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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Extravagantly Blessed"

Date published: 05/18/2017
Psalm 1:3b “Which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (NIV) 

   Almost everyone would give a thumbs up to this life! When asked how you are doing, you might reply, “Life is good, all I touch turns to gold, and I consistently find purpose with good results.” It may be hard for you to imagine experiencing this, but God created you for it. Psalm 1:1-3a gives four actions that bring about this type of life: “Blessed is the man who (1) does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But (2) his delight is in the law of the LORD, and (3) on His law he meditates day and night. (4) He is like a tree planted by streams of water.” (NIV) The first action involves who you hang with. Where you find joy and fellowship can lift you up or pull you down. Being on mission with a purpose is okay, but satisfying life’s needs with unbelievers invites trouble. The second action shows where you can find delight. The depth and intimacy of your relationship in Christ will change what delights you. Connecting to God, fellowshipping with Him, and experiencing Him will bring the most satisfying delight.  The third action requires a hunger for more of God’s truth and presence. God is no longer a footnote to life, but life itself. You desire deeper truths that will free you into yielding more of your life to Christ. You hunger for Christ’s work and presence in order that you can experience more of Him. The fourth action shows Christ’s position in you. Christ is no longer second; He is first in your life…He is your all. Your life is fully rooted in Him for everything. Nothing filters through your life outside of Christ. 

   As you read this you might be thinking, “But what about pain, problems, hurts, and persecution? How do these relate to the abundance God promises?”  James 1:2-4 gives this insight: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ” (NIV) God is actively working in every aspect of your life. The secret is to remain planted in Jesus, so that He can continue to pour His life into you. A useful illustration of this is the Horizon oil spill tragedy. In human terms it was a disaster of epic proportions, but in the whole of God’s creation it was miniscule. The prediction was that the marine habitat would be destroyed for generations, while in fact the immensity of the Gulf of Mexico waters minimized the effects of the disaster. The water quickly returned to its brilliance, marine life flourished, and plant growth was minimally affected. The negative effects of the toxic waste that remained in the Gulf was amazingly minimized. As horrible as the toxic waste was, it was quickly consumed by the vastness of the Gulf and the ecosystems that God had created. The same is true for hardships in your life. During good as well as difficult times, you must remain fully planted in Christ. When you choose to plant yourself elsewhere, you undermine God’s work in you. Remaining in Christ releases Him to consume the hardships you are experiencing as well as give you peace through them. Allow the roots of your life to go deeper and deeper into the Lord in good and difficult times, so that your life overflows with Him. 

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(NIV) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.” 

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