Being Holy and Good Intentions

St. Augustine authored his Confessions many years ago. One of the things he talked about was his fast and loose life before his conversion. At a certain point he came to see his sin, his affront to God and saw the error of his way of life.

But he also enjoyed his women! At one point he says, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”

I like the honesty, but fear this is where many are with the “Christian life.” We like the ideals, we like the notions of self-sacrifice, giving up the fleshly life for the spiritually minded life and all that goes with it. It sounds grand. A lofty ideal. Something to shoot for.

But not yet.

We’d rather enjoy sin for a season more. maybe next winter I’ll go for it.

Here’s another quote from my man William Law:

“The reason why you see no real mortification or self-denial, no eminent charity, no profound humility, no heavenly affection, no true contempt of the world, no Christian meekness, no sincere zeal, no eminent piety in the common lives of Christians, is this, because they do not so much as intend to be exact and exemplary in these virtues.”

His point is this: the reason so few Christians get anywhere in Christianity is because they really don’t want to.

We all know that good intentions don’t replace actual behavior. We know this perhaps so much that we have eliminated the idea of intentions altogether.

For fear of not meeting our intention, we decide not to intend anything anymore! When we hear the commands of Scripture to be holy and perfect as our Father in heaven, do we even desire that? More than likely we get busy justifying those statements away rather than believing they are actual and possible.

All Christians have “good intentions” that remain in the area of hopes and dreams. The word intention means “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” It’s a mental determination, not just a dream or hope.

Do we intend to be holy, or do we just dream about it and then go watch football all day?