Flourish As a Focus Word for 2018
What comes to your mind when you think of having a focus word for a year?
Does that sound intriguing? Too focused? Overwhelming to choose?
What comes to your mind when you hear the word flourish? Growth? Potential? Change? Plants?
This year flourish is my focus word.
I have never picked a word for a year before. Maybe because I was in school for so many years and the school year ruled my plans and not the calendar year. Maybe because before now I never asked God to be a part of my goal-setting process. That second one may be more likely even though it hurts to realize how long I haven’t put God first.
We all know that New Year’s goals and resolutions have a huge failure rate. I’ve talked a little about goals on this blog for the year and even asked you to set goals with your spouse in a fun way. But what is typically missing from goal-setting is God.
Have you set worldly goals?
Who are your goals set up to please/serve? God? Yourself? Your boss?
Goals Set With God
If our goals are set up to please anyone other than God they are very likely to fail. Plus, even if we do succeed it is empty compared to the glory we receive in fulfilling God’s goals.
We are reminded in Romans to have a mindset that we are a living sacrifice. We are to serve God and not let our minds be conformed to this world and its priorities.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
This verse has some serious statements. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. It is interesting how it is emphasized that this is our reasonable service. That this is not asking too much of us but only what is reasonable. That we are to be acceptable to God and holy.
Secondly, this verse also talks about mindset. Renewal is such a great word to me. It invokes a sense of cleansing in my mind. Starting over, fresh slate, clean, new. We need to keep our minds fresh and focused on God. This world is so easy to be sucked into. Constantly we are being asked for our attention, time, money and emotions and it can be extremely draining mentally and physically.
We need a renewed mindset and a spirit of sacrifice in our lives.
Where We Are Planted
But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. 1 Corinthians 7:17
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing… Psalms 92:12-14
I love the imagery in this passage from Psalms. I want to be planted, rooted, staying in the house of the Lord. In Oregon we have tons of trees. We have so many trees that we are actually the United States number one exporter of Christmas trees and it is big business here! So this planted/rooted imagery is strong for me. These giant trees that are successful and immobile.
Even this summer when we experienced major wildfires in the Oregon Gorge we drove through in the fall and yes acres and acres show signs of damage, but some of the trees had scorch marks on their trunks but are still alive and showing signs of health. They are rooted and even though there are challenges they serve their purpose and continue to thrive.
I know in the past I have let my circumstances define my progress in life. I remember someone telling me that not making a decision is still making a decision. Either you will make an intentional decision for your life or someone else will decide for you.
If I am not intentional in seeking God and his opportunities I will not grow in Him.
God has called us each because of our circumstances. You are in a place where you can serve God. God calls you from where you are. We can walk with the Lord where we are and see how He can change our circumstances for good if they are difficult.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving Colossians 2:6-7
Established, rooted, built up in our faith is the place to be. Thankful and growing is what I think of with these passages. Even if you feel stuck or unsure, remember that you are rooted in Christ and through thankfulness and faith you can walk with God.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper Psalms 1:3
This is a great verse to tie things together. Planted where you are, fed by a river which can represent life and God. That is where you will blossom and prosper. Where you are fed of God, and where you are planted.
This year I want to prosper in His name. Not for my own success or acknowledgment but for His Kingdom.
I know I have not flourished where I have been planted in the past. I also know that I have been closest to flourishing when I have been involved with serving in a church, and spending my time and effort with God and His Word.
Where are you at in your thought process?
Conclusion and Prayer
Is this the year you simplify your life and focus your purpose on God?
Are you going to invite God into your goal setting and prayerfully consider where you are spending your time and resources?
Is this your time to flourish? Growth, renewal, thriving, focus, intent, using resources wisely (where you are planted).
That is my hope for 2018.
I want to flourish with God. I want to learn, grow, and transform myself to be more like Him.
This year I pray that this blog is a home for that attitude. That it is home to encouragement to pursue activities that help you flourish. Whether that is Bible study, physical health, or mentally I want to be here providing resources focused on God.
I don’t believe that we need to be divided into our Christian-self and worldly-self. We need to let Christ shine through us in all circumstances, in all challenges, in all relationships, in all tasks and towards all goals. We are a living sacrifice for Him and His Kingdom grows when our minds, hearts, bodies, words, and actions are focused on Him and fueled up so we are not drained by this sinful world.
I pray for anyone reading this that they may spend more time with you this year and each year to come. I pray that they study your word and be doers not just hearers. This year is a year for growth and change. As we all look ahead and leave the past behind I pray that it is all centered around you Lord. May this year be the year we start to shine our brightest and give glory to You. I praise you and pray over each person who visits this blog that Your Word is what they receive and grow on. Amen.
Feel free to leave a comment or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about your goals and your word. Also, if you sign up for my email list you will receive notices on new posts on the blog and other special news.
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