By Kristi Sullins
Survive- To remain; to continue to exist.
Does this sound like where you are? Our world is made up of people who are continuing to exist. If we compare the goals and dreams of young children to those of adults who have had to face hardships, we see possibilities changed to practicalities. Our goals have changed to reflect our desire for survival.
We all have seasons of survival. The problem is when we take on survival mode as our way of life. It becomes so encompassing that we can no longer recognize that we are living just to survive. Do you find yourself in a time when you are just trying to make it through the day?
Do you find yourself saying?
If I can only get this bill paid…..
If I could only get this project done……
If I could only get through this week……..
If I could only get married…………
If I could only get this child to obey……..
If I could only get this promotion……….
If only this diagnosis is good………….
If I could only make this person happy………..
If only I could……then things will be good, but is that truth? Do you remember what it is like to do more than to survive, but thrive? The world we live in tells us that survival is normal, and exhaustion is what is best. The worst thing to do is to expect more.
The problem with that thought is that God promised us the “more”. Life more abundantly (John 10:10), joy more abundantly (Psalm 16:11), peace more abundantly (Romans 15:13) and strength more abundantly (Psalm 138:3) are the promises God gives us.
What you will not find in the Bible is the call to simply survive this life. One of the best examples of desiring more from this life is found in 1 Chronicles 4. You have to read verse after verse of genealogy in Chronicles, but tucked away in chapter 4 verse 10 you meet a man named Jabez who was bold enough to want more. He wanted what God would give him, and he asked for it. He asked God to bless him, but he didn’t leave it there. He asked specifically for an enlarging of his territories, and the presence of the mighty hand of God. He sought the strength God could give to keep him from evil, and from causing pain to others. He wanted more of God’s thriving. The best part is that God granted what he requested! He was granted the “more”.
If we are to take God’s word as truth then we must be ready to claim James 4 when he tells us that we have not because we do not ask, or we ask with the wrong motive. As children of God we get the choice to do more than exist in this world. We are called to display the life that is more abundant.
We are called to expect His “more”.
Surviving vs thriving has been at the forefront of my mind as we pray over God’s desire to use our church to minister to people. The past couple of years have felt more like a survival season than a thriving season. Now God seems to be filling our church with the boldness to ask for His “more”, and the anticipation of seeing His faithfulness displayed. He has also been preparing leaders for the changes that come with thriving.
Thriving takes more. Thriving takes preparation and sacrifice. Thriving takes faith and discipline. Thriving takes prayer and boldness. Thriving takes risks and vision. Thriving takes hope. Ask Jabez. Anyone can survive. It doesn’t take faith or dependence. It doesn’t take boldness or sacrifice. Just ask your unsaved friend or coworkers. No one needs God to survive this world, but only those with God can truly know the meaning of thriving despite this world.
We can choose to be comfortable surviving this world, or we can step out in boldness to ask God for His “more”. What will it be?
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. – God
Jeremiah 29:11- The Message