Every believer is responsible to conduct himself deliberately.

Let me explain what I mean.

To live deliberately is to live on purpose. It’s the opposite of letting life happen to you. It’s the opposite of going with the flow.

To be deliberate is to be careful, not careless. To be thoughtful, not thoughtless. To be deliberate is to be intentional.

A quick caveat

I’ve been wanting to do a series on this topic for quite some time. But every time I consider starting, I’m reminded of all the objections to deliberate living. I’ve waited a long time in order to let my thoughts settle, but I’ll take this series similarly to how I handled my series on epistemology (part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5): I’ll work through it as I go.

Three objections

Probably the biggest objection to deliberate living is that it’s a personality thing. “You’re a thoughtful sort of person. I’m not. So I don’t need to worry about that sort of thing.”

Another objection is that deliberate living is just a form of legalism. That it focuses on externals and insists on black and white answers.

Finally, some would object that deliberate living is a professional concept, not a Christian one, and—as all good Piper fans know—brothers, we are not professionals.

A response

1) To the first objection, I’d suggest that this logic simply doesn’t follow. Some people are more prone to honesty than others. But that neither makes honesty right or wrong. It’s immaterial.

2) In response to the second objection, certainly a legalist could easily gravitate to the conclusions of a deliberate mindset. But legalism is the exact opposite of deliberate living. To be deliberate is to let go of previous conclusions and to work through the issues in order to come to a deliberate conclusion.

3) Finally, I would posit that deliberate living is indeed a distinctly Christian concept. I would suggest that Christ perfectly exemplified deliberate living and that it is this deliberate, intentional work of Christ that lies at the heart of God’s saving grace to sinners.

I hope to address these and other issues more thoroughly in coming posts.

One more thought

Having read this far, you might be thinking that my thesis (that every believer is responsible to conduct himself deliberately) is painfully obvious and pointedly dull.

If that is you, I’m glad to hear it. Still, I would encourage you to settle this matter in your heart now, because if and once this thesis is accepted and the implications are seen, it will lead you to a lifestyle that is (as one intentional Disney character was described) “scary beyond all reason.”

In fact, to put it plainly and probably more bluntly than wisdom would dictate, most believers don’t have the guts to do it. I do pray that you will.

Grace to you.

this is part 2 of 5 in the series
Deliberate living

share this article

About Jason Harris

Dr Jason Harris is a writer, pastor, and academic. He has authored multiple books, articles, and papers including his book Theological Meditations on the Gospel. Jason has a PhD from James Cook University as well as degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research. Jason has lived in Cairns, Australia since 2007 and serves as pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@jasonharris.com.au.


  1. taylah 23 February, 2010 at 9:07 am - Reply

    If you’ll allow me, I don’t think your point here is actually legitimate. Of course some things and areas in life should be deliberately planned and executed, but hardly everything. Whatever happened to spontaneity?

    For instance, the first of your objections is valid. I think this is much more of a personality thing then a Christian walk thing. Melancholies for instance need to plan and think through everything before it is done. Sanguine people, on the other hand, are characteristically more spontaneous. Who’s to say both ways of addressing life can’t be as affective as each other? (I’m assuming at this point that you are in the first category vs the latter…) Melancholies often judge those of more outgoing and spontaneous nature as not being mature or not being “deliberate” in what they do but it is merely a personality difference not a difference in spirituality. I don’t think it’s a matter at all of who has the guts to do what but rather of who’s writing the post writing from his own personal view of life as the quieter, more deliberate type and getting annoyed at those who don’t seem to take life as deliberately as he does…

    No offense. :)

  2. Jason Harris 23 February, 2010 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Thanks for the input Taylah. I’ll have to think that through more thoroughly and hopefully address it in a future post.

    I suspect a fuller explanation of what I mean by “deliberate” would help as well.

  3. taylah 23 February, 2010 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Lol okay dude, I’ll keep an eye out for your next posts…

    Your posts are generally really good, Mr. Harris. I hope I didn’t come across as disrespectful or accusatory with my comment. I’m not entirely familiar with how commenting on blogs is supposed to work. :)

  4. RoSeZ 23 February, 2010 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Don’t stress, Tay. Your comment was great. It’s good to cross Jason occasionally – especially when he’s going with the whole “if you don’t agree with me, it’s cause you don’t have the guts to be spiritual” stratagem… =P

  5. Jason Harris 23 February, 2010 at 11:27 am - Reply

    @Taylah, No. I’m glad to get feedback. Especially if it forces me to think things through more carefully.

    @RoSeZ, I didn’t mean it like that. If I came across that way, I’m sorry. That’s not what I intended to communicate.

  6. Jason Harris 23 February, 2010 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Oh, and “Mr. Harris” is my father.

  7. taylah 23 February, 2010 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Well, that’s a relief, Mr. Harris, erhmm…Jason..? lol

    Glad to give feedback if that’s what you want. Just not really wanting to get into fights or offend people. I like that you not only allow it but also don’t seem to mind people disagreeing with your posts. A lot of these places don’t. :D

    P.S. I think she was kidding… :)

  8. Mel 23 February, 2010 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    I have known Jason for a very long time and have never heard him use that stratagem. In fact I think people use it more about him than he does of others.

    I happen to be a very spur of the moment kind of person, and I agree that personality does play a role but I think deliberate living doesn’t rule out spontaneity. As with everything spontaneity has it’s place.

    I liked the bit at the top – that deliberate living is the opposite of letting life happen. Too often People (myself included) end up somewhere or doing something just because it was easy.

  9. Alen 23 February, 2010 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    @Jason: Thanks for the post!

    @taylah: Being effective requires being deliberate. One doesn’t finish High School or University or any long term task through spontaneity. It requires deliberate action and planning.

    One doesn’t maintain regular devotions, prayer and church activities by doing or attending them with spontaneity.

    If we don’t take deliberate action often times we take no action. So the question is therefore: Is there room for spontaneity? I believe there is. We should prayer when moved by a situation rather than think *It’s not time for my morning prayer yet..* for example.

    I don’t think all things require deliberation to the same extent, such as what we eat for breakfast and what we drink for lunch but factors are still involved. I mean after all if you want to lose weight one better cut down on drinking 4 liters of Coca Cola a day.

    What I listen to, who I spend time with, what I eat, what I drink, what I read, what I see and watch and do all impact me. As such we need to discern not necessarily from good and bad but more often than not from good and best.

  10. taylah 23 February, 2010 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    A million apologies!! I hadn’t even considered it from that way of thinking about it!! Me and my big mouth!! >:/ Lol, I’ll try to keep it shut in future at least until the poor writer has a chance to expound on his topic past the introduction!! :P

    Jason, thanks for your tolerance!! :D

    Alan, thanks for the help!! :D

  11. Mike Schaeffer 14 February, 2012 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Who is the artist of the Agony in the Garden painting?

  12. Jason Harris 14 February, 2012 at 12:34 pm - Reply

Leave A Comment