Flourish: Three Secrets for Cultivating the Abundant LIfe You Were Always Called to Live
In the midst of our busy and often stressful lives, the word flourish is probably the last word we'd pick to describe our current situation. But Christ came to give us an abundant life that can supersede our natural limitations and allow us to thrive right where we’re planted.
Yes! Look how you’ve made all your lovers to flourish like palm trees, each one growing in victory, standing with strength! You’ve transplanted them into your heavenly courtyard, where they are thriving before you. For in your presence they will still overflow and be anointed. Even in their old age they will stay fresh, bearing luscious fruit and abiding faithfully. Psalm 92:12-14
Springtime is fast approaching and tiny buds of promise are blooming outside our windows once again. White dogwood blossoms, bright yellow daffodils, and tiny sprigs of green shoot through dirt and give us hope that warmer days are on the horizon. A renewal of life and fresh energy begin to emerge and we are reminded that every living thing, even in dormancy, was ultimately created to flourish. Year after year, nature generously reassures us that life isn’t really gone, only secretly preparing to display its God-designed glory. And we know, that with the right soil, some warm sunlight, and a good rain, a new start is always possible.
“Flowers of your faithfulness are blooming on the earth.” Psalm 85:11
In the same way, when we hide ourselves in Jesus, abiding in his nurturing love and regularly soaking in his truth, we too can expect to not only thrive, but display God’s vibrant glory even through difficult seasons of life. So what is the secret to flourishing in a way that provides this habitual and consistent lifestyle of abundance that Jesus promised us? The following are three strategies for cultivating and encouraging a life that encompasses the gloriously majestic and wildly alive nature of our King.
Set Your Gaze
When you think about where your time and attention typically goes throughout the day, who and what tends to be the usual recipients? Without intentionality, the demands and distractions of life can prevent us from getting that much needed time with our heavenly Father that we so desperately need to live a life filled up and overflowing (John 1:16). God is very interested in having quality time with his children. He is not an absent or aloof Father, but ever-present and fully engaged. He doesn’t hide himself from us, but patiently waits. Jesus knew the value of setting his gaze on heaven and was often slipping away to have alone time with his Dad. He knew that what we behold is eventually what what we will reflect (2 Corinthians 3:18). So why not be intentional about setting our gaze on Jesus, who is gracious, kind, forgiving, peaceful, strong, and the embodiment of joy? When we are focused in on God’s loving gaze, fear and stress have no choice but to crumble.
Drink Deep, Drink Well
I love how the Psalmist says it best,
I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from your presence.
My longings overwhelm me for more of you!
My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the living God.
I want to come and see the face of God. (Psalm 42:1-2)
King David not only continually strived to set his gaze upon the Lord, but he knew when his spirit was in need of a good, long drink. We are spiritual beings and we were made that way in order to connect with a spirit God. Taking time to come and drink from the cup that Jesus offers simply means engaging with him on an intimate level through spirit and truth (John 4:24). This could be a time of worship, journaling, dancing, reading, praying, meditating, listening, etc…our spirits long to connect with our maker in order to thrive, know him more deeply, and remain spiritually healthy.
Carry His Banner
There are numerous opportunities for trials to limit our joy and steal from the abundant life God intended us to live. (John 10:10) Whether its weariness, worry, a lack of self-care, or even constant comparison, life’s challenges can oftentimes feel all too consuming.
The constant barrage of criticism from ourselves alone can be a daily battle. But God’s word says,”...don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus!” (Philippians 3:1-9) Instead of flying the banner of “not good enough” over our heads, we can stand firm in the knowledge that God’s opinion of me is my banner; not the opinions of others, or often times, even our own self. We can determine in our minds that what he says is true and he is the one who ultimately defines us. And he says that we are wonderfully made, fully accepted in him, and unconditionally loved.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love (Song of Solomon 2:4)
Today, you have the opportunity to reign in the midst of your circumstances because his strength and joy isn’t natural but supernatural, giving you the ability to thrive right where you’re planted. When you set your gaze on Christ, invest in your personal relationship with him, and stand firm in your God-given identity, you don’t have to merely survive, you can flourish.
Take some time today to meditate on the Psalms below…. (The Passion Translation)
“But Lord, your nurturing love is tender and gentle. You are slow to get angry yet so swift to show your faithful love.” Psalm 85:15
“...You are full of abounding grace and truth. Bring me to your grace fountain so your strength becomes mine…” Psalm 86:16
“ ...Every fountain of delight springs up from your life within me!” Psalm 87:7
“Revive us again, O God! I know you will! Give us a fresh start!” Psalm 85:6
Goodness of God- Bethel Music & Jenn Johnson
The Joy of the Lord- Audrey Assad
Stand In Your Love- Bethel Music & Josh Baldwin
The Garden- Kari Jobe
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Lord Jesus, thank you that you are very much alive in me and no shadow of shame can touch me because you have removed every sin and obstacle in my way. Thank you that you call me fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you that you have not only designed me uniquely for your glory but you call me by name and sing a song of love and victory over my life! Remind me to set my gaze on you and create a thirst in me for your presence once more. I will carry your banner of love over me as I go into my day and and will let your limitless joy reign in me and through me! Amen.