An Intentional Journey

We hear a lot about “being intentional” but not as much about what those intentions are.

In secular law, we see that intention matters. For example, in Canada, there are murder charges in the first degree, second degree and manslaughter. The three of these have various components that distinguish them, but intention is a huge factor. In the court system, judges and jury members attempt to uncover the intention of a defendant. How much more is intention important when we stand before God? God knows our hearts; we must make it our intention to align our hearts with His. We cannot hire a lawyer to develop an argument and plead our case regardless of our true motive. We do, however, have Jesus pleading for us. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

We cannot know someone’s true intentions perfectly; we are inhibited by our humanness. That being said, it is often pretty clear what someone’s intentions are, especially if we can temporarily remove our emotional responses to examine the situation. Understanding that people can have good intentions that just don’t translate well to their actions or words is a very freeing piece of knowledge. It allows us to have more grace for people, protects us from being hurt so often by others, and prevents unnecessary conflict.

I have worked in retail for many, many years. If you have worked in retail, you know that the assortment of individuals you encounter is vast – different moods, different circumstances, different pasts, different beliefs, etc. In my experience, thankfully, most people have pretty good or at least neutral intentions. Unfortunately, encounters of individuals with seemingly bad intentions are often the louder memories in our minds. This is obviously a minor example; an individual’s intentions toward you can lead to small or huge advantages, slight inconveniences or unfortunately, traumatic experiences. I am sorry for the times you have been on the receiving end of bad intentions at any point in your life.

In relationships of any kind, intention is so important. When trying to resolve conflict, people are often encouraged to change their lingo from, for example, “you are so disrespectful” to “I feel very disrespected”. There are a lot of benefits from this simple change and one being that somebody may have respectful intentions but come across disrespectfully. Instead of them being labelled as disrespectful and possibly getting defensive, when they find out that their actions or words came across as disrespectful, they can reflect on it. They may be able to progress positively in a relationship with this specific person, or it may be a less aggressive opener for discussing the issue. It might even bring to light something in their behaviour that they were previously unaware of which will only serve to benefit them in relationships moving forward.

So, what are good intentions? Well… what is “good”? Let’s take a look at a few (of many) examples of goodness in the Bible:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”’ Psalm 16:1-2

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” Isaiah 5:20

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17

“Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:7-10

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Goodness does not exist apart from God. Jesus himself says God is the only thing that’s good (Mark 10:18). Intention and purpose are interconnected – determine your purpose (no biggie, right?) and see if your intentions are following this trajectory. My overarching, foundational purpose is to love and serve the Lord – this should guide my life and establish my intentions (but my sinful nature does get in the way). I think it’s useful to scale things down and look at your intentions on a micro level as well, but I won’t get into that right now, maybe that’ll come in a future post or conversation! I’ll conclude today by saying that intentional living really is a journey – a beautiful but difficult journey. 


Meagan | Love Encompassing