“It’s the thought that counts” was my philosophy for many years. It’s a great reliever of guilt. To be honest, I used good intentions as a crutch for far too long. I have always been someone who can dream up some grand things; the best intentions. However, when it came down to it, schedules got in the way, I lacked resources, energy, etc. The surprises of motherhood got in the way. I’ve always been quick to let myself off the hook knowing deep down I have pure intentions.
It wasn’t until the last two years or so that God began speaking to me about the difference between good intentions and actions.
I began to realize that my good intentions weren’t equating to biblical obedience. If I’m candid, at first, I didn’t want to hear it. It was easy for me to recognize things and needs. But it was the actions took time and energy I felt like I didn’t have.
In 2013 when God began to prompt our hearts to adopt, I had no idea what it meant to put action to my good intentions. I was stumped. I remember so clearly receiving the call from God and deep down thinking, “Am I really capable of being obedient enough to walk this out? Like the whole thing…?”
Good intentions aren't enough. INTENTIONS cannot replace the ACTION of biblical obedience.
Doing more than just sharing with people that we felt called to adopt and not just learning about adoption but really and truly doing the necessary things to bring this entire thing into fruition; with the result of becoming parents and walking out this call on a daily basis. That felt a little overwhelming to me. I was so enraptured by the biblical call that was set before me. I honestly think it may have been my first time of putting action behind something God had commanded me to do. (Outside my comfort zone, that is.)
I think so often in our Christian walk we can talk, think, and study the bible to death and still really miss the point.
We can feel like our salvation is more like a rescue mission. The focus being on us being saved individually in contrast to what it is really all about; the great commission.
I continually imagine myself before God making justifications like, “I know you said this and I actually had it memorized and when the time came that felt comfortable I was going to do it.” I realize what a wasted life that would be. In no way do I think living out the biblical commands is easy but quite frankly, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
As Christians, we must honestly reflect and analyze our words and beliefs to make sure they are adding up to our actions. The bible tells us “a tree is known by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33)
I am so terrified of missing the point. The kind of terrified that can keep me up at night. Although I have been obedient to one call I feel like that makes it even more frightening to continue to live out the gospel in actions and obedience.
In all honesty, it’s hard. Not just the kind of hard that “adulting” requires but more of an earth-shattering hard.
The type of hard that rocks your life and turns it upside down because you will not be the same as you were before you heed the call of action. BUT it’s the kind of hard that makes you painfully aware of our inadequacies and our need for a savior. But it is here that we can glorify God. Our obedience is tangible evidence of our love for Jesus because when you experience God’s mercy and grace. You cannot go on living life any other way!
Related Post: Radical Obedience
As Christians, we can see the heartbreaking need in this world and even blame God for not doing something about it. However, this is where we must ask ourselves one poignant question. “Isn’t that why we are here on this earth?” Are we not the hands and feet set here to do “his works?” (1 Corinthians 12:27) At what point do we stop singing about it or talking about it but actually start doing what it is we are called to do.
How is God calling us to respond to what is happening in the world? And will we be obedient?
When I hold my children’s hands, I am overcome with the physical realization of the action necessary behind what we are biblically called to do. When I think of the mounds of paperwork, doctors’ appointments, and fundraising that went into bringing our children home from Central America, I realize that being intentional was necessary to bring the calling into fruition. Through that process, God stretched us to limits I had never imagined we could reach. He also revealed the parts of us where we were so incapable.
Daily I found myself at the feet of Jesus begging for His strength and wisdom. It was a season of refining and dependence that I had never known. As I look at my children, I am reminded of the process it took to get them here. That obedience is necessary to fulfill Gods commands. Looking at my children also reminds me that our obedience is what separates us from unbelievers. In the words of John Piper;
“Faith, by its very nature, produces action. It is intrinsic. Each of us is wired to feel and act in accordance with what we believe to be true. We cannot help it.”
My children are my daily reminder of obedience that is created by the love of God. They are also the reminder of the deep fulfillment of following God’s commands. I pray always to be so overcome by God’s love and mercy that, “I can’t help” but be called to action. Because I can’t fathom missing out on the blessings and beautiful refinement that is hidden in what God calls us to do.
My Prayer for today:
“I pray we will all be lovers of God, that without question will produce action and obedience in our life. God prompts our hearts for the action and calling you have set out before us. Give us willing hands and feet to walk out your word and commandments. Let our hearts be overwhelmed with your mercy and love that in result, we will live lives fully surrendered to your mission and plan. Father, I pray that we will have the boldness to ask you what it is you will have us do. And I ask Lord that in our inadequacy that we continually be pointed back to you. It is in your name we pray, Amen.”