Living a Life of Intentionality
by Peter Haynes
Intentionality seems to be one of those "words in season" at the moment. Many conversations I’ve had with others lately have a theme related to the concept of being intentional. There seems to be an increased awareness of the need to live on purpose as opposed to letting life just happen to us. Living on purpose is essentially what it means to be intentional. It is faith in action. Living intentionally is actually living a life of faith.
God sees Intentionality as Faith
In the old covenant, when a prophet gave you a word, you listened, and you obeyed. When Abraham was told by God to leave his hometown, he packed up his belongings, gathered his family, and off he went even though he didn’t know exactly where he was going. Despite not knowing his ultimate destination, he remained faithful to the word and intentionally set out. When he arrived at Canaan, God spoke to him again and gave him a "history-altering" promise. It was Abraham’s intentionality to move in line with God’s voice that set him up to receive the promise. God called it faith.
Many of us have received words from God about our future or He has placed desires in our hearts that He delights to give us, but instead of moving towards our dreams, many of us often sit back and wait. In the name of faith, we wait for God to bring those dreams to us. I want to propose to you that this waiting mentality is robbing many of their destiny. If God has spoken to us, even if we don’t know the ultimate destination, I believe His word is a green light to move in that direction unless He says otherwise.
THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Master gave three servants different sums of money that he wanted them to faithfully steward. It’s important to note that each amount given was a significant amount of money. To one servant he gave five talents, to the other, he gave three talents and to another, one talent. Now, a talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer! This was a significant amount of money for these servants: It was about 100 year’s wages, 60 year’s wages, and 20 year’s wages. We all give the servant who hid his money in the ground a hard time for being so lazy or for being afraid. Let’s be real, many of us would have done the same if our master came to us and had entrusted us with about half a million dollars, which is today’s estimated equivalent of one talent. We may find ourselves thinking, "That’s a lot of money. I would hate to lose it, so let’s play it safe and keep it somewhere so that when he returns I can give it ALL back to him.”
You may be asking how that story has to do with intentionality. The parable may be speaking directly toward faithfully stewarding our finances, but the principal applies to all aspects of life. I think it could be said that prophetic words, our giftings, and life purpose also apply to this principle of needing to faithfully steward what God has given us. They could be seen as "talents" that God has entrusted to us. God has spoken to us or placed desires in our hearts that He wants us to be intentional about pursuing. When we sit back and wait for God to make it all happen for us, I believe we are partnering with the lazy servant who received a strong rebuke from his master. I don’t think the master was even concerned with the amount of money that he got back at the end of the day. Instead, I think he was more interested in the servants’ heart of faithfulness. The lazy servant probably would not have been rebuked if he had tried to put his one talent to work and lost it all.
God is looking for us to be intentional about pursuing the things that He has spoken to us. If God has spoken to you about writing a book, are you developing your writing skills? If you feel that God has called you to pastor a church, are you preparing yourself with the necessary skills and positioning yourself to develop your pastoral muscles so that when the door opens, you can step into it? If God has told you that change is coming, are you being intentional about making sure your life (finances, housing, etc.) is in a place where you can move or change course swiftly? Being intentional is about taking what God has spoken to you and by faith, moving proactively in that direction.
Faith is not sitting back and waiting for God to bring everything to us. There are seasons where God calls us to wait on Him and let Him brings things to us, but for the most part, God’s voice is like a key that unlocks doors for us to be intentional about walking through. This is a picture of rest. Rest is in His voice. We will live in rest when we live in response to His voice. God is always speaking. As we are intentional about listening, following His voice, and pursuing the things He has spoken to us, we will live in rest.
4 Main Obstacles of Living Intentionally
In my pursuit of intentionality, I discovered four main obstacles of living intentionally. These are:
Our Comfort – Often we don’t want to be intentional about pursuing what God put on our hearts because it will require us to step out of our current comfort zone. If we aren’t willing to step out of our comfort zone, then our future will look just like our present.
Fear – Fear is a thief! It paralyzes us with lies and tells us that if we step out of the boat, we will sink. But the truth is that when we step out of the boat, Jesus is there to take our hand and make the impossible a reality.
Misunderstanding of Rest – Rest is not sitting back, doing nothing and waiting for God to bring everything to us. Rest is living in response to His voice.
Misunderstanding of the Sovereignty of God – God is sovereign, but this does not mean that He controls everything and that He will ultimately ensure that we live the life He wants us to live. In His sovereignty He has given us free will. We get to make choices about whether or not we will follow His voice and live the life He’s purposed for us - this is called relationship.
The Church should be made up of the most intentional people on the planet. God has spoken to all of us in one way or another about His purpose for our lives. Let’s not sit back and let life happen to us. Let’s take God at His Word and be intentional about pursuing His purposes for our lives. It requires faith to be intentional. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that faith pleases God and that He is the rewarder of those who draw near to Him.
Questions to Ask YOurself
I would like to leave you with some thoughts. Here are some questions to get you started on your journey of living intentionally or living your life on purpose:
What is your God given purpose in life?
What is the most impactful prophetic word you have received?
What is one area of your life that you want to grow in?
Now take your responses to the above questions and ask God how you can intentionally pursue or live on purpose in these areas.
About Peter HAYNES
Peter and Lisa Haynes are originally from South Africa. Peter is interning this 2015–2016 school year for Steve Backlund as his Church Track Leader for the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministries students. He is passionate about Jesus, his beautiful wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Amy (6) and Katie (3). Peter has a deep love for the Church and desires to see her realize her full potential.