Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built,But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:46-49, ESV)
The definition of intentional, in this case, is to be deliberate, involving thought about obedience or the act of obeying. It has been said that the secret to running a successful race is to have a definite goal established from the very beginning. In the scripture quoted above, I believe that Jesus is letting us know that obedience to the Word of God is the Christian’s foundation. Christ came to be our Savior to correct the disobedience of humankind by, Himself, living a perfect life of obedience to Father God. It is through our acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and Lord that we are forgiven and reconciled back to God. As followers of Christ, it must be our goal and purpose to imitate the example of Jesus’ obedience.
As we study the life of Christ in the Word of God, we find many things that God is asking us to do that we think are impossible. The truth is that, in our own strength or ability, those activities may indeed be impossible, but God is not asking us to do them by ourselves. Jesus came and gave us the example and then promised to send us a helper, Holy Spirit, to live in us and walk beside us. Holy Spirit is assigned to those who ask for help to be what God desires for us to be: Christ-like. Jesus promised in Hebrews 13:5-6 that He would never leave or forsake us. We are never alone in our pursuit of obedience to the commands and instructions of God’s Word.
How are we then to be intentional in our obedience to God? God has given us free will and therefore a choice. We must choose to pursue obeying God in every act and deed of life. We must have faith that obedience is possible with the help of Holy Spirit. God has given us instructions and an example as to how we are to conduct our lives, but He has also made provision for our imperfections and failures. First John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (ESV). Then 1 John 2: 1 says, My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (NKJV). Intentional obedience commits to pursuing obeying with the faith that we have help to succeed and forgiveness for potential failings.
The important thought is that we follow Christ with committed intentionality through the expectation of success and the assurance of forgiveness if needed. Don’t follow Christ with the anticipation or fear of failure but, rather, a belief and faith that with God all things are possible to those that believe. Mark 9:23 reminds us: Jesus said to him, if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.