Flourish | Day Six
By: Megan Gover
Happy Monday! Since we had a break over the weekend, let's take a quick recap of last week's truth:
DAY ONE: wE MUST be deeply rooted in the Gospel in order to flourish.
day two: JESUS MAKES IT PAINSTAKINGLY CLEAR. THE GOOD SOIL IS THE ONLY ONE THAT GROWS.
day three: IT REQUIRES UPROOTING WEEDS TO MAINTAIN A FLOURISHING GARDEN. IT IS THE SAME WITH SIN to encounter a flourishing faith.
Day four: if we want to grow, we must know this: folly keeps us from flourishing, cut spiritual cravings, and recognize community and confession as a key to conquering sin.
day five: SOMEONE WHO LOVES GOD'S WORD, GROWS FRUIT. THEY FLOURISH!
Basically, we established the "good soil" referred to in the Parable of the Soils, laid the foundation of what a heart humbly rooted in the Gospel looks like and how we tend a heart yearning to grow. Though we studied how we can best personally yield spiritual fruit, this week we will study how to flourish when other conditions, circumstances, and seasons are out of our control.
Before we go any further, spend some time asking the Lord to bless this next week with His presence, patience, and power as you seek to know how to grow in your relationship with Him--especially if you're not feeling it.
What words would you use to describe the landscape of a desert?
Do deserts appeal to you as a place of comfort? Why or why not?
When I think of desert lands, I think of an abundance of cacti, shortage of water, and extreme heat. Though deserts have a certain form of beauty, I ultimately think of them as a place lacking comfort. Similarly, I believe we classify spiritual, desert seasons in the same way.
How would you describe a spiritual, desert season?
When was there a time in your life that you went through a season like this?
There are two types of desert seasons I believe we go through. One type of desert season would be like that of the Israelites. As soon as Moses led them out of Egypt, they complained and disobeyed God. Therefore, their punishment was to live in the desert for 40 years! Can you imagine four decades of your life essentially camping in hot, sandy terrain? Blah!
Desert seasons can result from sin festering in our lives, a lack of desire for the Lord's righteousness, and a lack of feeling joy in the Lord. We can willingly walk into desert seasons by deserting righteousness.
However, sometimes, we walk through painful and uncomfortable seasons not out of our disobedience, but to develop perseverance and the testing of our faith.
This is something we can learn from the life of Peter. The book 1 Peter was written to the early church was spread throughout the world--believers who were experiencing immense persecution for their faith in Jesus. As he penned this epistle, he wrote to encourage them in the midst of their suffering with the hope and reminder of our heavenly inheritance.
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Why does Peter say the Lord deserves praise?
What does verse 4-5 say about our heavenly inheritance? Why is it so valuable that it does not fade--especially in a world where technology and our current iPhone model fade so quickly?
Write out of verse 6-7 on a piece of paper.
What is the purpose of the pain we suffer through in our lifetime?
Let's take this truth to a personal level.
What were some painful seasons in your life--not from your own doing, but from circumstances out of your control? What were your thoughts about these situations, yourself, and the Lord during these painful times?
During painful seasons, were you encouraged to walk closer with Jesus or did you allow it to wedge between yourself and the Lord?
What did you learn on the other side of your desert season?
You are not alone if a desert season felt lonely, frustrating, and dry. Our flesh naturally assumes a position of woe is me, why am I going through this mentality. However, if we allow our circumstances to define us instead of Christ, we can easily grow stagnant instead of selflessly like Christ.
Finish out this time reading John 11:1-37. Tomorrow we will study how the Lord meets us in our pain and promises His presence in the midst of suffering. As a result, we can experience joy in the midst of deep sorrow!