“We were made for more than to just survive. We were made to THRIVE!” ~ Casting Crowns (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jNJ59o4QgE).
These words keep coursing through my veins as I write you this morning. They have led me to dance with joy and anticipation as they flow through my soul. “We were made for MORE! We were made to THRIVE.”
Thrive, according to Free Online Dictionary, means to make steady progress, prosper; to grow vigorously, flourish.
We are not meant to settle in to status quo and fail to grow. We are to be in a constant state of maturing and becoming all God intended us to be, bearing fruit to His glory (Galatians 5:16-26).
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, beloved, the difficulties of life can so weigh me down that it feels like “surviving” is a good thing. But what the enemies of God mean for harm, God always intends for my good and His glory. There is something there for me to benefit from that will carry me from survival mode to that of one who thrives; I have only to discover it and make it mine.
An infant can have food and water, get their diapers changed and be given all kinds of pretty toys and noises to stimulate their senses, enough so that they survive. But to thrive and become all they can be, they must know the presence and touch and voice of someone who loves them.
We need the same as the Children of God. It is those who cannot discern His love, His touch, and His voice with assurance of His presence who too easily fall away and fail to live the life He supplies us, especially when trouble comes to life. To thrive, we must grow to know Him and His faithful, loving hand in our lives. Difficulty gives us opportunity to draw still nearer to Him and trust Him more, growing strong to thrive in our assurance of His presence with us, His love for us, and His care in time of need. And believe me, beloved, with the things going on in this world and the difficulty even His strongest followers are experiencing, without His Reality, we will not do more than survive.
Thus, to thrive we are to grow:
In the knowledge of God, that He is who He says He is (Philippians 4:8-11, AMP; Exodus 33:12-23).
God is real, and He desires to be our greatest reality. In order to fully experience His reality, our greatest desire must be to know Him. As we grow to know Him, we will grow in understanding of who He is, what He does, and how and why He responds to us / situations the way He does. The more we know Him, the more we know His heart, the better equipped we will be to BE like Him. The more we understand His ways, the faster we will be to respond in likeness to Him, becoming all He intended us to be as representing Him and His interests in the challenges we face.
In knowledge and discernment, being secure in the things of God, in His ways and in His promises (Matthew 10:16; James 3:13-18).
We live in this world for a time and purpose set by God, but we are not to be of this world (having its priorities and ideology) for we are the people of God, purposed to be like Him and sent out for His glory. To do this, we must be secure in Him, in His Word, and in His promises.
Our flesh, this world and the demonic can be deceptive and alluring, robbing us of assurance of faith and destroying security in God’s reality. Thus, while we live in the world, we must “Be wary and wise as a serpent”, but “innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves” (Matthew 10:16, AMP). In other words, know your surroundings and how it works, but don’t become part of it. Be the people of God’s possession, His Kingdom representatives, emulating Him in life.
When we know God and His ways, as we see the way of things in our surroundings, we can discern the fleshly, the worldly, and the demonic found there. We don’t have to “learn of the world.” We just need to “know God”, having assurance in Him and His ways: that He is, and that He is the reward for those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6; Genesis 15:1; Jeremiah 29:12-14).
When we know God, we will be equipped to recognize that which is not of Him, discerning whether it is fleshly (coming from our old nature), worldly (stemming out of the world’s ideology), or demonic (a ploy of God’s enemy, sent to distract and lead us away from God and His ways). Recognizing the enemy warfare and walking in the victory of His Presence and wisdom, we grow in our security that He is, and that He is with us and for us.
We thrive as the secure when in Him we mature. Thus, to thrive we must also grow:
In the knowledge of the Presence of God and the filling of THE Spirit of God (1 Chronicles 16:11, 27; Psalm 27:4; 1 John 3:1-19; 4:6-8; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-26):
We are called to walk daily in His Presence and be filled with His Spirit. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. Submit to Him and the devil must flee (James 4:6-10). It is this real life experience of Him that protects us from falling away to other “gods” found in this life; protecting us from deciding there is no God at all.
I am saddened by the number of professing Christians who, out of some fear of the “charismatic”, do not know how to discern the voice of God. Even sadder those who refuse to be filled with the Spirit of God for some fear of what they do not understand, and cannot understand until they surrender in faith to the experience of His Presence and Power. I am not talking tongues here, or running around the room barking like a dog; I am talking about experiential surrender to His indwelling Presence and Power that works within us so that we have experiential understanding of His Presence, His touch, and His voice, possessing with assurance His love that endures and ensures us that we will thrive.
I was greatly saddened the other day when, sharing how God led a loved one to discern a truth that brought wisdom to their heart, someone said, “Well they were just listening to / practicing their wisdom.” True wisdom is from God. He tells us when we seek Him for wisdom with full faith, He will give it to us. When we have been seeking Him for it and wisdom suddenly dawns on us, that is God’s voice and we best not lay claim to it as if it did not come from Him. The Presence of God assures our hearts and leads us to His wisdom.
“Not everything we hear is God speaking,” she said. And that is true. But when we know the Presence of God and the filling of His Spirit, we can discern the true from the false, and know when it is Him speaking. Only by faith to trust His reality and discern His leading can we fully follow in His ways. And only when His power indwells us will we experience true power for life that thrives despite circumstance. To do less is to just survive.
We were made to thrive, beloved. We are to grow strong in the Lord, knowing Him, knowing His ways, discerning His Presence, and hearing Him with spiritual ears that discern His voice (John 10). Filled up with Him and empowered by Him, we are to go forth as mature representatives of His glory with full faith in all His good word and promises.
We were made for more than to just survive, beloved. We were made to THRIVE.