Intention…it comes in many forms and can look like many things. Not always obvious, sometimes we don’t even know the root of why it is that we choose certain actions or words. The best way I can think to unpack this concept is this…
…what is the spirit behind your action?
Intention can be anything from a fiery dart of the enemy to an intent to persevere through all circumstance…and everything in between.
Did you know that you can be used by the enemy and not even know it? (Did I hear a gasp?) Oh, yes, we can. If we are ignorant to the things of God and what it means to have a healthy emotional and spiritual life in Him, we won’t recognize the enemy when he comes. Which is why it is so important to remember to put on the armor of God.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
– Ephesians 6:10-18
The not so obvious…
We open the door just a crack, the enemy happily accepts the invitation and before we know it, he has set up camp and we are wondering how this happened? It is much easier to keep the enemy out than it is to kick him out once he has snuck his way in. And he will gladly oblige at the slightest beckoning. Do not open that door.
God is so loving. He gives us so much encouragement through scripture of how to keep the enemy out.
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
– Proverbs 4:20-27
In short: watch what you think, watch what you see, watch what you feel, watch what you do and watch what you allow into your heart. There is a reason that Natalie Grant left the Grammy’s early! As much criticism as she got, I say good for her for recognizing that by witnessing things the world would say “are not that big of a deal”, or “oh, it’s just a show”, “harmless” etc., she would not only be giving a non-verbal stamp of approval on things that are clearly against the word of God by even the simplest act of just sitting there, but she could have opened the door for the enemy to wreak havoc on things in her own personal life. Remember, he is not always obvious…there is a reason he is depicted as a snake…sneaky, subtle, and slithering…often through the back door.
But we can padlock that sucker! Jesus is the ultimate security system…sometimes it requires prayer…and sometimes is requires an action.
Woo-hoo! Look at you! You’re running, running, running the race, plowing through the day, chiseling away at the ever-growing to-do list, and getting things done. It may not have been easy, it may not have been perfect, but you’ve taken that project and wrestled it to the ground! You feel accomplished! You feel great! You feel…the ground…a very large stick has just been thrown it into your path in an attempt to trip you up…literally.
It can be an email, a phone call, an accusation when you aren’t looking.
These things are a part of the world we live in. This is what I mean by being “used by the enemy”. If he can get our “ugly” going (anger, jealousy, malice, etc.), he will use us in attempt to bring another person down. A person with an intent to ruin your character does not care about the truth about a situation. They already know the truth. And to a person who does not know who they are or what God has just for them, that truth is a threat.
Ever have someone come against you with what you know to be a blatant lie and no matter what you say, they keep repeating themselves? It’s pointless to argue in this scenario because the intent is already there. If it wasn’t, there would not have been an accusation in the first place. And so you see, it does not matter what you say to this person…they will not hear unless their heart is open, tilled, and ready to receive. Which most likely will not be if they are coming against you in the first place.
Only an insecurity will attempt to overshadow another…you will never see a God-confidant person attempting to damage the character of another person because they know who they are in Christ and they have been given an understanding that ALL of us (yes, that’s right!) ALL..every single one of us have a destiny that God has pre-ordained before the beginning of time.
There is something that God has specifically laid aside for each and every person on this earth. The key is will we choose it? We have a choice, and every choice we make can take us closer to that call or further away. But the only thing that TRULY can take us away is ourselves. And we have an enemy that will capitalize on that at every opportunity.
A person who desires to tear another person down believes that they themselves are insignificant and unimportant. They believe that the only way to be “successful” (and I put that in quotes because the world’s idea of success is so painfully contrary to what God intends for us) is to take out whoever they deem is in their way. They see in terms of ahead or behind…they do not see “side by side”.
The original Greek for “fiery” (ref. fiery darts) is “to burn inwardly”. Sound familiar? The darts are the hardest to deal with because they sting so badly, especially when we know in our heart of hearts that the intention here is not so innocent. The darts cut to the heart especially when our character comes into question and can fester if we are not careful to surrender our offense to God. Something I am constantly reminded to lay down.
The battle is the Lord’s. He goes before us and He stands behind. (“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8) He will fight on our behalf and will always reveal the truth even if we don’t see it until much later down the road. Whew! What a relief! We don’t need to waste energy defending ourselves into nothing but exhaustion. We need only lean into Him.
Intention…press on…press through…press into Him and continue to do what is right when the odds are anything but favorable…and know that purity of heart can demolish a wayward firecracker in mid-air and send it crashing to the ground.