The Vast Difference Between Intention and Intentions (Simplify Life Series – Part 4)

In continuation to the Simplify Life Series, I am delighted to host Kris Baines, a dear friend of our family, who has incredible wisdom on the subject. Read more about Kris in his biography below. I know you will treasure his profound insights as I do!

You may read Kris’ first post here: A Critical Point to Consider About Your Busyness

Maybe since reading the last post, you had a moment to reflect on the level and nature of the busyness in your life – or maybe you were too busy? 🙂

 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

Mark 1:35

One of the keys to making progress towards the right things in your life, which is simply that which God has called you to be and do – is to understand the difference between intention, and intentions. They sound the same but are very different one from another.


Intention speaks of diligence, discipline, organization, and Spirit-empowered action. Click To Tweet

Intentions, on the other hand, speak of those activities which we want to do, know we should do, plan to do, but never actually get around to doing! We all know what it feels like to be surrounded and bogged down by the things that fit that category – and it’s never a pleasant experience, is it?

Having said that, it’s not always a bad thing to have intentions – because some things we intend to do are birthed out of impulse, emotion, pressure, or obligation.

On the other hand, those things we neglect to do that God does want us to do are the things that haunt and hassle us with guilt, frustration, and regret.  So how can we avoid this?

Charles Hummel in his classic, tiny little booklet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent” puts it this way as He reflects upon the life of Jesus…

“Jesus had no divinely drawn blueprint or schedule; He discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. Because of this, He was able to resist the urgent demands of others and do what was really important for His mission.” 

What this helps us to understand is that when prayer is a priority in our lives – it increases our “spiritual vision” and also our “spiritual strength.”

We need spiritual vision to see more clearly that which God has and hasn’t called us to do. We need spiritual strength to stay focused and faithful (living with intention) and avoid the distractions that lead to neglect (living with intentions).

The Vast Difference Between Intention and Intentions

Intention is when we prayerfully set the priorities for our lives, and in dependence upon the Lord, carefully carry them out.

Intentions are just sincere, but unrealistic desires, that most likely will not eventuate – and even if they do, may not be God’s will for us anyway!

Let us aim to live, by God’s grace, with more intention, and fewer intentions. Click To Tweet

…Remembering of course that we will fail at times.

Thankfully, God knows this, so that’s why we have a Saviour to forgive us, and help us get on track again.

For Thought, Prayer and Application

Take some time to mentally, or physically (better option) note down your top “intentions” for the next few weeks/months. Take this to God in prayer, and ask Him to show you which are in line with His will, and which are not.

Prayerfully evaluate your motives for each intention. Ask the Lord to show you where you might be motivated by selfish gain, the approval of others, or pressure to conform.

With those things you discern to be God’s will, ask God for the wisdom and strength to carry them out, and give them the priority they deserve. Confess any intentions that you have neglected, and believe and receive God’s forgiveness.

What “intentions” can you narrow down to an “intention”? Share in the comment section below.

Kris Baines

Kris is the founding pastor-elder at, and in addition to his responsibilities and privileges as a husband and home-educating father, runs Eternal Purpose Ministries (, hosts the ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conferences, teaches at Bibles Schools and churches when invited, and composes music from home (

Latest posts by Kris Baines (see all)

    For the first three parts of the Simplify Life Series, follow the following links:

    The #1 Location To Spend More of Your Time

    5 Suggestions For Living A Slower-Paced Life

    A Critical Point to Consider About Your Busyness

    About womenabiding

    Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.
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