by Mike Lueken, Co-Senior Pastor
Good Intentions. We all have had them in countless arenas of our lives. Food. Weight. Devotions. Exercise. Workouts. Home projects. Family time. Date nights. I recently told the beloved child in my home responsible for mowing the lawn, to do it that night. It wasn’t a suggestion. It wasn’t a request. It wasn’t one of many ideas in a family brainstorming session. It was an order. They agreed and then proceeded to not do it. What is that? It would be easy to dismiss this as teenage normal. But it’s not merely a teenage issue. I have it. You have it. We all have it. Seriously, if we could understand the phenomena within us that says we are going to do something — even makes plans to do it — and then doesn’t follow through, we would discover a key to living well under God in this strange world.
Our intention in spiritual formation refers to our ongoing decision to do our part so we experience Jesus more fully and become the person He has redeemed us to be. Intention is the least talked about aspect of authentic spiritual growth. We talk about God’s grace. We talk about forgiveness of sins. We talk about the Holy Spirit’s role. We talk about the fact that we can’t manufacture spiritual growth on our own. But we don’t always carefully consider the importance of our purposeful effort to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in what He is trying to do in us.
Intention in spiritual formation is an act of our will to put forth effort. It is not based on feelings. It is not based on whether we like the process or not (in fact, disliking the process is often a sign we are pursuing something spiritually formative). It is not based on achieving fast results. Intention is simply a decision, an act of our will to cooperate with God’s Spirit.
For the next seven weeks we are taking a break from our series in Acts to explore this crucial component of spiritual formation. This series is one of those occasions where we will be considering core aspects of Oak Hills Church. This series is one of those “this is who we are” series. We are rigorously devoted to helping people make real progress in their life with Jesus. There will be plenty of practical opportunities for you to get involved in to help move beyond “good intentions.” Our hope is that this series will be another opportunity for people to take another step with Him.