Intention - David Mitts


"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. (Isa 26:3)

Click here to listen to "Intention"

Faith is the definition of the inner conversation of our heart. Our heart is activated in a positive, Godly direction by gratitude. We live in the atmosphere of heaven which is of blessing. As we just spoke about, blessing is always available to us as our inheritance as children of the King, our Father and God. Part of the adventure of life, which brings true liberty, is to live in the awareness in our heart and mind of the Voice of God and live inside an open and questioning heart. Questions and interactions with the Spirit that is God in us, brings us into joy, righteousness, and peace. The Apostle Paul instructs:

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17)

To enhance our experience of the kingdom reality, I want to discuss and engage with the intentions of our heart. The writer of Hebrews is speaking about the inner conversation of the heart says this:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

God’s conversation with our inner conversation not only impacts what we think, our thoughts but also our intentions.

What are intentions? Why are they important? Often, we think of intentions as what we wish would happen.  We may desire a certain result "x", but our real intention was result “y”.  Intentions then, would represent our deepest true desire or alternatively what we think of ourselves and our motivations. Let’s look biblically at intentions.

The Hebrew biblical word is Yetzer. In Judaism you have the expressions, “yetzer ha-tov” and “yetzer ha-ra” which roughly translates to good intentions and evil intentions. In this perspective, intentions seem almost like something that happens to us, either for good or evil. They seem like invisible forces that shape our thinking and affect our choices in life. I want to go beyond this to true intentionality.

Intentions can be accidental or more accurately stated, subconscious drivers of our actions.  These kinds of intentions are the ones that usually confuse us about why we do what we do. The Apostle Paul spoke about this in Romans 7:15

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15)

Can you hear the confusion in his words? Now, he ascribes this to a battle between the flesh and sin and the standards of the Law which Paul agrees with in his mind:

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. (Rom 7:17-21)

Paul calls the conscious intent of his heart by the term, the “willing”. Yet he notices there is a deeper subconscious intent at war with his conscious intent that results in a “doing that is not good”.  He goes on to call this deeper intent, evil and then separates his identity by calling it sin. He concludes by realizing that the voice of evil, what we have spoken previously as the voice of chaos is at work in him, tohu, bvohu. 

What Paul is describing is the war of intentions, the good intentions and the evil intentions in the heart. Sin is the description of the evil intentions, which is the voice of chaos. A famous quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer).

The spiritual nature of evil intentions is passivity, placating of evil. Goodness requires an active, intentional choice.  The chaos of Genesis 1 required God to speak “light” into the darkness.  Yeshua had to come into the world as that light of God.  Paul reaches a crescendo of frustration about the battle and then gives us his solution:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 7:24-8:1)

The resolution is to be “In Christ Jesus” which breaks the cycle of condemnation which is nothing more than the expressed outcome of eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  You see you can’t break the cycle inside the cycle.  You have to break the cycle by leaving it entirely through the voice of truth, the position called being in Christ Jesus. 

Using the Genesis example of 2 trees in the garden, you can’t eat more of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil to fix the problem of having to judge.  You have to transcend judgment by eating of the tree of life, who is Yeshua.

"O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"  Psa 34:8

Being in Christ Jesus is a covenant term.  It is one of betrothal where we give ourselves to Him. How do we do that truly? Let’s take a natural union, a marriage as an example. How do the prospective bride and groom become each other’s?  They pledge themselves, don’t they? I am calling this pledging an alignment of intentions. 

Intentions are active. The father asks the suitor of his daughter, “what are your intentions towards my daughter?” Why does he ask that? Because intentions reveal motivations and those determine trustworthiness and character.

In the same way, to break the cycle of wanting to do the right thing but finding ourselves self-sabotaging we have to move beyond the reproach, the condemnation that comes from trying to work life out in the warfare of our intentions that are the realm of good and evil, right and wrong.

Our intentions have to become God-centered in love. 

This was brought home to me in a powerful way when I realized that raising daughters is totally different than raising sons. Both daughters and sons require an intentional father.  However, I learned that I had to purpose in my heart to show love and honor to my daughters in an entirely different way than I did my sons.  I could do things with my sons. With my daughters, I had to go beyond merely the doing. They needed and still need conversation and not just any conversation but intentional conversation.

So what is intentional conversation? We know that experts tell us that 93% of communication is non-verbal. It is what we call body language. It is often said, that isn’t what we say but how we say it that matters. Our subconscious is communicating all the time. Often our subconscious communication is negating our conscious communication.

We want to say something that is important to us, yet we communicate nervousness or a shiftiness in our eyes gives the message that we don’t actually believe what we want to say.

These are the outer expressions. What about our inner expressions to ourselves? We make a decision or set a goal to be healthier or lose some weight. Simple enough. What gets in the way? I want to suggest it is our deeper intentions.

How do we shift our intention to what we desire?

Hebrew 4:12 gives us a clue:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

We can use the mirror of the word of God to examine and transform our intentions. This involves presenting ourselves to the Holy Spirit, volitionally.  This is very hard for most people who would rather get God to bless their decisions than to reveal the intentions of their heart.

This is called striving with the Holy Spirit. Look with me at Genesis 6:5-8

"Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."  Gen 6:3-8

There is quite a bit in these verses. What I want to emphasize today is the struggle with the Holy Spirit based on the evil intentions in the heart.  There is in each of us a battle between the evil intent of the voice of chaos and the intention that comes from our union with the voice of the Lord through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. How? How do we find favor in the eyes of the Lord? This is what our prayer at the end of each BEST Shabbat is all about, Numbers 6:24-26

"The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD makes His face shine on you and be gracious to you; The LORD lifts up His countenance on you and gives you peace.'"  Num 6:24-26

This is more than a prayer and a song. This is an invocation. The priests are not just praying this over Israel. They are also activating the favor of the Lord. We are blessed.  We are protected or kept safe. The Lord’s face beams with delight when He considers His love for us.  This places us in the place of His grace where His fence is built around the word in our hearts. He is there for us, face to face and the result is peace.

This is the antidote to the evil intentions of the heart.

It is a call to intimacy.

Noah’s name is grace in reverse. His name is the key to clear and good intent. We need to treasure the voice of God, His words in our heart to transform our intentions so our inner and outer man will be in integrity.

Integrity is also known as oneness. Oneness is the healing of the heart. Yeshua prayed:

"that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me."  Joh 17:21-23

When the intentions of our heart match the oneness then we have integrity in our being and our faith works.

Activation: Journal time with the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal your motives for the problem areas in your life. These are your true intentions. We want to judge ourselves by our good intentions only, but we also need to face our not so good intentions and let them be healed that we may be one, in integrity.









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