Pay Attention to Intention

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them…’ 

“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them.’” Genesis 6:5-7,11-13a

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil.” Luke 6:45

A powder of snow greeted pre-dawn with its resplendent white in darkness. As thick the veil of the hour, its light was impossible to miss, awakening delighted wonder at its sparkling change of everything. How true it is that light covers and dispels darkness mysteriously and irrefutably, in both nature and the nature of man. (John 1:4-5)

God sees everything, wicked actions as well as the invisible evil thoughts and intentions instigating them. He hears vitriol, and knows the heinous heart that gushed over in the violence of words. He knows our inner grouch and angst, every iota of prejudice, bitterness, and hatred that fuel ugliness seen and heard. So even when we boast self-control against external expression, He is concerned for the whole interior of our sin.

When we choose between options offered or a course of action in work, ministry, or relationships, what drives us? Any smack of pride, a craving to be noticed and recognized? Any fuel of selfish gain, malice, or revenge? Do we care more about positioning ourselves, sullying others, or getting ahead than about doing the will of God? (Luke 22:42; John 4:34; Ephesians 2:10)

We might think we’re concealing wickedness, but we cannot hide from God. Yet He is no tyrant, but an arbiter of mercy should we come. He checks and corrects with divine precision. His launderer’s soap of grace penetrates and purifies the deepest recesses of our inner life, freeing us to rejoice and act in fresh righteousness. (Isaiah 1:18; Malachi 3:2)

When do we take time to reason with God over our innermost thoughts and inclinations? Do we pause to ask God’s searchlight to probe our intentions? How carefully are we pursuing holiness, and what changes need we make to get on that path? A holy life is dynamic, not static. Every thought and intention engages in our daily chosen direction. What will it be? (Psalm 19:13-14; Hebrews 4:12)

Lord, probe the depths of me to clean and order. Fill me with full intention to honor You in every detail of my life, then fuel that intention with holy fire and boldness, that You be pleased and glorified. (Acts 8:21-22)

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