I’ve been focused lately on living intentionally. My theme this year is “Devotion”, and I’ve already discovered increasing my devotion to Christ is nearly impossible without ordering my days in an intentional way. Unless I am very specific about how I will choose to spend my time, my time will get spent in ways that in no way reflect my devotion to Christ. At least at this stage of my own walk with God, unstructured time rarely defaults to time spent with Him.
It’s been both an enlightening and frustrating realization. While I’ve been reading books on living intentionally, it was Francois Fenelon who helped me see how living intentionally is firmly rooted in the pages of God’s Word. Here’s how the Bible demonstrates intentional living through the practice of living in the moment, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, and being content with what you have…
Live In the Moment
As the Israelites wandered through the desert, they never knew where they would wind up the next day. Sometimes they would stay in one place for weeks, while at other times they would be on the move to a new location every day. They could never make long term plans because they never knew where they might find themselves. Instead of mapping out their five and ten year plans, they had to focus on and make the most of each day. It was all they knew. I think this would have resulted in the formation of deep relationships and a total reliance on God for the future. Since only He knew where they were going, they needed to trust He had it all under control and relax in their confidence in His goodness and holiness.
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
The only way the Israelites knew when to go and when to stay was by keeping their eyes on the pillar of clouds in front of them. We know God was in the pillar because when Moses went to speak with Him, the cloud would descend onto the tent where Moses was (Exodus 33:9). So the people looked to God and when He moved, they moved. When God stood still, so did they. It’s a beautiful picture of obedience.
Be Content with What You Have
Each morning, God would supply the Israelites with their food for the day. The Bible says everyone gathered as much as they needed (Exodus 16:16-20). If you had a big appetite, you could gather a lot; if you were feeling pretty good, perhaps a little would do. Regardless of what was gathered, it had to be eaten that day. Trying to save some for later resulted in it spoiling and becoming infested with maggots. The lesson here is to be content with what God has given to you for this day; trust He will provide for tomorrow as well, but don’t try to take the responsibility of provision upon yourself. God has promised to take care of that.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8-9 which says, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.” When we are living intentionally, we are focused only on what God has given us to do in this moment, on this day. We need not worry about anything else. Living this way requires we put our total trust in Him, and live in complete obedience. That’s living intentionally for God, and it is a sure pathway to devotion.