Be Intentionalby Cynthia Jennings on March 15, 2023
Growing up as a child I remembered lines on the wall in the closet or on the doorframe in one of the rooms. These pencil vertical dashes with dates and measurements represented the growth of siblings. I saw these vertical dashes at my house, cousins, and friends’ houses.
I would often hear conversation between adults about how much one of the children have grown. I even found myself at friends’ homes measuring to see if my height surpassed theirs.
I was always on the shorter side so I would intentionally stretch my spine just to see some growth…lol.
It was intriguing to see the distance between growth dashes.
Growth. Progress. Advancement. I loved seeing evidence of it then and I love seeing evidence of it today.
This brings to thought Paul and his encouragement to Timothy to set an example to other believers in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul also challenged his young protégé to devote himself to public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and teaching (1Timothy 4:13).
Paul was admonishing Timothy to be intentional, progress in faith and grow in a manner that positively impacts others (1 Timothy 4:15).
As I read this passage of scripture, I wondered. What type of spiritual progress can be seen in my life?
Does my life reflect Jesus?
Am I setting an example in conduct---in the way I behave, respond, and live?
Do I set an example for others in the ways I love—in the words I use---in my purity(holiness)?
Am I growing in the image of God?
These questions caused me to pause. In that pause I took the opportunity to seek God and asked Him to search me inside and out. I asked God to show me the ways I have grown and to show me areas where I need to grow.
That pause reminded me that the progress I want to see in my life is no longer about height—it is about depth.
I want there to be visible evidence of my faith in Jesus that does not waiver.
In life we all want to grow. We all want to see progress. We all want advancement. And we are tenaciously intentional in making those things happen. But are we just as tenacious in being intentional about setting a biblical example as Paul encouraged Timothy?
It is never too late to start. Be intentional and let us live today in such a way that our behaviors, responses, and attitudes reflect a deeply rooted and growing faith.
Let us press on in growth. Move forward in progress. Look towards advancement in the hope, joy, love, and peace of Christ so that others will be inspired to do the same.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me where I used to be and loving me where I am today. Thank You for Your grace and compassion towards me. I am asking for Your forgiveness for times when I move forward without You, forgive me for times when my behavior, responses and attitudes did not reflect the example of Jesus Christ. I pray for continual guidance of the Holy Spirit to help me be intentional in my progress, growth and advancement as Paul encouraged Timothy so that I will have a positive impact on others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
PEARLStoPONDER: Are the vertical dashes on your growth chart in the same place?
Ephesians 5:1-2--Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Colossians 3:12-13--Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Romans 13:14-- But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Ephesians 4:21-32--assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.