My Journey/Week 3

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between surviving and thriving. During difficult times I think it’s natural to think, feel, or say, “I just want to get through this; I just want to survive and arrive on the other side alive and well.”

I can tend to be one of those people that thinks and feels that way. I mean, don’t we all want to survive difficult situations? It’s not a bad thing to want to survive. It’s brave actually! It’s not giving up!

However, what if instead of just surviving a difficult situation, we decided to thrive while going through it?

Survive means: to remain alive or in existence; to continue to function [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Thrive means: to grow vigorously, to gain wealth, to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Yes, I have breast cancer. Yes, I want to remain alive and continue to exist. Yes, I want to continue to function in all areas of my life. So, by the grace of God, I will do what it takes to survive. I will do my best and trust God with the rest.

However, I not only want to survive this disease, but I also want to thrive while going through it.

I want to grow vigorously spiritually and in character. I want to gain a wealth of things that can never be taken from me: faith and a better understanding of God’s grace and His love and mercy for me. I want to realize my goal to glorify God, build His kingdom, edify His Body, and point the lost to the cross despite and because of my circumstances.

I want to thrive while I survive!

This Spring I planted a garden in the planter boxes my husband built for me. Only the okra plants produced. None of the other plants produced. The other plants where alive. They were growing. They had flowers on them. But they never produced what they were created to produce. They were surviving but they weren’t thriving. Needless to say, I ended up throwing them away.

John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

The way we are able to thrive and bear fruit, in this life and in every circumstance, is by abiding in Jesus, the vine.

Abide means: to remain stable or fixed in a place; to continue in a place [Merriam-Webster Dictionary App].

I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to remain in Christ! I am determined to stay fixed in Him and to continue in Him! I am determined to bear fruit despite and because of my current circumstances! And I am determined to allow God to use my struggle for His glory and for the good of others!

What are you trying to survive today? A difficult marriage? A devastating diagnosis? A wayward child? An addiction? A job you hate?

What if instead of just surviving your struggle, you thrived despite it or because of it? How could you allow God to use your current unpleasant circumstance for His glory and for the good of someone else?

You may be wondering what bearing fruit or thriving despite or because of difficult circumstances looks like? Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these fruits are evident in you, in the midst of a crisis, you are thriving!

God has planted us where we are for a purpose. We have a decision to make. Will we thrive and be fruitful or just survive without much to show for it. The decision is ours.

Don’t allow your struggle to be wasted. Bear fruit! Thrive!

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Who’s Side are You on Anyway?

We all seem to be picking sides. And we’re angry about it. We are siding with a particular political party, or a particular race or a gender. We are either on one side or the other. Pick one! It’s as if we are all against something or someone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a third side to consider. Its God’s side. God isn’t on one particular side. He wants us to be on His side.

Joshua 5:13-14 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

As members of the Body of Christ/Christians, we don’t get the luxury of picking a side other than God’s side. We are not here to represent a political party, a race, a gender or even ourselves for that matter. We are here to represent the Lord and Him only. The very word Christian means Christ-like.

What does it mean to be Christ-like? We can find the answer to that in John 17:

  1. Jesus was here to glorify His Father.
  2. He gave eternal life to all.
  3. He brought the Father glory by finishing the work He gave Him to do.
  4. He revealed the Father to us.
  5. He gave us the word that the Father gave Him.
  6. He prays for us.
  7. He protects us.
  8. He gives us joy.
  9. He sanctifies us.
  10. He has given us the glory that the Father has given Him.
  11. He unifies us.
  12. He has made the Father known to us.

Judging by Christ’s behavior, are we Christ-like? Maybe it’s not so much what we are saying and doing but how we are saying it and doing it.

Are we glorifying God? Are we sharing the gospel? Are we fulfilling the purpose that God has given us? Are we revealing God in us through His Holy Spirit? Are we speaking God’s word? Are we praying for others? Are we protecting others and their reputations? Are we bringing joy into people’s lives? Is their evidence that we are being sanctified? Is God’s glory shining through us? Are we bringing people together? Are we making the Father known in our behavior and speech?

As we can see there is no way to be biblically Christ-like and still choose a side other than God’s side.

Let’s choose God’s side! Let’s represent Him! That is our purpose!

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

~Patrice Maguire