The Value of Good Intentions

When you hear the expression “good intentions,” what comes to mind? Don’t we often use it to refer to the common tendency to intend to accomplish something worthwhile, while never getting around to it? We even have a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Empty promises

An example of good intentions gone awry is that of the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Three times they pledged their intentions to obey God’s law (Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7). But it wasn’t long before they were worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32). So much for good intentions!

How easy it is to resolve! And just as easy to renege!

Promises kept

And yet, think of all the cases both in the Bible and throughout history where good intentions led to great outcomes.

Ruth expressed her determination never to leave her widowed mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). She kept her word.

Paul announced his plans to visit Rome. In spite of tremendous hardships, with God’s help he finally arrived (Acts 19:21; 23:11; Romans 1:10-15; 15:22-32; Acts 28:14-31).

The problem, then, is not with good intentions per se. Like mighty oaks from tiny acorns, countless great accomplishments began with good intentions.

Three stages

So what do we need? Follow-through, dogged persistence, tenacity. In other words:

                  Good Intentions → Consistent Effort → Mission Accomplished

Paul wrote the Corinthian church about their plans to participate in a generous contribution for their poor Jewish brethren. They had gotten off to an enthusiastic start, but Paul was concerned that their initial eagerness was cooling.

He urged them, “But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability” (2 Corinthians 8:11).

Paul’s appeal was successful. They came through after all! (Romans 15:25-28)

How we need good intentions. No other kind will do!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Power of Perseverance

Bois d’arc endures. That’s why the early settlers in our area found this practically rot-proof wood so useful for fence posts and foundation blocks.

Hang in there!

God loves people who press on—who stay the course day after day, year after year, no matter what. Marriages and congregations thrive when they possess that determination to remain true, regardless of hazards or hardships.

We must complete the course if we’re to win the crown (2 Timothy 4:6-8; Hebrews 3:14; 6:11-12).

Satan uses the long stretches to weary and defeat us—if we let him. Every Christian who quits has stumbled into Satan’s trap. Knowing we’re in it for the long haul helps us resist the temptation to slack off, slow down, or give up.

Don’t quit!

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Each of these powerful exhortations is backed up with a promise. Our toil is not in vain in the Lord. We will reap if we don’t grow weary.

What is perseverance?

“It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope . . . . it is not the patience which grimly waits for the end, but the patience which radiantly hopes for the dawn” (William Barclay, New Testament Words, The Westminster Press, p. 144).

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you have receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

May these Scriptures grab us by the lapels to shake us out of our lethargy and re-engergize our resolve.

It’s time to get moving!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Value of Perseverance

Difficult, but do-able

A golden wedding anniversary. Graduation. Crossing the finish line.

Each requires perseverance—so valuable in business, athletics, and countless endeavors.

The Christian life is an obstacle course toward heaven.

Considering what we have to gain—and lose—can we let obstacles become barriers?

God provides His word to guide us, His promises to motivate us, His Spirit to strengthen us, and His church to encourage us.

Hang in there!

One day will be our last day. May that day find us in our place and at our task.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Give It Time

When times are hard

After grieving 22 years for the son he thought was dead, Jacob learned Joseph was alive. “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well” (Genesis 48:11).

Embittered by the loss of her husband and sons, Naomi believed God was against her (Ruth 1:13, 20-21). But in time she began to see how God was bringing about a positive outcome, and she acknowledged His kindness (2:20).

Job despaired he would ever see good again (Job 7:7). Fast-forward to the end of the book: “The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (42:12).desert-tagged

Wait for the Lord

God is faithful. It’s too soon to quit.

Hang in there, stay faithful.

Someday you’ll be so glad you did!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Until the End”

Sweaty, exhausting work, hoeing cotton. You had to “hoe your row to the end.”

That chore is a thing of the past, but perseverance isn’t! Without staying power, how can anyone succeed in school, athletics, business, or marriage? And how much character does it take to quit?

Hang in there!

For Christians, our marathon begins at baptism. We don’t cross the finish line until we die or Christ returns.

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“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end . . . (Hebrews 3:14).

Quitting is not an option!

While endurance is costly, quitting is far costlier! We have everything to gain if we finish—but everything to lose if we don’t.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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