December 15, 2008

Making Good Intentions Happen

Written By Cary Schmidt

Four Reasons We Fail to Accomplish Our Best Intentions

As you are staring at a New Year, you’ve probably started setting some goals, making some decisions, and laying out plans. We all have a TON of good intentions. But, if you really think about it, good intentions never accomplished a thing! When it comes to living and doing the will of God, it’s more than the thought that counts. Intending to do something never made a real difference.

I love Nehemiah. In chapter one he became burdened for his homeland and God placed a vision on his heart of doing something radical and risky. Immediately in chapter two, he became “sore afraid.” But when you read on, he quickly got past intentions and turned them into action.

Would you like to make your good intentions happen this year? Well, here are four reasons we so often fail to accomplish the good that we intended to do.

1. We Mistake Good Desires for True Convictions. In other words, talk is cheap. So often our beliefs do not affect our behavior, and such is the case with our good intentions. They are often merely “warm and fuzzy” desires rather than passionate convictions. If you are passionately committed to something, it will happen. We need to stop patting ourselves on the back for “thinking about doing something good.” Let God turn those good desires into passionate convictions. A conviction is an absolute, non-negotiable that you will act upon. Convictions are a product of your private walk with God, not public opinion polls.

2. We Fail to Foresee the Courage Our Intentions Will Require. Like a very little dog barking his head off at a very large dog on the other side of the fence—we tend to think big without realizing the size of what we are up against. We don’t think of the boldness and risk that will be required of us if we actually step out and act upon our intentions. Acting upon your good intentions will absolutely remove the fence and put you face to face with “the big dog!”  This will put you far out of your comfort zone into new visionary territory. Like Joshua at the banks of the Jordan river, you’d better determine to “be strong and very courageous!”

It’s easier not to take action. Good intentions in our minds are safe, quiet, and rather unrisky. And they still make us feel good. On the other hand, good intentions in action are actually scary! But if these are God’s intentions, then you’d better obey and trust that He will be with you.

3. We Don’t Put a Step By Step Plan of Action Into Place. Most good intentions cannot be done in one simple step. The more complex your vision, the longer it will take to realize and the more intricate steps it will require to get there. Again, it’s easier not to plan. It’s easier to just soothe our conscience that “at least we are thinking of doing something good.” If you don’t have a plan for your good intention, then you’re simply planning for it NOT to be done. If it is a conviction born of God’s leading, then you will sit down and ask yourself, “What’s the first step? What’s the second step? etc., etc.

4. We Expect a Choir of Angelic Applause Rather Than World War 3. Whenever you try to do something right—something good—you are going to be resisted at first. You are inviting attack. Like a quarterback calling a play into motion, you are begging for the defense to pound you. BUT, that’s not how we think. When we launch into some good deed, we usually think “the planets will all align in our favor.” We expect the sun to shine, a rainbow to appear over our heads, and the voice of God to come out of Heaven saying, “This is my beloved child with whom I am well pleased.” We expect everything to work out like a perfect fairytale. This is merely an indicator that we’ve been watching too many Disney movies.

When you do the right thing, you can expect to get clocked by the Devil. He will resist you. That’s how he operates. But eventually, the blessing will follow. The opposition is immediate but the blessings require patience and time.

If we will ever see good intentions become good realities, we will have to move past these four barriers. May God bless your new year as you develop convictions, turn them into courageous actions with specific plans that lead you through intense opposition into great blessings! Sounds fun doesn’t it!?