Introduction: The world is not very considerate; when you think about it, the world would just as soon run us over as not, It will definitely try to run us over if we are faithful disciples because it hates us. We as disciples are in the world but not to be a part of the world with the results that we are hated by the world (John 15:19[I]), that looks at the way we live as a form of rebellion that must be removed. There is also the devil that has singled us out for opposition because we are lost to him and a threat to his kingdom. We are surrounded. There really are lions in the street (1 Peter 5:8[II]) Add to all of this the call for us to be active growing in our relationships; first of all with God, with other disciples and with the lost, one can wonder at how some are so successful in overcoming all of this. Praise be to God the Father and our Lord Jesus who has made us “more than conquers” (Heb 13:5[III]) and that with God for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31[IV])
Since Christianity is a relationship, this study will have this as its core focus; First of all with God, then others: disciples and non-disciples, and lastly the devil and the world. Fortunately we have powerful forces working with, in and for us that come from God who has promised to make us more than conquerors (Rom 8:37[V]) But, we must do our part to be “Proactive” about everything we face daily in our dealing with our relationships, which include good and bad people we meet, God the Father, our Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and of course the devil.
FOOTNOTES: [I] John 15 The World Hates the Disciples: (v18-25) 19 If you (disciples) belonged to the world, (then) it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I (Jesus) have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
[II] 1 Peter 5 To the Elders and the Flock: (v1-11) 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
[III] Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leaveyou; never will I forsake you.”
[IV] Rom 8 More than Conquerors: (v31-39) 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? (8:18-30) If God is for us, (then) who can be against us?
[V] Rom 8 More Than Conquerors: (v31-39) 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him (Christ) who loved us.
Definition: Intentional: Adj. Directed with strained or eager attention having the mind attention or will concentration on something or some end or purpose.
Proactive: Adj. Serving to prepare for, intervene in, or controlanexpectedoccurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory
NOTE: Each of the key words; prepare, intervene, control and anticipatory are all verbs which indicate some form or “action” is to be taken.
Some Key Verses: Matt 7 The Wise and Foolish Builders: (v24-29) 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet itdid notfall, becauseit had its foundation on therock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
1 Peter 5 To the Elders and the Flock: (v1-11) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himselfrestoreyou and make youstrong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
# When we are baptized into Christ, is that the end? Do we no longer need to worry about our salvation or the struggles of life? Does the devil ever stop attacking us? No!!!, the devil likely attacks us more, since the lost in the world are still his and we are now a threat to him unless he can get us to come back. Therefore, I need to be in the fight daily, for the rest of my life.
1 Cor 9 The Need for Self-discipline: (v24-27) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do notfight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
# Our race is a marathon not a sprint, we will be in this race for the rest of our lives, always running, always trying to get over the obstacles to reach the finish line which is unity with Christ.
2 Example of Being Intentional (Proactive): Luke 12 The Parable of the Rich Fool: (v13-21) 16 And he (Jesus) told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
As a contrast read Prov 31 Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character (v10-31)
# The rich fool was very proactive. He formed a plan and faithfully followed it and achieved his goal of being materially secure for the rest of his life and going about it as the world does. He is a good example of being a foolish builder and described in the Key verse Matt 7:24-27. He forgot God, chose to trust in himself and try to build a secure future with his own efforts. The wife of noble character was also very proactive in her efforts to serve and help others. As a result she was able to gain a high level of security through her hard, diligent work, however, in her case, she sought to do it for her family and the poor who she loved, instead of only for herself, this stemming from she chose to fear the Lord. (v30)
Gal 6 Doing Good to All: (v1-10) 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do goodto all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
# For us disciples our focus should be outward focused on keeping and building our relationship, starting with God the Father, our Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit and to have the heart that seeks to serve and meet the needs of others, a heart that is increasingly becoming like that of Jesus’.
Concluding Thoughts: To be intentional means that there must be a plan for success, fortunately God has already provided not only the plan for success but has provided the resources to help us be successful. Jesus dying for us, the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, Other disciples and the opportunity to pray to our God on all occasions. All of this requires me to humble myself before God which intern helps me to be humble toward others, first my brothers and sisters in Christ, and then toward the word.
Part II will focus on our growing our relationship with God and how it affects all other relationships.
John is a long-time disciple and student of God's Word. Enjoy these topical studies that he has compiled over the years. John would love your feedback on his studies. Please feel free to email him at [email protected]