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Thriving Beyond Familiar

Boy, has this been a season! I cannot believe how quickly we moved into a new calendar year while continuing in the same season of uncertainty.

Life is fragile. God is gracious. Navigating through unfamiliar spaces and places has been tough and formidable, yet, it has become another speciality we add to our skills menu.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about a simple word, THRIVE. If you’d ask me, "Why is this non-syllabic word filled with motivation, momentum and movement," I would respond because it is the manifestation of principle and partnership.

Thrive as a biblical principle is outlined in Joshua 1:8. It is this #ThrivePrinciple that God gives to a new generational leader as He progresses the seasons of Israel’s history from slavery to deliverance to wandering…they are about to THRIVE by conquest into a promised land.

In my sermon series on this prophetic topical word, which has activated me, as well as those I influence, I note that in order to live in the #ThriveLife, it requires transient turmoil and relentless resilience. Thriving occurs in the life of most biblical characters in unfamiliar and uncomfortable spaces.

If thriving is the manifestation of a principle, then that principle activates the action and outcome. Joshua 1:8 centers the action of thriving with the priority of the book of the law. Interesting to note, it's the book of the law and not our paper or digital bible we use today.

Centrality and primacy of the word assures the reader with incontrovertible evidence of breaking forth and breaking out, or in the words of the Hebrew Bible, “then shall your way be made prosperous.” The principle of keeping God’s word primary by mentally focusing and meditating on the word will heighten our awareness and obedience while creating a freedom from distractions, as it is expressed in the word "prosperous." Success, in this text, is not the western world’s idea of materialism or the accumulation of notoriety. Quite to the contrary, it is the ability to steward or manage one’s future.

Joshua partnered with the principle while filling the unfamiliar shoes of Moses, in a familiar place in the wilderness. It was his courageousness to trust the principle to work in the wilderness, the Jordan River and the Promise Land. Thriving beyond Israel’s familiarization into the promises of God required biblical principle and the leader’s partnership.

Every believer must be vigilant to the subtlety of the enemy...Satan! I call out His name because too many believers are lulled to sleep by the Satanic Toxic Triangulation of deception, temptation and familiarity! David Platt, Biblical Scholar, says, "this is a spiritual world and we’re involved in a spiritual war! Our enemy is formidable, the stakes are eternal, scope is universal and our involvement is personal.” Familiarity can replace active FAITH because faith leaders, faith influencers, reformations and denominations are duped by the devil to be comfortable, containable and complacent with hollow traditions and powerless practices which are so familiar; they are feckless. Familiarity is a demonic hypnotic mix of manipulation which invites sectors of the world to dull its spiritual awareness and feel comfortable in a world of sameness. Holiness is God’s mark of distinction in that world of sameness which is distinguished by a life of thriving! Familiarity fosters acceptance. One must be resilient to conquer it. Familiarity provides comfort - a form of feel good containment - which produces complacency and ultimately, complaint. So comfort, containment and complacency are symptoms of familiarity which, the famous idiom suggests, breeds contempt! Have we become so familiar with others that we might have lost our singular distinction? Have we become so familiar with God, His Son, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost that we are no longer amazed by Him? Are we too familiar with rituals, habits and traditions that they are only transactional and no longer transformational? Maybe others have become familiar with us that we may not be noticeable and therefore, vulnerable to being abused. Unfamiliarity keeps one’s senses on high alert! I encourage you to think about becoming too familiar with your life, your circle of influence and your distinctive abilities that you pause your quest toward the creative unfamiliar. Thriving beyond familiar will require a missional objective with a resilient mindset to thrust you into an uncomfortable place so unfamiliar it will take God and God only to make sense of what will be your purposeful next in life, love, family and faith.

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