Practicing what you preach

DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFEI’ve always had good intentions in life.

Intentions to make God #1 in my life – the center of my very existence.

I plan on waking up earlier the next day to spend some one on one time with Him… but then I keep hitting snooze on my alarm clock.

I have intentions to encourage someone during the day who I know is going through a particularly rough time.

But then I get distracted by one thing after another and in the end as I’m falling asleep in my bed I realize I never reached out to that friend, and my day has already slipped away.

I have intentions to get out of my comfort zone and serve God more in an area that is new and unfamiliar to me.

But each day I push it away for “another day” when I’ll be more prepared… but that day never comes.

I have intentions to talk to that neighbor or to that co-worker about God.

But that opportunity seems to never come.

Often when someone has good intentions of doing something kind for someone and their plans fail the other person will say “that’s okay, it’s the thought that counts”.

But when we meet Jesus up in heaven and He replays the story of our lives it won’t be the thought that counts.

Good intentions will mean absolutely nothing unless we do something about it.

What if Mother Theresa just had good intentions?

What if she saw the poor orphan children in third world countries and she said “someone needs to do something about it” and she came up with all the ways she could help, and she prayed about it every day, and she told everyone about her plans to make a difference in the world… and then she ends up doing nothing.

As noble and thoughtful as her good intentions were they amounted to nothing.

They didn’t feed poor, hungry children.

They didn’t clothe naked children.

They didn’t make any kind of difference.

And when she’d meet Jesus in heaven and had to account for her life she wouldn’t receive a crown for what she didn’t do.

Even if she said “but God… I had so many great ideas, I cared deeply for those orphans, I wanted to do so much, doesn’t that count?Nope.

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that I’m better than I really am.

I think that just because I feel compassionate about people who are hurting that I am somehow caring about them, but until I am physically helping them, that compassion doesn’t really mean much.

I think that just because I love reading God’s Word, spending time with Him, and talking about Him all day long I am somehow making a difference to the world around me, but until I am physically living out the Word by practicing what I believe than no amount of talking about God will really amount to much.

I love this quote by Rick Warren that describes this perfectly.

“If we had as many people practicing the Bible as those who love to discuss it over coffee, it would change everything.

Sometimes I think it’s just a very sly trick of the enemy to make us believe that we are doing something when in fact all we’re doing is talking.

What’s the point of even showing up to church on Sunday’s if we never practice what the pastor preaches? We just like to discuss it at our weekly Bible study.

What’s the point of reading God’s Word if it doesn’t transform how we see the people around us and how we live? If it doesn’t change us from the inside out then it’s just a regular book we can read once and then put back on the shelf.

What’s the point of having good intentions if they don’t do anything to change the lives of the people around us?

Some of us are like the son in the Matthew 21 parable. We promise God that we’ll work for Him in this world by serving the people around us but then when it comes down to it we just go and do our own thing.

Others of us are like the guest invited to the Great Banquet in Luke 14, we want to show up and partake of what God has prepared for us… but then we have other stuff we want to get done first. And each day brings a new excuse of why you can’t serve.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be either.

I want to be the servant that’s written about in Matthew 25 in the parable of talents. I want to hear God say to me “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

I don’t want to bring excuses up to heaven with me for why I didn’t give my all.

I don’t want to bring up all my good intentions of all the things I wanted to do… but didn’t.

I want God to be my witness that I lived each day with purpose.

That I didn’t set aside my time with Him.

That I made time to serve others around me.

That I didn’t live in my comfort zone.

Today… think about this: if you were to meet Jesus in heaven today what words would He say?

What would the film of your life show?

Are there any “good intentions” you have that you need to turn into action instead of just talk?

Are there any excuses you need to drop for not living life to the fullest today?

Are there any new priorities you need to make?

You can’t do much about how you spent your yesterday, but what you do with today and tomorrow is up to you.

Make no room in your life for excuses. Choose to live for God wholeheartedly in all that you do and one day He will reward you greatly for serving Him faithfully, not just with your words, but with your life. Be blessed! -Anna…♥

 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” – Colossians 3:23

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21 thoughts on “Practicing what you preach

  1. Hey Anna!
    I loved this post. Well sort of loved it. There was an “ouch” and some coviction as I read it. 🙂

    But you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for a challenging post. Good intentions are simply good intentions and to make an impact we have to move past that. I love the statement you made,

    I think that just because I love reading God’s Word, spending time with Him, and talking about Him all day long I am somehow making a difference to the world around me, but until I am physically living out the Word by
    practicing what I believe than no amount of talking about God will really amount to much.

    So so true. The word was meant to be lived out and not just something to be read!!! I am so challenged……

    Rolain

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    • Thanks Rolain! It was just as convicting to write it as it must be to read it. I’m glad that it challenged you. May you continue living out God’s Word daily in your life! Be blessed!

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  2. There is no time for “good intentions.” It is too easy for them to slide into procrastination. Too many people will “plan the work,” but don’t ever “work the plan.” That does no good for the cause of Christ!

    Good post!

    Steven

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      • It’s a very pervasive problem among people. We plan for tomorrow with no promise of one. And then we are shocked that we’ve run out of time one day!

        Hey thanks, Anna, for the reply. Visit here anytime you can.

        Steven 🙂

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m ashamed to say that many of the “good intentions” you listed describe me perfectly. It can be hard to get out and actually do something… to step out of your comfort zone (something I’ve been struggling with lately). Your post encouraged and inspired me! God bless!

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    • I’m glad the post encouraged you! And I am definitely on the same page as you… it’s so easy to get caught up in planning in our heads and talking that we never take the time to actually do what we talk about doing. May God help you and I both turn our good intentions into action with Him!

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  4. Another wonderful post, thank you for sharing these meaningful thoughts (but I would disagree with you on one point: even you talking to other people about God and His love makes a HUGE difference).

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    • Thank you Amy! I agree that talking to others can make a huge difference in their lives… just like I mentioned how we can encourage others with our words (not just think about doing it). The talking I was referring to is the kind (like Rick Warren’s quote) where we sit for hours and debate theological topics in the Bible and what we should do but never take the time to actually put into action what God calls us to do in His Word. 🙂

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  5. Love, as always. So compelling and challenging. That part about thinking that I’m better than I really am? Because I feel compassion…not the same thing as acting in compassion?? Wow…nailed me. Thanks for being loving, convicting voice of the Holy Spirit to me.

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    • Thanks Kate. I have really been thinking a lot about what it means to live in light of eternity and the Holy Spirit convicts me every day of the things I need to have pruned out as well as what I need to start doing to live a life that brings Him glory. It can be so hard to do in this world that is all about living for ourselves but hopefully with His help I’ll get to that point that my plans and pursuits will never be my biggest priority and His will always be!

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      • A truly beautiful attitude. I can remember when the concept of living in light of eternity sunk in. I had been a Christian my ‘whole life’ but never really got it. I was 23, on my first missions trip to Africa, when it finally sunk in. It changed my focus forever….but I think especially here in the US, it is a constant struggle to live this way, when so many other worldviews tempt us to compromise. Thanks so so much for being such a godly voice in the middle of al of this madness!

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