Good intentions

FRANKLIN LIVING—They say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and each of us have lived through family vacations or other events that went all wrong because of poor planning or poor execution of plans. Our intentions don’t guarantee a positive experience!

Although these things continue to happen in our lives, we still struggle with an “intention-action gap” in many areas. Somehow our actions don’t always add up to our intentions. Intentional living doesn’t just happen; it’s a commitment to actions that bring about specific results.

There’s a lot of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. One passage says, “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your intentions will succeed” (16:3). If you make yourself do what’s right, your thoughts will eventually get in line and follow your actions. You can literally “do” yourself into a better way of thinking!

That diet isn’t going so well because of what you are doing, not because of what you are thinking. That new budget isn’t working because of your spending habits, not because you don’t have good financial intentions. Those relationships are stale, stagnant and growing toxic because of someone’s actions or inactions – not because of the intentions of someone’s heart.

What you actually do matters more than the thoughts you are thinking about what you should do. To keep things as they are, just do nothing! But if you have higher hopes, if you want to be and do better, you have got to act.

I’m challenging you to live by decision rather than living by default.

Default is what happens when we don’t think, when we do what we’ve always done and follow our blind passions or when we refuse to listen to wise counsel. Default sends us in the wrong direction. It stifles our growth and destroys any thoughts of change. C.S. Lewis once said, “Spiritual growth requires an intentional effort; spiritual stagnation requires no effort at all.”

Whether you desire spiritual growth, or financial gain, or weight loss or anything else that requires intentional effort, you have got to move. Make a change. Do something different. Stop “planning” to get up and go to church – do it. After you’ve taken action over and over again, you’ll start to think differently. Your mind will follow your actions. It’s how God designed our minds. He tells us to “capture our thoughts” so that our thoughts serve us, rather than allowing those thoughts to destroy us!

So what intentions are you leaving untried in your mind? What could you do differently today to release joy, kindness, goodness and love into your family and our community? Do something different today and bridge the gap between your intentions and your actions!


Trae Durden has been the preaching minister at North Highlands church of Christ in Russellville since January 2013. He is married to Leann Durden, and they have a daughter, Darcy Grace (15), and a son, Dalton (12).

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