Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Intentional Christian Life

PHILIPPIANS 2:1-8 – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Here is a little personal confession that I think you would join me in making. I wish for an easy Christian life like setting cruise control on my vehicle and enjoying the ride. Or I would like to arise in the morning, take some “spiritual vitamin” called“ Effortless Christianity” and just experience instant spiritual maturity, instant influence for Christ and instant obedience. Well as we know and as the saying goes, “That is a pipe dream.” So, how about a reminder of the reality in the Christian life?

In today’s scripture, we get the supreme example from the Lord Jesus of what it takes to live the Christian life. Slowly read again the Philippians passage and do so looking at the intentionality of Jesus. He emptied Himself on purpose. He took on the form of a servant on purpose. He humbled Himself on purpose by going to the cross on purpose. I know there is redundancy in my past sentence, but we need constant “redundancy” or reminders that the Christian life is lived intentionally.

One of the great challenges in living the Christian life is the weakness of the flesh tempting us to a Christian life of “feel like it obedience” to the commands of God. But before we move on, remember, we show God we love Him by obedience. Jesus said,“ If you love me, you will keep my commandments”(John 14:15) and He said nothing about “feel like it obedience.”

So, have we experienced times we failed to obey known commands of God because we didn’t feel like it? Probably. How about this one? God commands us not to forsake the assembly of ourselves together(Hebrews 10:25). We might have justified disobedience to this command to be with God’s people because we didn’t feel good. Might be legit. Might not be. The way to know would be this . . . Would our not feeling good that caused us to miss church be enough to keep us out of work the very next day? Probably not. If that is true, we have failed to live the purposeful, intentional Christian life by faith. We have given into our weak flesh.

We know feelings come and go and should we find our obedience to the clear commands of God being feelings-based not faith-based, then the consistency of our Christian life will also come and go as well. Yes, the Christian life is difficult but not impossible. God never gives a command without the power to obey the command, even when we don’t feel like obeying. And ironically, the more we exercise the intentional Christian life when the flesh doesn’t want to, the more we grow in the faith and desire to obey the Lord by our intentional obedience. Think about it. Every action we take in life is intentional to include living the Christian life.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to obey You by intentional acts of faith and not by my wavering feelings.”

QUOTE: “To love goes beyond emotions .It includes acts of the will validating the emotions.”