Living an Intentional Life: SPIRITUALLY
This week we will continue our series on Living an Intentional Life. Remember that the three key words in describing an intentional life are purpose, discipline and vision. Living intentionally means that we have an agenda for our own lives. It is not dictated by circumstances or other people. We make the decisions about how we will spend our time, energy and resources.
A word of caution is in order here. You must understand that when I say we make the decisions that I mean we make them with God’s principles in mind. We set the agenda according to what he has to say to us. Remember, we are talking about priorities here. If you do not live by priorities, there are areas of your life that will suffer and may even fall apart.
If you are a student and studying is not on your priority list, you will find that you get to spend more time in school than all your friends. If you are married and your spouse is not on your priority list, you will have your answer as to why things can be so lousy at home. If you are a worker and your job is not one of your priorities, you may soon find that you no longer have a job. If you are a parent and your children are not on your priority list, you should be able to understand why the relationships are strained and you feel like you are always at odds. If you are a Christian and your spiritual life is not on your priority list, you can know why you feel uneasy and agitated inside.
Priorities are guides. They are tools that help us make sure attention is given to the things that need it. Life can be hectic and without priorities, important things can be easily neglected.
The goal of this series is to help you identify your priorities and work to meet the needs in each area.
Today, I want to talk to you about a relationship with God. I believe this to be the NUMBER 1 priority in life. It is my conviction that to fall short in this area will leave you open to possible disaster in all other parts of life. Ironically, as with most priorities, it is easy to neglect the discipline needed to care for this relationship. It doesn’t scream for attention. You can go through some days and hardly even think about it. It is this danger that powerfully emphasizes its importance.
I. What is the purpose of my relationship with God?
A. What does the Bible have to say about it?
1. Jesus’ words
a. Mark 12:31—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength….[and] Love your neighbor as yourself.”
b. Matthew 28:19-20—“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
2. Paul’s words
a. Ephesians 4:11-12a—“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.”
b. Romans 8:29—“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…”
c. Philippians 2:5-8—“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”
(1) He was a servant
(2) He was obedient
3. Summary of the purposes of a relationship with God
a. To love God
b. To love other people
c. To tell people about Jesus
d. To serve God in the church
e. To become like Jesus
(1) A servant
4. The entire thing is a process
B. What are my personal ideas?
II. What discipline is required to maintain my personal life?
A. What is discipline? SELF-CONTROL
B. Time is the biggest factor to be disciplined in our relationship with God
1. Time for prayer
2. Time for the word
3. Time for church
4. A week in the life…
a. We all get 7 days
b. We all get 168 hours
c. We get to choose how we spend that time
C. Our wills must be disciplined
1. From making the right choices over and over until a habit develops
2. Former pastor John Maxwell gives this list of things You can control…
a. What you do with much of your time
b. The amount of effort you give to a task
c. What you think about
d. Your attitude
ILLUSTRATION OF KRISTA TELLING ME—YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE!
e. Your tongue
f. Those who will be closest to you
g. Your commitments
h. Your response to a bad situation
i. How you’ll respond to failure
III. What vision is involved?
A. What is vision?
1. Projecting possible outcomes for the future
2. When they are projected, they can be better prepared for.
3. It’s easier to get somewhere if you no where you’re going
4. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
B. Where does God want me to end up?
1. Generally—covered under the purposes
a. He wants me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength
(1) He wants this to be displayed in practical ways in my everyday life
(2) ILLUSTRATION: “It doesn’t matter how high you jump, but how straight you walk when you come down.”
b. He wants me love and treat others as I would hope to be treated.
c. He wants me to serve in my church.
d. He wants me to become like Jesus.
(1) To live my life for someone other than myself
(2) To live obediently to him
C. What would I like to be able to do for God?
IV. What can I do to help my relationship with God?
A. Have one!
B. Make the time to get to know God
1. Read the Bible—start in the Book of John
a. Get a version you can understand
(1) If you’re new to the Bible I recommend the NIV or CEV
(2) If you’ve been reading the KJV all your life and you’re used to it, then by all means use that
(3) The version doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you are actually reading it!
b. There are no anointed versions
2. Pray—just talk to God--Jesus gave us an example—The Lord’s Prayer (really a model)
a. Tell God how you feel about him
b. Ask God to let his will be done in your life
c. Ask God to meet your needs
d. Ask God to forgive your sin
e. Ask God to help you fight temptation
3. Be in church
4. Get a good devotional book—I can give you good advice
C. Put God at the top of your priority list
1. Make a daily appointment with him and keep it
2. Live like HE is the most important thing in your life
a. In the way you act
b. In the way you think
c. In the way you talk
Last week, I gave you this definition of an intentional life: An intentional life is one with purpose. The purpose is followed with a bold and steady determination until the desired outcome is realized. Make that the definition of your relationship with God. Pursue his purposes with a bold and steady determination until you become exactly what he wants you to become.
Remember that it’s a process. A marathon, not a sprint. It will not happen over night. God promised that he will never give up on us. With that assurance, let’s renew our commitments to having an intentional relationship with God.
Are there things you need to work on? Do you need to start a relationship with God?