Intentional

A few days ago, my husband called for me to come to the computer. He opened up a video from 2010 of our oldest as a baby. The adorable little baby (that looked strikingly similar to our current baby) rolled back and forth on a jungle floor mat happily playing by himself. Then he rolled over and our old puppy came in and gave him kisses. It was so adorable.

“Aww!!! That’s so cute! Do we have any videos like that of our other kids?” I asked.

My husband shook his head, “not one.”

I know, I know. It’s the joke that only baby #1 has a completed baby book, perfect month by month pictures, and the like. But baby #2 has an almost blank baby book, thrown together pictures, and so on… Sadly, it’s funny because it’s true. We have sooooo many baby pictures and footprint/handprint art from our first child. He also is the only one of my children to have six “Baby’s first Christmas” ornaments. We were so intentional about documenting and recording his life events.

Then we had more kids. And more kids. And now poor baby #6. When someone ask me how old he is, I’m like, “Well he was born on November 1. You can do the math.” When someone asked me how old my oldest was, I was like, “3 months, 2 days, and 16 hours.”

 

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Intentional.

I wonder if I treat my relationship with God like my first child or my 6th child. Somedays I think it’s more like my 2nd child. He has a baby book. He has a ton of pictures. But not as detailed as the first. Not as intentional as the first.

There’s a reason God wants to be first in our lives. He wants us to be intentional about our relationship with him. He wants us to want to document our lives with Him. He wants us to want to grow deeper in faith, obedience, and trust.

When I was a kid, I knew the 10 Commandments. I knew the commandment said, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Great! I’ll just keep a list of my loves. As long as God is on top, I am ok, right? WRONG!!! When God said this, he did not mean like a check list. He meant, no other gods in my presence.

He wants to be around nothing else that consumes your heart. But in our human minds we can justify our choosing to have other gods.

Well, I’m a wife/mom, my role there is the most important… Be careful not to make your family or your role a god.

Well, I’m their parent, they have to honor me above all else… Be careful not to make yourself their god.

Well, doesn’t God want me to be happy? He will overlook this desire that is pulling me away from His light. First, this is not true. I cringe every time I hear a Christian tell me this. This is the world justifying your sin, not God’s desire for you. Don’t make your secret (or not so secret) sin your god.

Please hear me here- it’s a trap! No one and no thing should ever have more importance in your life than God! Your role as a wife, parent, friend, and (you fill in the blank here) is important. But our primary reason for existence is to bring glory to God! If you have a role that is taking away from God, you need to reevaluate your heart.

If you have been expecting your spouse or children to make you happy, you are in for a sad and rude awakening. They are not God. Nothing you do for them. Nothing they do for you will satisfy that longing in your heart. There is only one that can satisfy. And that is Jesus. Your spouse and your kids were never meant to take the place of Jesus. Remember first and foremost, He took their place. They are gifts from God to point you to Him.

If you are a Christian, you must be intentional about making God part of your daily life. Church should be the dessert to the rest of your week, not the main course. Many times, we do not take advantage of the fullness of the cross. Jesus died so we can have salvation, but also so that we can be in direct communication with God! Are we being intentional at taking full advantage of what we have been given through Christ? Or are we checking the box and giving God our wish list?  Prayer, mediation, devotional life, and fellowships are just a few things we can do to be intentional with our relationship with God and grow towards Him.

If you are a Christian but your walk is not as strong as you would like it to be, you are not alone! Walking with Christ is an absolute blessing, but its not easy. It takes time. It takes practice. You will mess up. He will take you right back. Surround yourself with people and things that point to him. Spend time in prayer. Look for the blessings around you. Be intentional about making God part of every aspect of your life.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7

It Takes Some Practice

This morning I was working with my first grader on his math assignment. I looked at the problem and said, “What’s six plus six?”

Within a matter of seconds, he spewed out, “Twelve.”

I read the next problem, and just as quickly he answered it. Suddenly his eyes widened, and he said, “Hey- I know this! Mom, how do I know this?”

“You’ve been practicing. Remember all those games I made you play that you didn’t want to play.”

“Ohhh!” He grabbed his workbook and went back to the table to finish his assignment.

The situation had me laughing, because just a couple weeks ago he didn’t want to play all those games I opened up on the internet. He didn’t feel like he needed to practice his facts. He was perfectly content with counting on his fingers. And now he knows those facts a little better, he can recall the information a little bit faster. Now math assignments are a little bit easier.

Maybe next time I open those games up for practice, he will happily practice- knowing that they are helping him grow… maybe… but my son is stubborn just like his momma. He will probably forget, drag his feet, and reluctantly play the games I am “forcing him to play.”

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This is very much like spiritual discipline. Praying, mediating, reading scripture, fellowship, fasting, stewardship, all these things sometimes feel like things I HAVE to do. But through obedience, practice, and time I grow to appreciate these disciplines and see the results because God meets me there.

For example, when I first became a Christian, I didn’t have a problem consulting Google for Bible verses. But after spending time in prayer, reading my Bible, and even memorizing verses- I have seen these verses come to me in unexpected ways.

Sometimes this happens to me at Church. Someone I am sitting next to may ask for prayer. As I start to pray over this person and I open my mouth outcome the words of scripture that I had locked away in my heart. Timely words. Placed into practice. Prayers I offered up, but were 100% inspired by the Holy Spirit prompting me to say what I had been studying.

Other times those words I have been studying come to me as conviction. One time I was having an argument with my husband. I grabbed my blankets and decided to sleep on the couch. As I went out to the couch I started praying, “God, please convict my husband of what a jerk he is being. He did this, that, and this…”

As I sat there listing my wrongs, I felt this stir in my heart, “Love keeps no record of right and wrong.” Convicted!

Had I not spent time studying, meditating, and memorizing scripture, I am not sure that the Holy Spirit could have worked in me the same way.

Much like my son was shocked that he suddenly knew his addition facts, I tend me be shocked that the words I have been studying come to me when needed.

Don’t be content counting on your fingers. Learn your facts.

Don’t be content looking up verses online. Read them. Memorize them. Mediate on the word. Lock those words away in your heart.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

2 Timothy 3:16