This is my first time writing one of these so I figured I would go with a subject that is nice and light…intentions. (sarcasm intended 😉 Intentions can be tricky. They are not the most obvious things to pin down, to define. And yet they are extremely important. Matthew 6:21 says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This scripture is directly related to intentions and motivation.
As easy as it is to ignore or be distracted from, the truth is that we are all motivated and influenced by something. No matter the situation there is always some leading that we are following. There are always reasons preceding decisions. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” So what exactly does this mean? What does the Bible mean when it speaks about “the heart?”
The heart of man refers to the inner workings of emotion, mind and will. These are the parts of mankind that we don’t consider all that often but that move us to think, speak and behave in certain ways. With that in mind, wouldn’t you agree that the heart is something to give some attention to?
First, though, I’m hopeful that it will be helpful to examine some typical influencers of the heart. Once again, we are all influenced by something in this life. Many things, in fact, throughout our lifetime. Some of the more obvious influences are TV, music, social media and technology. Others include parents, friends, peers, celebrities, events and trends. But this idea does go a bit deeper?
What are these influences attached to? The Bible separates life in a very simple manner. And life certainly confirms and reflects these Bible truths. At the deepest level, there are two influences. God or the world. Jesus or Satan. The Holy Spirit or self.
We are ultimately motivated and moved to thought, word or action by The Creator God or our created selves. Don’t get me wrong. The devil, the world and the multitude of things that stem from those two sources are certainly involved but, in the end, we do have ourselves to acknowledge as THE responsible party. James 1:14 says, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”
Ultimately, our character, our sin nature is the culprit. And the Bible speaks of only one cure, one solution to this problem. Faith in God. Faith in His work. Faith in His character. Faith in what He has done. Faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the grave and His resurrection to heaven where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Faith in the Gospel.
You might ask, “What does the Gospel have to do with my intentions, with my heart?” Good question. The Gospel, the truth of Jesus, the life and Spirit of God…knowledge of and, more importantly, acknowledgement of the person of Jesus Christ is the only way to a truly free existence. A life experienced in liberty. A heart dead to sin and alive to Christ. Anything else leads our minds back to self. My eyes taken off of Jesus will look inward, and quickly for that matter. I can tell you from experience. My self is ugly. My heart is corrupt. My intentions are purely selfish. But God.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” To receive Christ is to receive truth. The truth is God loves His children and He wants His children to experience Him more. The more we experience God, the more we know Him, the more we find Jesus, the less we will be concerned with ourselves. Our intentions WILL change. Jesus will live through us in a more meaningful way, in a more tangible way. Not only that, we will find life’s meaning to be Jesus. Jesus is the ends to the means. He is truly the Alpha and Omega. Knowing Him is enough.
The path to pure intentions is not trying harder to be pure. It is to let the one who is pure live through us. It is to focus on the one who is love. The way to good intentions is to believe on, to look at, to know the only one who is good. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus responds to a man calling Him good saying, “Why do you ask me about what is good?…There is only One who is good.” God’s goodness trumps our intentions. And praise God, His goodness changes us, intentions and all.
Written by James Serpico: James is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and the Director of Programming Ministries at America’s Keswick. He is a son, a brother and an uncle but, above all, James is a child of the Most High God. He is prayerful that his life will speak of the adoption and eternal inheritance that is found in Christ Jesus.
Think About This: “The measure of a Christian is not in the height of his grasp but in the depth of his love” ― Clarence Jordan