Steps to Living an Intentional Christian Lifestyle- Part One
Nowadays, mindfulness and intentionality are being spoken of in most secular circles as a roadmap to achieving the best version of ourselves. But what does that look like in the Christian walk? How does one foster an intentional Christian lifestyle as a born again believer? A Christian lifestyle built on intentionality and discipline is one that is led by the Holy Spirit.
This article outlines the first 5 out of 10 ways you can live an intentional Christian lifestyle. These suggestions are not exhaustive. I am sure that there are many other things we should do regularly, but this will give you some ideas without being too overwhelming, so as not to shirk our responsibility to continue growing as Christians. I pray that God will use this article in your life and help you walk in the truth of God's Word.
1. Start With a Willing Heart.
Introducing good habits and discipline into our lives requires some form of planning, scheduling, willpower and self-discipline and our Christian lifestyle is no different. Where it matters most for us, is that our hearts are willing, which stems from a deep desire within us to abide in God's truth.
While it may seem challenging trying to carve out the right time to spend with God, our desire to be in His presence will drive us to do whatever it takes to make Him the centre of our Christian lifestyle. No matter which time of the day you choose, remember that God is always with us! There is no limit to when or how we can seek Him.
2. Time to Clean House in your Christian Lifestyle.
Acknowledge where God currently is in your life and understand where He deserves to be. If you are aware that Jesus is not the head CEO of your life, and your decisions and actions have little or no influence from Him, then it is time to assess the things that need to be changed. When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we must make room for God to work in and through us by removing aspects of our lives that do not profit our relationship with Him and can hinder our growth as believers.
The scripture says in Ephesians 3: 22 to throw off our evil nature and former ways of life and that a spiritual renewal of our thoughts and attitudes must take place. It also states that when we become a born again Christian, we are a new person in Christ, created in God's likeness righteousness, Holy and true. For there to be a place for a Christian lifestyle to be nurtured, we need to remove the old in order to make room for the new.
3. Keep Your Eyes on The Prize
Let's face it, this world that we live in was designed to distract us from what is most important- fellowship and intimacy with God; which is why it seems like such a struggle to put aside time for Him when life gets hectic. We are so occupied with running in this hamster wheel called life that our relationship with God can become secondary or even non-existent. If we aren't careful, building our identities around the world's notion of who we should be, while focusing less on who God created us to be, we can stand the risk of permanent separation from God.
Yes! It goes without question that God wants us to be comfortable and content, and He wants us to have ambitions and goals in order to thrive in this world, but NOT without the right foundation- one built on Jesus. By doing so, we allow ourselves to be shaped and molded according to God's standards and not the world's. This is why the scripture in Matthew 6:33 says- "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Building a Christian lifestyle on this premise is necessary for every believer.
4. Committing Yourself to The Lord is Key to any Christian Lifestyle
Like any important relationship, business or personal, our relationship with God requires devotion and commitment. In fact, commitment to God has the unique benefit of positively impacting every other facet of both our private and professional lives. So, what does commitment to God entail? It entails a willing heart, which was pointed out earlier, but also consistency, follow-through and self-discipline. In fostering an intentional Christian lifestyle, we must adopt a deliberate and uncompromising attitude toward setting aside time with God.
Make devotion time a part of your morning routine to set the tone for your day ahead. Tuck away a minimum of 5-10 mins a day for spiritual reading/ bible study/quiet time with God. It doesn't have to be all at once, it can be broken up into parts. It is important that, once you find what works for you, remain consistent so that this new habit can be easily integrated as part of your Christian lifestyle. John 1:4 says "And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
5. Self Awareness, Humility and Accountability
As human beings, we are all prone to overestimating our own goodness and abilities. We tend to rely on the goodness of our hearts to guide us through life and to hopefully make sound judgements. But God has something else to say about our goodness. In Jeremiah 17:9, it says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and is desperately wicked, and that no one knows it. The scripture in Mark 7:21-23 even says "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
As uncomfortable as it may feel, it is so necessary to remove our pride and take an honest look at ourselves. When we accept how wretched we are without Jesus (our motivations, intentions, actions and our thoughts), we will find that we cannot trust our hearts at all to lead us through life the way we've been taught to believe. Moreover, without God's Holy Spirit living in us and transforming our hearts, we aren't even able to please God as stated in Romans 8:5-8, which says "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
The best way as children of God to keep ourselves accountable and humble is by spending time in God's word, which increases our understanding of ourselves and the world around us- straight from the heart of our Creator. We will not only gain in wisdom but we will be fortified in His Holy Spirit to counteract the challenges and negative experiences we face in a way that leads us to victory and not destruction.
Being self-aware is a very important aspect of being intentional about our Christian lifestyle, because taking stock of ourselves on a daily basis will result in a humility that brings us to the feet of God. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 51:10-12, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Ask God on a daily basis to renew your heart and give you a fresh anointing to equip you for what is up ahead.
I hope you enjoyed the first half of our two-part series - "Steps to Living an Intentional Christian Lifestyle," and pray that these tips work as a tool of encouragement that will help you in building your own Christian lifestyle! To stay tuned for part two of this series, subscribe to the form below and you'll be the first to know when it's released!
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