Keep close to Nature’s heart and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir

Flourish and Grow

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – Jesus

Praying into 2023, the Lord spoke to my heart that we are invited to “flourish and grow”. Obviously this isn’t a new invitation from Jesus because the calendar turned to January 1. It is simply a reaffirming of His heart for our lives as we approach a new year.

To flourish (develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment) and grow (undergo natural development, to progress to maturity) isn’t measured by the size of our following, our bank account, or our notoriety. Any external measurements of growth (not that those are always great to go by) are worthless if not founded on and forged from the depths of our person and the expression of our life in Jesus at the core of our being and the those most intimate to us. Jesus came to give us life, that the old life, with the old selfish cares would be replaced with Him at the center – He is the seed, we are the soil!

I intensely believe this is to be a year where our eyes are open and we are invited and expected to thrive. No more of the same patterns, cycles, or trips around the same mountain for us!

I saw a picture in prayer of someone climbing a mountain and reaching what they thought was the summit – but when they got to the top they saw there was more trail to go. But, instead of continuing the climb and clearing the pass, they chose to settle on the false summit. “I’ve come far enough, this will have to do” was their resolution. God’s heart aches for those of us, or places in us, where we settle or let cycles of behavior or health, broken processes of relationship and functioning become our destination rather than something we pass through in our growth process. It’s easy to say “I’ve done what I can. I’ve come far enough…”, and justify our journey by the distance we’ve come rather than clearing the pass and experiencing the “green pastures and still waters” (Psalm 39) He is leading us into.”

Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1)

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Phil. 1:6)

It is time to leave false summits where we’ve set up life, and press on to the pass.
It is time to turn our ruts into a route toward the flourishing and growing He is inviting us to.
Where are you going around the mountain instead of over it?

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