Summary: Good things happen only when we are intentional about it, including our spiritual growth.
"HOW INTENTIONAL ARE YOU?"
John Tung, 11-12-00
Things do not just happen. Ask Al Gore and George W. Bush. They do not get votes just by placing their names on the ballots for the Presidency. They have to work hard, very hard, spend money, lots of money, and energy, lots of energy, to get every vote they have.
Some people did actually just put their names on the ballot for President, names you probably never heard of. I had never heard of them until the day after Election Day.
Monica Moorehead, of the Workers World Party, got 4,304 votes. Denny Lane, of the Grass Roots Party, got 879 votes in this presidential race. Earl F. Dodge, of the Prohibition Party, got 205 votes for President of the United States. And a man named Jim Wright got 23 votes. It must've been just his family and friends whom voted for him.
In fact, besides the two major party nominees: Democratic and Republican Parties, there were another 114 parties, like the Earth Federation, The Freedom Party, Marijuana Reform Party, most of them very tiny, that had people on the ballot this election.
But you don't hear about them because they are too small, in pockets here and there, or just recently formed, or also because they were not as intentional in getting organized and getting noticed as the major parties did.
It is people who are intentional who make things happen. And in life it is when we are intentional that we make things happen. The same thing is true in our spiritual lives. If we don't put in the effort, not much good things will happen. Today's message is about making our spiritual growth an intentional thing in our life.
II. We Slide because We Default
This is a familiar passage, part of Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount.
But because we are familiar with it, we may read it casually and miss some major ideas.
Jesus is addressing people who are his disciples. In. this chapter, vs. 20, Luke tells us that Jesus looked at his disciples and he spoke to them these words.
But Jesus needed to tell his disciples, those who have followed him, that they have to pay attention to some spiritual issues, even though they follow him. No disciple is perfect. Disciples are not just people who made a one-time commitment to Jesus; disciples carry out a life-long process of applying that commitment.
And that's what some Christian writers are saying, that the problem in America, where 40% of the people say they are evangelical Christians, (and 90% say they believe in God,) is not in making commitment - many people have made that commitment - the problem is in applying the commitment to daily life situations (Chap Clark, Youthworker, Nov./Dec. 2000, 42-43).
The Sermon on the Mount is a message about applying our commitment to Christ.
Jesus said that his disciples could call him, "Lord, Lord," and yet do not do what he says.
Disciples can have made a public statement that Christ is their Lord at one time, but in their life they are not doing what Christ has commanded them to do. There is a discrepancy between their words and their lives. These two do not match up.