We may not realise it, but we actually practice intentionality in our everyday lives. Some examples include:
- In the recent General Elections, many of us (myself included) intentionally sought out information on the candidates and party manifestos in order to make an informed vote.
- When a couple finds out they are expecting a baby, they start intentionally to ask around for hand-me-down clothes, buy items like a baby cot and car seat, and the expectant mother starts taking vitamin supplements and stops drinking alcohol to ensure the baby grows well in the womb.
- When children have to sit for major exams like the PSLE, N or O Levels, parents are very intentional about buying assessment books, sending their kids for tuition, clearing space and buying a new desk and for their child to have a conducive environment for studying.
- When Chinese New Year is around the corner, families intentionally spring clean the home, buy new clothes for visitation, stock up on goodies and mandarin oranges, and go to the bank to draw new notes for red packets.
Intentionality can even be seen in something as simple as intentionally setting your alarm clock to wake you up at a time that would ensure that you are not late for school or work. We infuse intentionality into practically everything we do on a daily basis.
Yet, we need to ask ourselves an important question: do we put as much time and effort to intentionally build our relationship with Jesus as we do with all these other aspects of daily life?
Here are some practical and rather sobering questions we might want to ask ourselves:
- Do we set aside even a quarter of the time we spend scrolling through social media every day to intentionally spend daily quiet time with God? (iPhone users can check your screen time report to get a reality check on how much time you are spending on your phone, and specifically on social networking apps.)
- If you are a parent, for every block of time your child spends in a tuition or enrichment class, are they being encouraged to spend even half of that time growing their faith in Christ through reading their Bibles and praying?
- For those who invest a good amount of time in developing and maintaining their physical fitness, are we being intentional about setting aside as much time to train up our spiritual muscles through vital spiritual disciplines?
Do we put intentionality into everything we do in life EXCEPT for deepening our intimacy with Jesus and the Body of Christ? This is a difficult question for myself to answer as well.
James 4:8 exhorts us to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. James encourages believers to take ownership of their relationship with God and put in time and effort to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. This similar principle can also be seen in Jeremiah 29: 12-13,
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
Notice how the Lord Himself gives the Israelite people the directive to take the initiative to call upon Him, pray to Him and seek Him? If that doesn’t make it clear that we need to be intentional about taking the time and making the effort to pursue a deep relationship with God, I don’t know what does!
Let these passages of Scripture help realign our perspective back onto Christ, that we may make the adjustments in our daily lives to ensure that we are intentionally working on the one true thing that will last into eternity – our relationship with Jesus.
By Sister Ethel Yap (YCKC Bulletin 19 July 2020)