The Art of Intentionality

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Faith, Holiness, Maturity, Prayer, Priorities 13 Comments

When I was growing up, ours was on the door frame between the kitchen and the hall with the red carpet. A vertical trail of penciled dashes and dates that marked the growth of my siblings and I – that eventually got painted over. An archive of ages and heights that proved physical progress was really happening in the Eisaman household.

And boy did I want my growth to show.

Each time my dad lined us up to draw lines just above our highest hairs, I would stretch my spine to the sky. (It’s even possible that I might’ve lifted my heels occasionally. Possible. Just throwing it out there. Don’t judge me. Dad always bumped us back down.)

I loved seeing the tangible distance between where I used to be and where I was.

I loved seeing the evidence of advancement. Progress. Growth.

I still do.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged him to set an example to other believers in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). He also challenged his young protégé to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation (encouraging others), and to teaching.

He told Timothy to be intentional. Move forward in faith. Grow in such a way that it impacts others.

“Practice these things. Immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Timothy 4:15)

I read this and I wonder.

What type of spiritual progress can be seen in my life?

Am I setting an example in conduct… in the way I behave, react, respond and live?

Do I set an example for others in the words I use… in the ways I love… in my purity?

Do I reflect Jesus in these things?

Am I growing in His image?

These questions drive me to my knees. I’m forced to ask God to search me and know me – inside and out. I ask Him to show me the ways that I’ve grown and to show me the ways I still need to grow.

The progress I want to see in my life is no longer about a height chart – it’s about a depth chart. I want there to be visible evidence of my faith in Jesus that doesn’t waver in the winds or crumble in the uncomfortable. Don’t you?

Though our faith is unseen (Hebrews 6:1) let’s press on in progress and move forward in the hope, joy, love and peace of Christ so that others will be inspired to do the same.

Let’s live today in such a way that our behaviors, responses and attitudes showcase a vibrant, honest faith that’s deeply rooted and growing.

Dear Lord,
Thank You for being so gracious and compassionate with me. Thank You for  loving me where I used to be – in spite of me – and for loving me where I am today. Please forgive me for the times I try to move forward without You. Help me to prioritize progress and seek You continually so that others will clearly see You in me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Read Philippians 1.

How does the beginning of this letter to the people of Philippi that was written long, long ago stir you toward growing in Christ today? Grab your journal and write a prayer of response. Click here to write a prayer of response on the wall of my blog.

Love you guys!


PS. If you want to get in the Word for personal Bible study, but don’t have one right now, download a copy of the Psalm Adventure Bible Study Journal and get started!





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Comments 13

  1. Great article and I’m sure, that it’s on the minds of Christians maturing spiritually, within the faith. One thing I noticed within my own, Christian life is that spiritual growth is slow, as our Master Potter shapes us within His image, spiritually. Those sins, quirks and set-backs, seem to make their appearance in our most weakest times. The trials of life too, add a dimension to the spiritual maturity process With the faith from Christ, via the Holy Spirit, somehow, we will come out on the other end, as precious jewels and stand before our Creator and shine as the “stars of heaven”.
    My prayer for all Christians in the faith is we all cooperate within the process and realize that both, the love and grace is upon us even, in our most darkest times in our lives God loves all humans ever, born even, those before Christ was crucified and died for the collective sins of all humans. We press onward with this love and express it towards all humans.

  2. God is so good!
    I’m sitting here w/chamomile tea trying to get to sleep-now 1:30am and 3rd night this week- and He drew me to read this devotional. Sobbing now, realizing that I haven’t been intentional enough to be in His word and pray.
    Not being able to settle my mind down at night, is a spiritual thing, and my human “ism” wants figure out what physical thing I’m missing or not doing.
    Turns out it’s a lack of “kneeling at His feet”!
    Thanks for being in my email!

    1. Post
  3. Most Gracious God, Thank you for making me a partner of the Gospel, Lord this brings great responsibility but I am confident that you would enable me. You will not leave me or forsake me. Help me Lord to make it a priority each day to seek you and grow in you.. Thank you Lord for your presence.

  4. Jesus I know you’re always with me, I see it everyday and pray for you to continue to lead, guide and direct me with your love. Jesus you know my son Christopher has fallen again and I know through you is his only way. I thank you healing him from his addiction, in your name amen

    1. Lord, how You love me, You know my anxious thoughts, my lack of trust even though You have always been faithful. Continue to give me Your strength in my weakness, so that I can lift up others, and show Your love, grace & mercy in my words & actions. Especially in these trying times, remind me of who You are, the loving God of all creation, who is good , all knowing and all powerful.

  5. Dear Heavenly Father,

    Thank you for strengthening your servants from the time of Paul, to us now. Help me to leave a legacy in Your name & for Your glory with my words & actions. Grow me in your Word & in my heart to stay grounded & inclined to You Father. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

  6. Thank you Lord for these beginning words from Philippians which I can use to pray over my friends for encouragement. I am so grateful that God has started a good work in us but it’s not finished until the day of completion. Please allow us to trust more as You grow our faith. We love you!

  7. Dear Lord, thank you for you, thank you for your word that helps me always strive to grow, to give to become a better daughter, mom , wife,friend. Help me oh father to be honest and recognize we’re I need you the most ,
    It is only you that know my deep feelings and thoughts. Make me strong And diligent to follow the path you have for me . In Jesus name .

  8. Father,

    As I read Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer for the Philippian Christians because of their partnership in the gospel, I’ve been thinking back over the years and the people who have made an impact on my life. I’ve written down specific names, some going back 47 years when I made my commitment to You, Jesus. My list of 108 continues to grow as You bring to mind names from years gone-by up until current times. I hold all of you in my heart for the ways you have taught me, mentored me, ministered to me. I pray that your love will continue to grow in knowledge and discernment so that you may be pure and blameless when Jesus calls you home, as some of you have already experienced. You are all filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through your living for Jesus Christ – all to the praise and glory of God!

    In Jesus’ most holy name and because you are His gifts to me,


  9. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Phil 1:9
    I pray like Paul does here: that I will behave as he prays we will: abound in love, knowledge, depth of insight, discernment of purity, filled with fruit of righteousness , and all for God’s glory.

  10. Dear Father God , help me to think before I react . Let my actions be led by the holy Spirit so my family and friends can see your love for them through me. Fill me with your holy spirit that I can speak kind loving words that edify others . Thank you for loving me in Jesus name Amen ❤️

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