July 13, 2011
As I write these words, a hot pile of laundry fresh out of the dryer sits next to me. Alright, that last statement is not completely accurate or truthful. Laundry is indeed on the couch, but it is not hot. It isnt even lukewarm. But its still laundry. Granted, I am very loose with my definition of fresh out of the dryer because I use hours rather than minutes to serve as my measurement.
This afternoon my wife went out with our girls so I could get some writing done. The sole responsibility she left me with was to fold the laundry. To make my task even easier, she took the clothes out of the laundry for me. However, hours later the clothes sit in the same spot. At least, I can tell her I knocked out a huge chunk of this writing assignment. Now dont get me wrong; Ive had every intention of getting my task accomplished. I even pictured the joy that would appear on my wifes face when shed come home with the clothes not only folded, but also put back in the drawer (since this is her definition of actually doing laundry). When Id get stuck on a sentence Id even go to pick up a shirt. My intentions were good, but so far my execution has stunk.
The problem with intentions, even the good variety, is that without action they are meaningless. This truth isnt confined to household chores or tasks on my honey do list. It serves as a universal truth. Think about it for a moment. Most parents dont want to be described as absent, abrasive or a failure by their children. Every individual who has held a little one in their arms dreams about being able to earn the title of Mom of the Year or Best Dad on the Planet and proudly display their accomplishment on a coffee mug or t-shirt.
The majority of parents start out with the good intentions of nurturing their child and raising them to become fully functional members of society. Yet, without taking tangible steps towards that end goal, their dream will never become a reality. You dont just wake up one morning and instantly become an outstanding parent.
A husband can have ever intention of showing his wife how much he loves her, but all the intention in the world will never make the love magically appear in their relationship. Action is needed. One can dream about crossing the finish line after a grueling 26.2 miles, but unless they lace up their shoes and start running, there is close to a 0% chance of them becoming a marathoner. Action is needed. You can desire to reflect Christs heart more profoundly in your actions through your One Word, but unless you are willing to take that first step, your walk will remain in a standstill. Action is needed.
Good intention is not the same thing as actually doing good. True faith always leads to action. Movement and momentum define a relationship with Christ. We must live our beliefs and do something with the intentions we feel. Scripture speaks very clearly about our actions not earning salvation, but rather serving as a response to the hope we have in Christ. If we truly believe that Christ is life, then it would be counter cultural for us to live as if this werent true. In Matthew 5:13-16, the imagery of salt and light is used to describe the basic character of a Christians life:
13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Captured in this passage is the reason we must make every effort to be great stewards of the influence weve been given and not sit on the sideline with just good intentions. The Greek word for salt is halas. They used this term to describe a preservative or something which cleanses and purifies. In essence, we have been charged with doing the purifying work of Jesus here on earth. To be like salt means to add something that is beneficial to the earth. By living your life differently and acting on your intentions, you are adding the essential qualities of Jesus to this world.
This leaves us with some pretty challenging questions we must look into ourselves for answers. How can we be a light to the world through acting on our One Word? Where do my intentions and actions not line up? What must the world see? If we dont live as the salt to this world then what is the point in being salt in the first place? If I am a believer and dont try to live as a light to those around me, what is the point? Jesus tells us who we are. We are the salt and light. We are called to make a difference and directly impact culture. If our salt doesnt add flavor to this world and our light fails to illuminate then what is the point?
As the salt and light we are urged to go out in the world. Not Jesus, but you. God is calling each of us to be a light in a darkened world. But, this wont take place unless we act on our intentions. Our hope is the way we live our lives will lead men and women to glorify God and catch a glimpse of the transformation which occurs when God captures someones heart. Being a light is about point others towards God.
- Read Galatians 5:25. When it comes your One Word, in what ways are you actions inconsistent with your good intentions and desires toward change? What action is needed to push you towards movement?
- Why doesnt intention always lead to action? What has prevented you from making your intentions with your One Word a reality?
Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2011. If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!