As we prepare for 2010, we need to remind ourselves that there will be a thousand things calling for our attention. Some of those voices will be good, some bad. Without making the decision to live intentionally we will take on the shape of whatever our environment chooses to squeeze us into.
However, following Christ means seeking His Kingdom first! That requires a mind that chooses, a heart that embraces and a soul and body that are determined to allow the Holy Spirit of God to make us into what He wants us to be. My Bible tells me that we are most often shaped by choice, not chance. God wants us to choose His path, truth and life. As we seek to Love God more passionately and Serve others more significantly in 2010, it will require you choosing to do that and God empowering your willing and open life.
I want to encourage you to use the following exercise to work through living a more intentional life in
2010. Doing this in some kind of relational context will make the exercise more thorough and transforming.
Four Ways We Can Choose To Live in 2010:
Obviously there are times in life we need to be reactionary - responding to the crisis or need of the moment. However, when this solely describes our life, some of the other very important items will go unaddressed. We will end up allowing everybody and anything to set our agenda! Check out the following texts and ask yourself the question “What would happen if the central character in each text lived a reactionary lifestyle. What might not get done?
Text: Proverbs 6:6-8, Proverbs 27:23, Psalm 119:105
What important things are often neglected in your life when you choose to live a reactionary lifestyle? What do you need to say “no” to (or “not yet”) so that the more important things get done?
When we look at the issue of conforming, it is a deeper idea. Reactionary could be defined as those things that shape and control our schedule. “Conforming” is referring to those things that shape our character. Conforming could be seen as the result of reactionary.
Text: Romans 12:1 “Conform” Con – Latin for commit. Paul is saying to not commit to the form of... the world - another way of saying world system, practices and standards contrary to God.
What are some of the negative factors that have had to much of a shaping influence in your life in 2010? Some suggestions would be, bitter experience, disappointment, failure, success, wrong belief (I don’t measure up), media, relationship, unforgiveness, our titles (make us proud or feel worthless), business.
Ask someone nearest and dearest to you, “What do you think is having the most influence over me in shaping my values, attitudes, priorities?”
Compulsiveness refers to being driven by wrong motives or destructive forces. “Our energy comes from our brokenness.” We may be doing the right thing but for the wrong reason. Often our energy that comes from our brokenness moves us in unhealthy directions.
Text: Read through the following texts that refer to motives and drivers: 1 Corinthians 4:5, Philippians 2:3, 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:3.
List and discuss several unhealthy motives?
What are the one or two you may need to deal with or keep an eye on?
Living intentionally has a higher value to live by, a deeper calling. The “salsa” may get cleaned up, but not right now.
Living intentionally means not conforming to the negative, but makes a very conscious choice to commit to be shaped by people, values, and truth that represents the high road. Note what Paul said – “Don’t be conformed to the world but be transformed by…” what? and to… what? Read Romans 12:1,2.
Living intentionally is not compulsive because it weeds out dark motives, and it is relentless in having a pure heart. The intentional person takes very seriously Psalm 139 - “Search me Oh God....”
Look at the three pictures of intentionality discussed on Sunday morning. What insights are gained about intentionality? Jesus Luke 9:51-55, The Woman Luke 8:40, Paul Phil 3:7-11.
As we did on Sunday morning make a 7-day map of your life, highlighting the major markers of your Week (Work Time, Weekend, Personal Time, Family Relationships, Your Leisure Time – Weeknights 6pm-11pm)
When along this 7-day map are you most vulnerable to not live intentionally?
When might the “spilled salsa” be your downfall? (Had to be there Sunday morning to understand “Spilled Salsa”!)
What place along the path represents the area where negative factors have the greatest power over you to shape you or conform you?
So, how will you choose to live an intentional life in 2010 in the following areas?
- Physically - How am I taking care of this temple?
- Spiritually – What am I doing to mature my walk of faith?
- Emotionally – How am I processing issues at this level?
- Mentally - Am I exposing myself to the right kinds of people and resources to allow my mind to experience some stretch?
- My relationships - How am I doing in pursuing my family and friends?
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33)