Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to Flourish

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree...and bear fruit, even in old age."
--Psalms 92:12 & 14

God is invested in our growth. The Bible says the righteous will flourish. According to the Webster Student Dictionary to flourish means "to grow or fare well; thrive; to be at the peak of success or development." Flourishing sounds great, but how do we get there when we feel abandoned, oppressed, and small?

Notice that the verse does not say that we might flourish, only if we've never been subjected to abuse. It doesn't say that our odds of thriving are dismal if we've been abused. No. We are told that we will flourish, if we are among the righteous. And fortunately, being among the righteous isn't difficult. We don't need to earn righteousness through our good deeds and best behavior. Again, no.

Being righteous is a state that is bequeathed to us for free, if we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. If we are Christians; we are righteous and we will flourish. We can count on it.Our growth is in His hands. All we need do is agree to abide in Him. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing...This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:5 & 8). It is God who keeps us on the path of righteousness and cultivates our fruit bearing.

If we are practicing abiding in/living in our Lord, we've got guaranteed "faring well" in our life story. Living in Christ means we daily invite Him to be our Lord, trusting in Him despite the bad things we have experienced. Because we trust in Him, we fall more in love with Him as time goes by, and we become more and more desirous of obeying Him and choosing His ways as best. We allow God to do His work in us and through us. The changes for the better in our character are fruits and our actions that are based on trusting Him are fruits.

If we are currently being abused, we are living in our Savior when we turn to God with our tragedy. When we ask God for His protection, rescue, and aid we are abiding. When we trust Him to show us the best way to deal with the abuse, we are bearing good fruit indeed.

If we are in recovery from past abuse, abiding in God includes trusting Him with our healing, inviting Him into our dark places and following His lead. Following an invisible God is sometimes a challenge for us, but God helps us out with guidance from the Holy Spirit, with His Word (the Bible), church sermons, words from trusted people, songs on the radio and other creative ways of getting our attention. He is a gentle, good and patient shepherd, who willingly and joyfully leads us when we invite Him to guide our way.

Hold onto the hope of flourishing, even when you don't feel righteous, even when you feel frightened, or stuck in old patterns or too scarred to produce any positive fruit. Even then, keep your eyes and your hope focused on Jesus Christ. Our hope is secure because it is rooted in who God is fully righteous and totally faithful, not upon our fallible nature, our strength of will or our transient feelings. No. Rather, producing fruit relies on our powerful Lord and on His eternal truth. So go forth, dear ones, depend on your Lord and be on the watch for some fruit bearing and flourishing!

No comments:

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft