It’s always easier to react to life rather than to shape it.
After all, it’s one thing to respond well to what life throws at us. It’s another thing altogether to choose the direction of our lives.
I don’t mean we choose what happens to us in life. I do mean that God has given us the freedom to make significant choices.
Just Look at Jesus
Obviously, Jesus was a great model of choosing to live intentionally. His choice of where to live offers a basic example.
Nobody went to Nazareth unless they had to. The city sat off the beaten path and high on a hill. Yet it was the perfect place for the boy Jesus to grow up in safe seclusion, away from the grasp of any who might seek to harm Him (Matthew 2:21–23).
Years later, at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus moved His base of operations from the sleepy town of Nazareth to the bustling Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Matthew notes how this move fulfilled “what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet” (Matthew 4:14). While several cities along the shore could have fulfilled this prophecy, it seems that Jesus’ choice of Capernaum had more deliberate purposes.
A Strategic Move
A thriving fishing village, Capernaum straddled the international highway that stretched from Syria to Egypt. By choosing Capernaum, Jesus selected a city that enjoyed a constant flow of people who could carry His message to many places. And that’s just what happened.
As Jesus preached in Galilee, “news about Him spread throughout all Syria.” Not only did travelers take the news north into Syria, but they also took it by other roads into “Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan” (Matthew 4:24-5). Jesus knew the Father’s will, and choosing where to live allowed God’s direction for His life to be accomplished.
Questions that Need Intentional Answers
In our lives and ministries, we must not merely exist but choose to live strategically. I like the perspective David Livingstone offers:
“I will place no value on anything I have or possess unless it is in relationship to the kingdom of God.” —David Livingstone
Answering two questions can help bring this into focus:
- What represents the best use of my time for God’s glory?
- In what location or vocation can I best serve the Lord?
Sometimes, these answers require a major move—as was the case with Jesus.
But sometimes, we simply need to change our thinking and ask ourselves, Is the kingdom of God really the goal of my life?
Question: What strategies help you to live intentionally rather than simply to react to life? Please leave a comment.
Post adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006). Used by permission.