My commute to work each morning is about 45 minutes. However, I can easily shave 5-10 minutes off that time. How, you ask? By speeding? No, not necessarily by speeding.
The answer is fairly simple: Intentional Strategy.
I pay attention. I watch to notice any traffic patterns that are consistent on a day to day basis. I know which lanes I need to be in at very specific times. I know when each lane will slow down and when each will speed up. This gives me an extra 5-10 minutes each morning. This may not seem like anything life changing, but consistency will give me an extra 40+ hours of sleep a year. I’ll take it!
On the other hand, when I go on autopilot, my commute takes much longer. Neglecting strategy can then make me five minutes late to work.
We can all fall prey to this same thing in life. We can go on autopilot and mindlessly meander through our days while just looking forward to the next weekend. I know that I am completely guilty of this! But it doesn’t have to be that way.
So, one morning during my drive, I thought, “what would my life look like if I lived out each day with the same level of intentionality as I do my morning drive?” Imagine what our lives would look like if we were strategic within the small details – the ones that don’t seem life changing at the time. How would that change our daily walks as Christians?
This thought lead me to ask myself: what does strategic living look like as a Christ follower? I believe the answer to this can be found in the book of 2 Peter.
The apostle Peter was once given a revelation of his own death approaching. During this time, he chose to write a letter to the churches in Asia Minor. In this letter, he encapsulates what a strategic and productive life looks like as a Christ follower.
2 Peter 1:5-7 says,
“. . . make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [emphasis added]
At the end of his life, this is what Peter wanted us to remember.
He wanted us to remember that when we add virtue to our faith, we add the courage and strength necessary to turn our faith into good works.
He wanted us to remember that when we add knowledge to our virtuous faith, our good works gain direction from God’s will.
He wanted us to remember that when we add self-control to this knowledge, power to stay within the direction of God’s will is granted.
And the list goes on and ends up leading to the greatest of these, which is love.
Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Upon his departure from this world, he wanted us to remember that those qualities will allow us to live productive lives in Christ, and this cannot be done if we continue to live on autopilot.
We don’t have to wait until we have to make a big life decision to apply these. If we keep our eyes open and live strategically, we can apply them throughout our day and our lives will become more productive for Christ’s kingdom.
For you, this may mean going inside the gas station to pay so that you can actively engage one of the workers.
For me, this may mean going into the regular grocery line so that I can actively engage the person working the checkout rather than going to the more convenient self-checkout section (shout out to the people who attended the last LeaderStep).
We like to buy into the lie that we don’t have missional opportunities in our day to day lives because that belief conveniences our desire to be on autopilot. To mindlessly meander through our week until we get to the next weekend. However, an intentional strategy will open our eyes to the many opportunities we have in front of us.
Some of those opportunities may seem insignificant at the time, but just as strategic driving gains me 40+ hours of sleep over the course of the year, we may just end up with a one hundred fold harvest by the time we get to Heaven. I’ll take it!
For those that would like a more in-depth explanation of this passage, I highly recommend Matthew Henry’s full commentary that can be found here.