It seems like every day this world gets more deceitful. Everyone does whatever they think will benefit them the most, extend their career the most, get them the most money or power. As a result of this deceit, people are left wondering what an individuals motives really are. "Is he only friends with me because he's trying to take advantage of me?" or "Do they only like me because of my stuff?" These question plague the minds of people everywhere. We are forced to live lives aware that someone may be using us for their own personal gain. I don't think I have to spell out the dangers of this lifestyle for you.
People are afraid of getting close to one another. They're afraid of taking risks at the expense of their well-being. People are worried that they will put themselves and their feelings on the line to only receive a negative result. We are made into fearful beings, discouraged by opportunities of experiencing true joy and happiness.
In my own personal experience, I have found those that call themselves Christians to be some of the most fearful and anxious people. An individual gets hurt or taken advantage of, they find Jesus, and they sweep every problem under the rug of salvation and holiness without ever addressing it. The Christian is able to function for a while from this new found hope in Christ, but gradually the bitterness begins to set in, the memories of hurt flow through the cracks of our own misguided inadequacy. Then we become the hollowed shell of the Jesus-follower, once inhabited by joy and hope, now marked by bitterness and doubt. I think there is a solution to this problem.
That solution is living intentionally, living with a mindset characterized by purpose, not circumstance.
When an individual takes the first step in faith to follow Jesus, it is the first step in living an intentional life. They understand that without Christ, this life has no meaning and this life has no ultimate goal that is worthy of devoting to. Only through Christ are we able to find true fulfillment and true goals.
Christians should strive for living as intentional as possible in every encounter. Whether it be in the line for coffee, driving on the freeway, or sitting in class. We are given the opportunity to be intentional in every encounter simply because the light and love of Christ is within us. We are given the opportunity to be a part of God's work because Christ is in us.
Have you ever really sat and thought about that? That something so insignificant in this world (our life) can be used for something so significant (another's life). Each day we are presented with opportunities to share the gospel and this goes so much further than just giving someone a little New Testament. It is pouring into their lives as Christ has done for you. It is accepting them as one made in the image of God, no matter their appearance. It is so vital to the Christian life that we are discipling those that don't know the Lord as their Savior.
Christians should have a better understand than anyone about how much we need Jesus in our lives. Without Christ in us, our lives mean absolutely nothing. Nothing we do is good, and nothing we do is worthy. It is our responsibility and calling to tell others about what Christ has done in our lives through our testimonies and invite them to figure out what He can do for them.
To make it a little more practical, here's some steps to be more intentional:
1. Every day, thank God for His gace
It's pretty basic I know, but when we begin our day understanding that we deserve the same punishment as Satan, it is very easy to understand why we should reflect on God's provision of His Son as our Savior. Don't dwell on your sinfulness, just thank Christ He has made you clean.
2. Look at people as ones that bear the image of God.
Again, pretty basic Christian principle, but you would be surprised at how many people turn their noses up at someone they think as inferior to them. We are all made in God's image and everyone should be treated as such.
3. Be strengthened by the truth that the Holy Spirit is within you as a Christ follower.
Do you understand that the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the grave dwells within you? We are filled with such a great and powerful Spirit! There is no reason to be dismayed when things do not go our way or circumstances turn for the worse. The Spirit will guide and protect us faithfully.