Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4
It was 5 am in the morning, when I finally rolled out of bed. I had just laid there staring at the ceiling for the last 30 minutes. It felt as if it was Christmas morning, when I was a kid. I had butterflies in my stomach in anticipation in what I was about to do. 13.1 miles of running. I had never attempted this before, in fact in my training the farthest I had ran was 11 miles. All my gear was laid out the night before in a neat pile to grab and put on quickly. My race number was already attached to my shirt. My D tag for the timing of my race was attached to my shoe. I was set to run my first half marathon and to make a time to beat the next time I run one. This was my big goal after completing a 10K, which is 6.2 miles. Goals bring vision to our lives and when we have vision, we have intentional living.
Intentional living just does not happen overnight. The above verse talks about delighting yourself in the Lord. Delight means to be joyous. We need to be joyful with our Lord when we think about Him, when we worship Him, when we pray to him. The key to intentional living is love. Not the infatuation the world always talks about, but real love, godly love, the unconditional love God has for us. If you can just understand a little of this love you can delight in God and live your life intentionally. When that happens the other part of the verse happens, the desires and secret petitions of your heart will be given to you. Note that it says He will give you the desires of your heart. Not that they will be met. Your desires will be those godly goals that you set for yourself. Intentional living is the attitude we acquire when we allow God to give us godly goals. What this looks like is, instead of planning out your sin, you plan out your good. Your attitude toward everyone should be how I could help serve that person best. What can I do to make their life easier? Let’s look at some examples in our lives that we can put forth this type of attitude.
The elements of intentional relationships are a great example of where we can use our intentional attitude. Whether married or just your friendships, this is good for all relationships. Even our relationship to God, not that we are going to make God’s life easier, but we get favor when we live intentionally. Being proactive in our relationships is a great way to put out a fire before it get’s started. Having vision and making decisions before something happens that is unexpected can make life less stressful. Having a planned good response instead of a reactive angry retort can save a ton of stress in your life and limit the amount of drama as well. I try to plan out how my good reaction should be, but my impatience can get in the way of my intentional attitude. The positive effect of arguments and disagreements with friends, family and spouses is we learn from our mistakes, and if we learn the lesson apply it to the next time we have a “discussion”. The biggest thing next to love in our relationships would be patience. If we are patient, we are living intentionally.
The element of intentional self-love for us is when we sin and fail in something. Instead of wallowing in our own mess, our proactive response should be that we are still the head and not the tail, we still are the top, not the bottom and that God does not look at us any different after, than before we broke fellowship. We move on from it and know that we are still righteous in God’s sight and that we need to turn away from it and repent, letting go of the sin.
The last element is the element of spiritual. It’s the most important part in this intentional living. When you step out side of your comfort zone, you will find doors opening and doors closing. There is no test with open doors, on the other hand, there is with closed doors. You have to plan ahead and realize that God has a much better plan than the one you thought He had planned for you. Not only does the spiritual intention go with how our attitude is with God’s plan, but it goes for how we serve others on this earth. Being intentional in, helping someone, encouraging someone, teaching someone and loving someone by being Jesus to that someone. The life you serve today maybe the very one to inspire others to find their delight in the Lord.
As I went out that door to race in that first half marathon, I was expectant. I found three people to share my spiritual weigh loss story to and inspired them as we ran. They encouraged me along the way. I was intentional on the inspiration I wanted to share because of what God had done in my life. As I left my new friend behind to finish my race strong by sprinting the last few yards, the reality struck me of what I just had accomplished. I was intentional in my training. I planned ahead for this event by being ready physically. I was intentional the night before in getting everything ready so that there was no craziness to detract from my focus. I was intentional in being expectant to meet new people that I could inspire. Delight brings vision, vision brings intentional living, and intentional living shares godly love and inspires people.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.