Thrive or Survive?


splendorMy Mom and Dad, after raising three natural born children, adopted 10 more! One of those children was a sickly infant- slow to gain weight, no appetite, fussy, and prone to injury. The doctors called his condition “failure to thrive.”  Mom refused to accept that there was something wrong with him and lavished attention on him, insisting that he live and grow.  He’s 6 feet tall now and shows no deficit physically. I wonder he would have even lived without the incredible amount of love he was given in those early years?

There are Christians that appear to have a kind of spiritual “failure to thrive” condition. After coming to faith in Christ, they stop growing in grace. Their lives exhibit little love or joy. They are given to despair, or rage, or lust, or greed.  They seem not to have any desire to worship or understand matters of the Spirit.

Did you know that our Heavenly Father lavishes love on us and desires that we thrive, that we live robust, energetic lives in His care? Look at what Paul tells us. We “always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, NIV)

The Lord did not extend His salvation to us so that we could remain miserable, mean, and sorry! Those Christians who constantly moan of their trials, and who are just trying to hold on until Jesus returns or death delivers them from this world are missing the point. Our salvation begins NOW and through the Spirit we are invited to a quality of life that displays the goodness of God. Don’t confuse that high and holy calling with the shallow prosperity Gospel of this age.  Jesus did not leave His Glory to make us rich and to enable us to live without difficulties!  He came to liberate us from slavery, to give us hope, to make us loving, to fill our lives with a wealth that is more lasting than gold! Of Himself, He said: “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:9-10, NLT)

Are you merely a survivor or are you drinking of the Spirit, feeding on the Word, and breathing the renewal of worship so you will thrive? Borrowing from Moses’ experience of the Presence of God at Mt. Sinai, this passage speaks of being filled with a beautiful, holy radiance. After 40 days with the Lord, Moses’ face had a supernatural glow that frightened the Israelites! He put a covering on his face to keep them from freaking out, but then he kept it on to conceal the fact that the glow was fading!  Paul says that Christians who are filled with the Spirit will have a kind of glory in their lives and  they will have no need of veils to hide its fading, because the Spirit keeps on shining in us! “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18, NIV)

Look up! Accept His grace for your need. Invite Him to change your sorrow into joy, to work in whatever situation you find yourself.  Take this ancient prophecy as a life statement and live it, by the power of the Lord.

 “God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.”

Isaiah 61:2-3  the Message



Here in this worn and weary land

Where many a dream has died

Like a tree planted by the water

We will never run dry


So living water flowing through

God we thirst for more of You

Fill our hearts and flood our souls

With one desire


Just to know You and to make You known

We lift Your name on high

Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide

We know we were made for so much more

Than ordinary lives

It’s time for us to more than just survive

We were made to thrive


Into Your Word we’re digging deep

To know our Father’s heart

Into the world we’re reaching out

To show them who You are


Joy unspeakable

Faith unsinkable

Love unstoppable

Anything is possible


We were made to thrive


Mark Hall | Matthew West

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Highly Combustible Music (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing)

House of Story Music Publishing (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing)

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