An Intentional Faith

02/15/22

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
// Greg McKeown

A couple of years ago, Apple came out with this new iPhone feature called “Screen Time.” Essentially, it tracks how much time you spend on your device over the week, and at the end of it, sends you a report.

Let me tell you, if you ever need a slap in the face, this is a pretty good way of getting one.

Looking through the amount of time that I spend on different platforms is always convicting. It’s not that these platforms are inherently bad, or that my general use of them is a problem – but I’ll admit that my social media usage is often greater than the time I spend sitting in the presence of God.

The process of prioritizing is something I’ve been learning about a lot in the last couple of years. Between psychological research and lived experience, I can attest to the truth in the words at the top – if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. Thinking about this in the context of a relationship with Jesus – without making time to spend with Him, without intentionally practicing prayer, and without purposely creating rhythms that honour and support that intimacy, building closeness is going to be next to impossible.

Living a life that is IN the world, but not OF it is not something that happens by accident. Following Jesus doesn’t happen without intent. Building a life centered around God takes thought and action. We are saved by grace, through faith, and the work of the cross is finished – but cultivating everyday intimacy with Christ require intentionality.

How to be intentional with your faith

An intentional faith is, simply, the act of putting purpose behind your day-to-day actions and looking for ways to grow closer to God. It’s not about getting everything right, but about keeping Christ at the center in the big picture and the day-to-day. Being purposeful with your time, actions, and words to love God and others in the best way that you can.

Some practical ways to be intentional with your faith are things like:

1. Being intentionally influenced
Investing in relationships, particularly with mentors, with people that you trust to lead you to Jesus is always a good idea. That doesn’t mean living in an all-Christian bubble, but making sure that you have people to lean on who can pray with and for you, give you Biblical advice, and walk with you in all seasons. (The Well Practice is a great place!)

2. Start with Jesus
When it comes to planning your life, routines, and everyday activities, start with what matters most. Instead of waking up and checking if you have time to read your Bible or talk to God, get up early and commit to following through. Give yourself opportunity and resources to learn and grow in your faith. Don’t try and fit God into your life – make your life fit His plan.

3. Ask God to help you
Pray about it. Ask the Lord to move in your heart and life and help you to hold Him at the center of it all no matter what. Seek wisdom on how to best connect with Him and what rhythms will make the most sense for you in this season of life.

Showing up > perfection

In the pursuit of an intentional life, it’s really easy to set incredibly high standards for yourself. And big goals aren’t a bad thing. But we can get caught up in doing things perfectly. In trying to get it all right. Checking off all of the boxes before we come to the cross.

But that’s not the gospel. That’s not the God we serve. And that’s not what Jesus taught.

It doesn’t matter how intentional, purposeful, or consistent we are – we could never earn the grace we’ve been given. The gift that we receive through Jesus’ death on the cross is freedom from the need to achieve or accomplish. Our value and future are not tied to what we can prove.

Intentionality is about cultivating closeness, not earning it. With any habit, there is pressure to get it right and do it properly every time – but all you have to do is show up.

Be present. Talk to God. Be where you’re at, and if you don’t have words, let Him give them to you. The gracious God who gave His own son for us will meet you exactly as you are.

To read more from Anika, visit her website.