but if we never submit them to Jesus and ask Him for His will in those areas of our lives we most likely won’t see how they could be. Give Jesus your tough family situations, your never-ending school work, and your dead-end jobs! Because He wants to use you in these areas of your life to give Him glory and to transform the world!