For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
I have heard the word “intentionality” a lot lately, usually uttered by people who seem to believe they can “cause” events to happen (or not happen) according to their will. A while back, I found myself on a road trip with a woman I had just met. We were driving at night on back roads, and I expressed my concern that deer might be lurking in the shadows, waiting to cross the highway. “Don’t worry,” my companion said, “I’m using my intentionality to keep the deer off the road.” I chuckled to myself, and said to her, “And I am praying that no deer cross the road.” “It’s the same thing,” she replied. No, it’s not, I said to myself. To keep the peace, I said no more on the topic. Thankfully, the deer stayed in the forest.
The difference between “intentionality” and communing with God is clear to me: the former is expecting our human faculties to effect change in our environment; the latter is asking the Creator of that environment to keep us safe within it. It seems to me that New Year’s “resolutions” fall squarely in that “intentionality” camp of believing that we alone can cause change in our lives. But God wants to be our partner in all areas of our life, and it is He Who can move the mountains and still the ocean waves. As Paul says in Romans, “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (7:15). His own intentions are not enough to keep him from missing the mark and making all-too-human mistakes. But he continues in verses 24 and 25, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” A conscious, consistent relationship with Christ allows us to grow in grace and turn away from our own sin nature.
This year, my New Year’s “resolutions” will be more about daily turning my life and will over to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than promising myself that I’ll be good.
Jesus, thank You for rescuing me from my sin nature! Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .