October 6, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Good Intentions”

Jeremiah 42:5-6

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. 6 Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”

I have good intentions all the time:  Several times a week, I intend to exercise; I have good intentions to eat healthy; and, as my wife can attest, I even have good intentions to do the dishes, pick up the clothes that I leave on the floor, and clear off my occasionally messy desk.  Every January, we all have good intentions to get physically fit, become financially stable, and grow in our relationship with God.

In Jeremiah 42, the people of Israel come to Jeremiah with really good intentions.  They proclaim to the prophet, in verse 6, “Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Considering the desperate situation that the Israelites were in, this declaration sounds sincere, and it is filled with good intentions.

There’s a problem with good intentions, though. Good intentions don’t mean as much as we think they do.  There is a big difference between intending to do something and actually doing what is intended.  Though I may have intentions to exercise, eat better, and to clean, but if I don’t follow through, I don’t get credit (especially from my wife) or benefit from just having thought about doing them.  In the end, my unfulfilled good intentions are meaningless.  And unfortunately, the same went for the Israelites.  They declared their good intentions in this passage, but in the next chapter, we discover that those good intentions were not followed through with obedience.

Having sincere intentions to follow Jesus is a great place to start, but in order for us to experience the full benefits and blessings, we need to trust Him with our lives and live out our faith through obedience.  Following Jesus is not merely an internal decision or an intellectual agreement with doctrine, but a lifetime of discipleship: walking with Him, taking daily steps of obedience, and bearing fruit for Him. Let’s not mistake our sincere intentions for a growing relationship with God: John 14:23 says, “If any one loves me… he will obey my teaching….” And let us be a people who resolve to live our lives in obedience, with the help of the Holy Spirit, no matter the sacrifice!

Prayer: God, I pray that I will be a follower of You today.  I have thoughts about who You are and what You’re calling me to do; so today, I pray that Your Spirit will help me to walk in faith, trusting You with my life. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  1 Kings 10-11.

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