Baseball has a play most fans of homerun hitters do care for. It is used by coaches and managers when there is a better chance of loading up more bases and getting someone out on a ground-ball force out compared to taking the chance of a good hitter driving in more runs. The catcher will extend the target of where the pitch should land over home plate way outside of the strike zone. There is little chance the batter will hit the ball. After four pitches are called “balls” by the umpire, the intentional walk has been executed. The batter is allowed to run to first base uncontested while the other base runners advance to the next base. It is all a part of baseball strategy.
The Christian life has an intentional walk too. In fact, I have a friend who is teaching about basic Christian discipleship using “The Intentional Walk” as a sermon series title while the baseball season is opening up this spring. What is your strategy for moving along in your relationship with God? What can you become intentional about when it comes to deepening your understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit as you journey through this life?
Be intentional with spiritual disciplines. Prayer, fasting, Bible reading, silence, worship, Communion, etc., are all practices a believer in Jesus can become more like Christ through on a daily basis.
Just like a baseball coach who is thinking about how to win a game, we need to think about practices or habits we can incorporate in our daily living that will lead us to strengthening our walk with Jesus. Some call it devotions; some call it time alone with God. Whatever you call it, intentionally engage with spiritual disciplines on a daily basis to grow in your spiritual walk.
Be intentional with spiritual fellowship. This cannot be emphasized too much. We were not created to go through life alone. We need each other for accountability, friendship, and encouragement. Devoting ourselves to breaking bread and fellowshipping with fellow believers makes the Christian walk rich. Do you intentionally spend time with others who follow Jesus? Are you in a group where “iron sharpens iron?”
Be intentional in spiritual service. The best way anyone will grow in his or her Christian living is through involvement by serving others for Christ and the church. Take a look around. People who serve are growing in their relationship with Jesus. They seem to be more content in life. They are engaged with the mission of the local church. They complain less because they are busy serving the Lord. We are meant to give ourselves away to others. Become a giver by intentionally getting involved in spiritual service. Talk with your pastor. See if there is any way you can personally contribute to your church being more effective at reaching the community around you for Christ.
Become a fan of the intentional walk!
Dr. Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.