James 4:2 says, “You lust and do not have…” I’m stopping right here because that is how the Holy Spirit stopped me when I started to read. What a perfect picture of the fruit of envy…spiritual emptiness. The Amplified says, “You are jealous and covet (what others have) and your desires go unfulfilled…” There would be no envy if we viewed our lives as fulfilled in Christ. Paul learned how to do that.
Philippians 4:11-12 says, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” He learned. Learning takes striving against every distraction that tries to pull us off course.
Paul made this declaration in verse 13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul learned how to live with his thorn in the flesh. It was through God’s grace. Read this verse slowly. Let the oil of these words seep into every nook and cranny of your heart. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Though this verse is in the context of finances, we can make an application. It is the blueprint for spiritually thriving. I like to visit these verses in Psalm 65:9-11 because they give me a picture of thriving. It is speaking of ground that the Lord waters. The soil of our heart is watered as we read His word and drink it in. Think of these words: verdant, green, lush, fertile, abundance. Verse 11 says, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”
We are in the last days of this year. Many will be making New Year’s resolutions that they will fail to keep. How then shall we live? The Lord has called us into His abundance. 2 Peter 1:3 says that He has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. Therefore the key to thriving is knowing the Lord through intimate communion.
Jesus finished well. He has called us to follow His example. John 17:4 says, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do.” Paul said similar words. 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Hebrews 12:1 instructs us on how to run our race. It says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
We have to strive against every temptation to sin. We do that through our thoughts. We know that satan will use every lure with the intent to capture our affections. His lures get more wily each time we resist. He is looking for that chink in our armor. When we put on the armor that the Lord has provided, we will be able to stand and keep on standing. I encourage you to set aside time to ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything in your life that is blocking His design for you to thrive.