What does it mean to be intentional? The word intentional means to do something on purpose, in a way that is planned, deliberately. We must be intentional in living for Christ or chances are we won’t be as dedicated in our walk as we should be. As I pondered this, various individuals came to mind, among them is Daniel.
When Nebuchadnezzar’s army attacked Jerusalem, Daniel, a young Hebrew along with others of the royal or noble family was taken captive to Babylon. After arriving in Babylon, the captives, who were being trained to serve the king, were assigned a daily portion of food from which the king also ate. Daniel however resolved (determined ) that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine. This was no small decision, it could have cost both Daniel and Ashpenaz (the chief eunuch ) their lives for disobeying the king’s orders. BUT GOD granted Daniel favour and compassion in Ashpenaz’s eyes and in the end, he and his 3 companions were allowed to eat vegetables and drink water. Daniel made a deliberate, intentional choice to stay faithful to His God by not eating foods offered to idols. He was bold and made a humble request which was granted by God because he desired to be faithful to Him.
His life of faithfulness to God did not go unnoticed by his enemies. They were very jealous of his high position and his relationship with the king, so they decided to get rid of him. First, they tried to find a ground for complaint against him with regards to the kingdom and they couldn’t. Why? “Because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him (Daniel 6:4).” They knew that the only way they could trap him was in connection to the law of his God. So they decided to trick the king to sign a decree stating that if anyone made a petition to any god or man for 30 days except to the king, they would be cast into the lion’s den.
They knew that it was Daniel’s habit three times a day to open his window towards Jerusalem and kneel down to pray and worship his God. What was Daniels response? “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he has windows in his upper chamber open towards Jerusalem.
He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously (Daniel 6:10).”
Those words are striking. He did not hide or even think twice of what he should do in light of the new decree. He simply did as he had always done, pray to and worship his God. He had reverential fear and awe for God that far exceeded any fear of man. He would be faithful even if it meant being cast into the lion’s den. In Prov. 29:25, we read that “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in and puts his confidence in the LORD will be exalted and safe (AMP).”
His life of faithfulness was also noticed by King Darius. Proverbs 21:1 says that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” God gave Daniel love and favour in the eyes of King Darius to the extent that when he realized that he was tricked by his wise men, he was “distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel and laboured till the sun went down to rescue him (v14). “ When this was impossible, he spent a sleepless night fasting, then went early the next morning to the lion’s den. It’s interesting to hear the words of king Darius concerning Daniel. He said, “ O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the lions?” This pagan king saw Daniel as a man of integrity who was faithful to his God, what a wonderful testimony he was. This resulted in Darius making a decree to everyone in his royal domain stating that they were all “to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel (v25-27).”
Although Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, God shut the lion’s mouth so that they could not harm him. Daniel knew that God was always in control and had strong confidence in Him. God’s Word tells us,
“So we can confidentiality say the Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me ( Hebrews 13:6).”
Choosing to live this kind of life was not easy for Daniel and involved trials at times. However, we also see many blessings. God’s power was displayed, His name was lifted up and Darius was given the opportunity to learn about the one true God. If we stand for Christ we too will be tried. We may lose friends, our job, family, or even our lives, but God is no man’s debtor. He will always reward faithfulness, either in this life or in the one to come.
Ladies, how do others see you? Can anyone say of you that you serve God faithfully and are deliberate and intentional in your walk with Him? How are you using your time, talents and treasures? Do you spend time with God first every day, before being distracted by others, your phones…? If we are not intentional and deliberate, chances are we will follow our emotions or others and not make much progress in our spiritual life.
May it be our prayer that God will help us to be women who live intentional lives for Him day by day, so that we will live out the purpose for which we were created, that is, to bring Him glory.
Note: All references are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.