I have been reading about the Hebrew and Greek words which are all translated into English as the word blessed. There is a wealth of meaning in these words – happiness, completeness, maturity, peace, prospering, contentment …. But they can be summed up by the word flourishing. When I first read that my immediate reaction was “YES” – what a wonderful description of the impact of the gospel on our lives.
God promised Abraham “ in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 26:4). We can see that it has always been God’s intention to bless those who put their trust in Abraham’s offspring, Jesus.
Jesus spoke of himself in this way: “I am the door, if anyone enters by me, he will be saved and go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9) Jesus is the doorway to blessing.
To be blessed means to be in a state of flourishing. God’s plan for mankind has always been that we should all flourish. He created us to be objects of his love, children, not slaves. It is not that we come to Jesus, breathe a sigh of relief and then just exist, endure, get by, or plod along waiting for the day when everything will be made new when Jesus comes again. God wants us to flourish now.
What does that mean? Definitions of flourishing include: grow, prosper, bloom, blossom, develop, do well, expand, multiply, succeed, thrive, amplify, arrive, augment, burgeon, increase, score, be on top of the heap, bear fruit, come along, get ahead, get on, go great, hit it big.
This is what it looks like when we are flourishing
It’s not static. It’s not something we have to strive for either. It’s the result of living in God’s kingdom.
What are the key essentials for flourishing? Some very basic things have to be in place. We need security – God has adopted us into his family never to be forsaken again, food – He has given us his word to nourish and sustain us, water – Jesus said that anyone who comes to Him will never thirst again, purpose – God has prepared works for us to do and relationships – he has put us into the family of God.
When we look through Scripture we see this theme of flourishing repeated over and over again. In Psalm 23 we are cared for by a Shepherd, who leads us to pastures where we can feed, by still waters where we can rest and be refreshed, he leads me the right way and when I walk through the valley He is with me, in the presence of my enemies he prepares a table and goodness and mercy are following me all the days of my life.
In Psalm 1 we see a picture of someone who is flourishing. He is planted (intentionally not merely carried by the wind) by streams which feed his roots, he is fruitful and his leaves do not wither, in all he does he prospers.
In Prov 31 we have picture of a woman who is flourishing in whatever she lays her hand to, whether it is making clothes for her household, buying a field and planting a vineyard or caring for the poor.
God is extravagant in his love for us. He has given us everything we need for LIFE and GODLINESS. That is why we can flourish – because He has given us everything we need.
Since we have come into relationship with God, all that He is is available to us and causes us to flourish. All of His love, all of his goodness, all of His mercy, all of His provision, all of His power – the list goes on.
We can think of ourselves as seeds that have been planted in the best soil conditions for our growth, where we get all the nutrients and warmth that we need to produce growth, flowers, fruit. What would that look like in your life?
Or you can think of beautiful calligraphy where every letter instead of being a boring plain type face has a beautiful flourish. They are different for every letter. We can each flourish individually and it will look different for each of us.
We can flourish and see growth and development in every area of our lives. In our workplaces , in our serving, in our relationships, in our parenting, in our ministry, in our relationship with God, in our creativity.
Jesus came that we “might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)
Flourishing means realizing all the potential that God has placed within us. It means being the truest expression of humanity as God intended.
Part 2 – This doesn’t feel like flourishing – coming soon
Some visual flourishing for you to enjoy!