Did you make New Year goals this year? I didn’t...because it seems like every time I make these goals, I stop thinking about them way before March. So this year, I am going to be INTENTIONAL. Let’s be honest. To set goals, or resolutions, one must be intentional to see them through. Being intentional is the hardest part. So instead of actually writing goals for this year, let's focus on three areas where we can be intentional in order to mature as disciples of Christ.
To be intentional as described by dictionary.com is to be done on purpose, deliberately. Three key areas to be intentional are spiritual growth, personal health and finances. Growth in each of these areas will allow us to mature as disciples in Christ by becoming better managers of our time, temples, and treasures. I know what you're thinking, "Those are large areas in my life. How will I be able to measure my growth?" You thought right. So how can these areas be measured? With Truth! What does Truth tell us about these areas, and how can we grow?
How can someone experience growth in spirituality? Well, first you have to be INTENTIONAL. Let's use Jesus as our model. First, you need to evaluate how you did last year. Looking at Jesus as the model, you will notice that Jesus got up early and withdrew to a solitary place to be with the Father (Mark 1:35). One way to be intentional in spiritual growth is to spend time with Jesus early in the morning. Personally, I don’t think the specific time of personal time with the Lord matters. However, if Jesus modeled the time to be the first thing of your day, then that is what we should strive for.
One way to be intentional in spiritual growth is rising early each day to spend time with the Father. This will allow a personal connection with Jesus at the start of your day and will truly set the tone for the rest of the day! If you manage your time around Jesus, you're honoring the time He has given you. He will bless the additional time in your day to be productive.
You may be saying, “I already rise early and spend time in the Word.” Great! Continue to model Jesus! I would encourage you to strive for something that maybe you haven’t accomplished like reading through the entire Bible, studying the Bible, going deeper into the Truth. Again, time with the Lord will provide a foundation that won’t fail.
Growing in personal health needs to be, well...you guessed it, INTENTIONAL. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are provided with self-control. Self-control is to have restraint over desires. In the flesh, self-control is challenging...do you know why? Because we are human! Look at Adam and Eve in the Garden. If self-control was easy, Eve wouldn’t have been deceived, and Adam would have had the self-control to resist the temptation.
With the power of the Holy Spirit, we are provided with the Fruit of the Spirit, one of which includes self-control. Self-control is given to help us resist temptation. Truthfully, if you do not make your personal health a priority, you're going against the Lord. We have to remember that our bodies are given to us on loan from Him. We need to be good managers of the Lord’s temple He loaned us.
Some ways for you to grow in your personal health could be eating the right food, drinking plenty of water, getting up and moving (not just walking around the office either). Really being active 4-5 days a week. All of these will require being intentional and leaning on the Holy Spirit to resist the temptation of bad habits. We can lean on the Holy Spirit and pray when we struggle with temptation. Look at Jesus as the model in Matthew 4. Jesus is being tested in the wilderness, but living on every word that comes from God. The Father has to be at the center of our lives to overcome any temptation whether it is food or something else in your life.
Before really focusing on your finances, you should ask yourself, "Where is my treasure? Is my treasure in the world, or stored up in Heaven?" Being intentional in your finances will be no walk in the park. It takes work. If we try to do any of this on our own, we will not be successful. Through the power of Jesus you can overcome debt and begin living freely through your finances.
For my family, we have gained power through the Financial Peace University course. This course uses biblical Truth as the foundation. Build your foundation on rock! Need I say more? I would encourage you to pray about taking the FPU course and lay the right foundation for your finances. This course will change your life and your future!
Being intentional in your time, temple, and treasure will set 2018 apart from every other year. Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not! But having the strength of the Spirit of God is having a foundation that will not crumble under pressure. Here's to being intentional this year!