The best selling paperback, Heaven is for Real, has captivated us with a story of a boy who told his father what he experienced in heaven for a few short minutes.
Something about that simple, innocent account rings true from the inside out for some of us. It confirms what we know to be true about heaven.
Another Son also tells us a captivating story.
Jesus was born to tell us that GOD is for Real.
The things He told us . . .
the miracles He showed us . . .
the way He lived and died . . .
all ring true from the inside out for those of us who believe He was God made flesh.
Knowing God is for Real is the starting place for understanding together what it means to thrive as women who follow Jesus.
A few weeks ago, I suggested that thriving is passive–something that happens to us when God is Real in our lives. Psalm 92:13 tells us if we’re “planted in the house of the LORD, we thrive in the courtyards of our God.”
A planted tree is passive. It can’t bring rain or nutrients to itself. It can’t choose its habitat or create its own way of thriving. The Gardner, God, causes it to thrive.
BUT we’re not trees. We’re not naturally passive, are we? We want to be women of action and purpose; we need to DO something. So, we create our own way of thriving–an imitation of the REAL thing. This is called striving.
Like placing a silk tree in our home as an imitation of what’s really going on outside, we create a life that looks lush and vibrant. This striving tree is handmade from a dead branch with silk stems and leaves; it’s a mere image of something real.
Among the many glimpses Jesus gave us of the Real God, He gave us these words in Luke 12:29-32:
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting [STRIVING] so you can respond to God’s giving [THRIVING]. People who don’t know God and the way he works, fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.”
The cure for an imitation life of striving is steeping.
I soak in the thought of steeping myself in “God-reality.”
I imagine what it would be like if I drop myself into God’s way of living– much like I settle a tea bag into hot water–letting God’s thoughts flow through my life . . . letting His Words move in and out of my mouth.
As women, I think one area of life we almost always strive to control is our relationships.
People are “our thing.”
Think about one person you feel responsible to control. You have all kinds of reasons why this control is a good thing . . . and some of those reasons may even be good.
But only God can be REAL in helping that person thrive. Would you agree with that?
What might happen the next time you’re tempted to strive in that relationship and, instead, you THRIVE?
You allow God’s thoughts about that person to flow through your life.
You allow God’s Words to move in, then out of your mouth.
I’m beginning to recognize the times I strive in my relationships — when my thoughts about someone have more to do with what I want to see happen than about who God wants to help them become.
I would make them a lush and green silk tree and put it right where I could keep an eye on it.
But God would plant them in the wide open and nourish them there.
So, I form a prayer from the wide open truth of God’s Word. Like these words from David in Psalm 18:16-19 [The Message]:
But me he caught–reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved–surprised to be loved!
That’s trusting our relationships to a God who is for Real.
Mind if I pray?
God – I know You are for Real because of Your Son, Jesus. I am humbly grateful. Help each one who reads this post to catch a glimpse of You reaching down, all the way from sky to sea, to capture their heart. There You are, right beside us, in our lowest moments. Our great hope is to stand in the openness of Your saving grace and know we are loved. May it be so with each of us today. Amen.