Listen to Nancy Fitzgerald answer this question on Moody with Kelli and Steve.

Intentions are defined as something that you want and plan to do in the future. Good intentions are those things you do that will be for God’s glory with a heart of serving others. Such things sound lovely, but are they?

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

“Intent without action is the muse of those who wish to be the hero without stepping onto the battlefield.” Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Good intentions are simply not enough. Our character is defined and our lives are determined not by what we want, say or think, but by what we do.”  Michael Josephson

“People with good intentions but limited understanding are more dangerous than people with total ill will.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good intentions are useless unless carried out in our lives. When God commands us to love and obey Him as we love and serve others, He means it! We sin against God when we return to what He has called us to do. Helping others can be challenging. It often involves sacrifice, time, money, and changing our plans to help others. Instead of seeing obedience to God as a chore, those committed to doing God’s will for our lives will see it as a privilege.

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:2-3)

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24)

We often don’t act on our good intentions because we fear we cannot accomplish what God calls us to do.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7)

People-pleasers are prone to find that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. They are more concerned that others will be impressed with their kindness and generosity but inwardly, they care little about those in need. They might have every intention of calling next week, going to lunch, bringing over dinner, or shopping for a friend, but after the high of the moment has passed, they don’t follow through on any of their offers. They will find that their road paved with untrustworthiness, disappointment, and hurtfulness will end with severe consequences.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

The New Testament gives examples of people who expressed their intent to follow Jesus but have yet to do so.

A wealthy young man approaches Jesus to ask what he must do to inherit eternal life. He seemed to have intentions of wanting to follow Christ, but when Jesus told him to “Sell all your possessions and give to the poor and then come follow me,” the man went away sad. The cost was too high. He had good intentions, but the rich young man failed to love Christ more than money and was paving his way to Hell. (Mark 10:17–27)

Peter also had the best of intentions of never denying Christ. He declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same  (Matthew 26:35)  Soon after, Jesus was arrested. The disciples ran away. Peter was approached by a women who asked if Peter was a disciple of Jesus.

“But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” Someone else saw him a little later and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after about an hour, still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:57-62).

God expects us to follow through on our good intentions of being obedient to His word by feeding and clothing the poor.

“For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’ “ (Matthew 25: 35-40).

It is time for the Church to become the Church that God intended it to be—the light on the hill. True followers of Christ are those who, many times without others knowing it, pray, encourage, and sacrificially give to others joyfully. These are the ones who please God and will be in Heaven with Him forever!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).