(Hey, it’s on time!)
Throughout Scripture, God approaches different people with the same message: “I know you have great plans for your life and some ideas about how you’re going to pull off your plans. But I have something else for you.” God didn’t explain away all the details. He didn’t curb the difficulties. He didn’t even say, “It’ll be a little awkward for a while. You’ll hit some rough patches. And you’re even going to hurt.” But he dreamed much bigger for his people than they ever dreamed. In story after story, God’s Word shows how faithful he is even to those most desperate and downtrodden. How we face the future and how we make decisions are based on what we believe about God and what we believe about ourselves. We can say God is in control, but our lives often suggest that we don’t totally buy it. God is not finished with you. Wherever you are right now, know this: Jesus loves you, and he will bring about his best for those who love him and want to thrive in him. Trust his dream for you.
Did you know that God is more interested in our weaknesses than in our strengths? It’s easy to focus on our strengths, because our strengths give us a sense of confidence and control. But 2 Corinthians 12 assures us that God uses our weaknesses rather than our strengths. God uses the weak things in the world to shame the wise. At this point is where our buts, spelled with one T, usually get in the way. Christians have huge buts, where we believe whatever God says but—and then we insert an excuse. If you believe something but, there’s a good chance you don’t believe it at all.
There’s a chance you just know it and it’s on your T-shirt, but it’s not the filter through which you run your actions. The more we examine Scripture, the more we find broken people rather than whole people—people with serious issues like Moses, David, Peter, and Mary. We find that the weak overcome the strong. Everything the world calls success isn’t found in the Word. Instead, we find that God takes you just as you are.
(I just got the e-mail)
God has a dream for you, and his dreams are always bigger than your dreams. His dream doesn’t necessarily include prosperity or good health or even what most people would describe as happiness. He’s not interested in making you comfortable. His dreams for you are much bigger than any of those pursuits. You were made to thrive in more than a worldly kind of way. You were made to thrive in your relationship with Jesus, who has poured out his love into our hearts so that it will spill into the lives of others. God’s dream for you is to know him and to make him known, to dig deep into his Word, to plumb his depths, and to reach out—to live in such a way that you point to the one true hope for all people. It seems to be a spiritual contradiction, but it’s not: When you finally let go is when you grasp what God wants and has for you. Surrender to Jesus is the way not only to abundant life, but also to life itself.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Like a giant oak tree that stands tall and strong, growth as a believer requires two parts. You have to dig your roots in deep. And when you do, you naturally will reach out. To grow roots, we dive into God’s Word and prayer and learn from other believers. As we reach out, we show people the love of Christ. A balanced believer does both. The empty promises of the world define success and contentment in terms of money, possessions, prestige, and power. The biblical definition of the word thrive means to dig deep into a personal relationship with Jesus and to reach out to others with his truth and love—to know God and to make him known.
You were meant to do more than just survive. You were meant to thrive. You were not meant to struggle to make it through the week, the day, or the next hour. You were not meant to be shackled by anxiety, worry, and fear. No, you were meant for so much more. You were meant to have life and have it abundantly. That is the promise of the eternal God. You were meant to dig deep and to reach out. You were meant to know God and to make him known. You were meant to point to the one hope, the one anchor, the one true source of joy, peace, and contentment for the entire human race. His name is Jesus. Surviving is for those who have no hope. That’s not you, not if you’re God’s child. You were meant to thrive. All of us will have bad days, but Jesus tells us to take heart. He has overcome the world. To live a life that thrives we should remember this: We cannot live by what we feel, but by the truth God’s Word reveals.
Every day in the month of August I will share with you the inspiration I will be receiving from Casting Crown’s ’31 Days to Thrive’. If you want, you can subscribe to get their emails yourself. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be a great way to help your relationship with God THRIVE!