We live in a world of good intentions, and it often effects the way we live out our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “I really want to read my Bible and pray more.” It’s less common to find someone who actually does it.

That’s the problem with good intentions, they never become good actions. As I wrote in my book, “Good intentions are like cans of paint that could have become amazing works of art…but never did.” (Ten Days Without) But it’s not just our faith that suffers from good intentions—ideas that could have meant something—our relationships with one another suffer too. How many times have you wanted to spend more time with your kids or wanted to do more special things for your spouse? How many times have you wanted to call your grandparents more often or buy something special for your parents?

Good intentions don’t help us draw closer to the people we care about because they don’t count. Imagine a husband going home to his wife on their anniversary and telling her how he thought about taking her out on a date. Not only that, he thought about buying her flowers. He thought about buying her chocolates. He even thought about taking her back to the place where they first met. I would imagine that his wife would respond to him, “Well I thought about being intimate with you tonight!” Why? Because all of his “thoughts” mean nothing to her. When it comes to real life, it’s not the thought that counts!

But good intentions don’t just impact our faith and our relationships, they also impact our lives. How many times have you wanted to save more money or spend less money? How many times have you wanted to work out more often or read more books? See what I mean. Good intentions get in the way of us drawing closer to God and other people, and they distract us from living a successful life. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many good “thoughts” cross your brain—what matters, is what you do.

Don’t be a person full of ideas that could have meant something. Be a person with ideas that do mean something! Follow through. Act. And get rid of good intentions.

This post also appeared on the Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website. Click here to see it.

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