Scripture Study Verses: Isaiah 29:16 & Ephesians 5:15-16
“INTENTIONAL LIVING” BEGINS WITH “CONVICTION”:
“CONVICTION” Definition: “the act or process of convincing,” “the state of being convinced,” or “a fixed or strong belief”.
So then, “BIBLICAL CONVICTION” applied to a true believer, can be said to mean… a person whose convictions are derived from Scripture and whose convictions affect him spiritually.” *[See footnote [i] ].
My Testimony of Living Under Godly “Conviction”–
Years ago, while trying to live out my Christian life… God was convicting me to a need in my spiritual life. A need to be a person who does not live by default, but lives by decision.
To be a person who ‘determines’, is a person who STARTS at the beginning –
“I will do what it takes to know God better, to love Him more, so that He can work in and through me to be more Christlike.”
Once I became aware of God’s plan in my life…not my plan…as prompted by the Holy Spirit, I became determined; determined to live my spiritual life intentionally.
THE CHALLENGE –
I have read somewhere in my studies over the years, that there are…
THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE:
- Those who make things happen.
- Those who watch things happen.
- Those who wonder what happen.
My challenge? Becoming INTENTIONAL in ALL areas of life.
I believe it was Dr. Randy Carlson of Family Life Radio who once said, “To be intentional is knowingly choose your direction and shake up the routine…or the autopilot of your spiritual life.”
“SPIRITUAL GROWTH requires an intentional effort on our part, while SPIRITUAL STAGNATION and decline requires no effort at all”
[See footnote [ii] ].
So if you find yourself in a state of godly conviction, of needing spiritual growth, let me try to help you understand how to be intentional; strengthening your relationship with God.
God has redeemed you not just from SIN and its penalty, but He has also redeemed us from an empty life.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says,
“You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”
A FEW STEPS TO LIVING WITH “DECISION”:
THE PROBLEM. Too many people end there.
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)” (Ephesians 5:15).
*Note: DETERMINED PEOPLE…strive to make wise decisions based on the Bible’s wise decisions, no matter what your coworkers, your neighbors, or family say.
To put DETERMINATION on the Front Burner—not the back burner, then turn the flame on high!
Being DETERMINED to live decisively–elevate correct priorities.
“He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]” (Colossians 1:18).
YOUR PRIORITIES should…
- HONOR GOD
- HONOR YOUR FAMILY
- HONOR OTHERS
Being in COVENANT compliance in all areas of your life; to submit to His authority.
One way that The Fear of God can be explained is “To honor God, with the audacity to obey” [Creflo Dollar sermon notes].
Not in a “submissive” frame of mind? If your answer is “no”, then you are living in rebellion.
[Oh, your perversity!] You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?
Who CREATED you? GOD.
Who has the right to tell you what to do? GOD.
Setting Aside Our AGENDA and Looking at God’s AGENDA –
Another STEP to look at, is we NEED to recognize that only by God’s grace, we’re even here.
Surely, we should be so grateful, to allow the Ruler of the earth and heaven to have His way in our own lives. He deserves that much. He is LORD whether we want to admit it or not.
Allow Him to not only be the SAVIOR of your life, but the LORD, the boss, the C.O.O. (Chief Operating Officer), or whatever title you might give Him.
BUT…He is the One we need to SUBMIT to, above all others, especially ourselves. Tell Him you are serious about following Him as LORD.
Increase your time in the Bible and Prayer…
Colossians 3:16 says to…
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness…”
It makes sense to me, if I wanted to LIVE a life more decisively, seeking to please God, then I needed to know what pleases God.
The best way to learn what makes my Heavenly Father smile (pleasing Him)…is to read and study His Word.
Some need to increase some, while others need to just plain start. That’s okay. START!
- READ 5-10 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be an hour.
- CHOOSE a time that works best for you, and stick to it!
Since retirement, I choose the morning. The issue isn’t when you do it, but the fact that you do it.
It’s best to be consistent on the time. If you are not in the habit of daily reading the Bible, then start off small. But START! Don’t procrastinate any longer.
Dr. Charles R. Swindoll says, “The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of JOY. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind–jump in.”
And if you are in the habit, then bump it up a little. PRAY while you are reading the Bible. as the Holy Spirit prompts your spirit into responding to what you’re reading, and then, just do it!
NEXT…Daily Renew Your Walk with God –
I have to make this decision every day, before anything else I do. Setting aside a special time [before my bible reading] to meet with Him, to tell Him I LOVE Him and His Word.
Renewing Your Covenant Promise…(Daniel 9:4):
And I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God, Who keeps covenant, mercy, and loving-kindness with those who love Him and keep His commandments.
EXPECT GOD TO MOVE…
If you might be thinking at this point of study, that the RESULTS of living by DECISION is brought about by your own effort, you’re missing the point.
In fact, it is only by God’s Grace that He decides to move and work in yours and my life.
The STEPS presented in this blog are not an attempt to jump through a bunch of spiritual hoops, trying to please God with our spirituality.
The ideas, the concepts, the steps, are only tools that I use to gain insight into God’s LOVE & CARE, not because we’ve done everything just right, but because He is honored in doing them.
God Sees the BENEFITS it brings us…
So, He blesses the efforts, because it brings HIM glory, not us.
We put forth the EFFORT because it pleases Him and blesses us!
BUT…let me point something out here. Even if God did nothing in your life because of your decisive efforts to become closer to Him, have you really lost anything? I don’t think so.
Your clearer view of correct priorities will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and your family. God honors that.
God Brings the RESULTS, not us.
We do these things, trusting God will be pleased to mold us and to be more like Him. And by the way, before you start thinking, that it’s easy for The WORD Detective…I was in the working world most of my Christian life. These principles have worked for me and still working for me, whenever I put them into practice, no matter what situation.
Living By DECISION Instead of DEFAULT!
JESUS is our example, for He did nothing by default and was decisive about everything.
Nothing shows that better than Luke 9:51:
“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (NIV).
The King James Version says that “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”
“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven…”
He knew what was coming up.
He knew that going to Jerusalem would bring about DEATH.
BUT the book of Hebrews, 12:2, tells us that Jesus went to Jerusalem and faced the cross, rejecting its shame, for the JOY set before Him.
Huh? The “JOY”?
How could the thought of being tried illegally in secret be joyous?
How can knowing that He would hang on a cross for hours and hours, suffering in the most agonizing way of capital punishment cause JESUS to see JOY?
ANSWER: Because He saw beyond Jerusalem.
He saw the result–Pardon, Forgiveness, Freedom, Opportunity for you and I to know Father God on a personal level.
He knew what would be needed to be done before time! And, He decided that He would do it. That my friends, is being “intentional”!
JESUS waited for just the right time, and then He came to make it happen!!
In comparison to what JESUS has done for us, is it really too much to ask ourselves that we spend a bit of time each day to deepen our relationship with the One who made that RELATIONSHIP possible?
Believe me, it isn’t easy. But God works and makes it worth it.
Making A Bold Decision of Commitment to Live Decisively–
In study this past week, I came across a Bible verse that brings out the heart of this blog’s message:
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
If you’ve been LIVING a life on autopilot, of “default”; a failure to fulfill an obligation as a result from ignoring the conviction presented by Abba, Father, you are going to have to make a choice. You don’t have it all figured out right now, but you need to decide to be determined with a decisive effort to deepen and strengthen your walk with God, so it affects every area of your life…24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
And I guarantee that if you make the effort, God will change your life as He has changed mine. Believe me, He wants to do that for you.
But you need to be INTENTIONAL about being “INTENTIONAL” about that!
Expecting God’s PROMISE…(Romans 4:18-22 READ)
Abraham is called “the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16).
From the standpoint of FAITH, Abraham was certainly the epitome of a man with ‘biblical conviction.’
When all odds were stacked against him, and even though at times he tried to give God a hand by taking matters into his own hands, he was DECISIVE in holding on to the PROMISES of God.
It’s up to you. To decide today to start Living With Intentional Expectation!
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise–sensible, intelligent people; Making the very most of the time–buying up each opportunity–because the days are evil.”
**NOTE: If you feel liking sharing with other readers, a new decision of walking intentionally in your life, please do so in the comment section of this BLOG.
FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:
Footnote [i] : Bible.org. – Mark #6 by J. Hampton Keathley, III ; Footnote [ii] : from C. S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters.
Scripture quoted from the AMPLIFIED BIBLE, except where noted.
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