POSITIONED TO THRIVE

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

PROVERBS 3 : 5,6

Cacti are meant to grow in extremely hot conditions because they can store up a lot of water. They can also typically take in a one-time heavy rainfall. But, can they survive in continuously damp or wet soil? The answer is no, they rot.

This is exactly what will happen to us if we position ourselves in an environment that is not meant for us – we will rot (a process of deterioration). On the other hand, when we position ourselves in the right environment, we will see how we thrive, grow and accomplish all that God has ordained for us. Unlike plants who cannot control where they are positioned, we, human beings, can very well position ourselves. God has also given us His Spirit to discern when and how to do it.

If the environment we position ourselves is not where we are created to be, we will shrink, dry up and struggle to survive.

Looking at the life of Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, we can evidently see how he intently chose where he positioned himself in the midst of challenging circumstances. In fact, he was placed in the most uncertain places – a pit, a prison and a palace – yet, he thrived in all of them. How did he do it? It is only by the way he positioned himself. One of the things we read constantly through Joseph’s story in the bible is ‘the Lord was with him’. If we want to accomplish what God ordained for us like Joseph did (by becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt), this aspect of positioning ourselves in the right environment is something we have to learn from him.

  • Resisting Temptation –

Sometimes we willingly or unwillingly find ourselves in a spot where we are tempted. It becomes very difficult for us to fight it out and overcome it.

Yet, the right thing to do at the time is to resist it – by moving away from it.

You see, you cannot always choose the situation you are placed in, but you can choose where and how you position yourselves in it.

In the midst of a serious temptation to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph said ‘..how can I sin against God?’ and ran away from there. He resisted the temptation. The Bible clearly tells us that no other servant was in the house that day; Joseph could have given into his flesh. But, because he was conscious of God, he realised that the best thing to do when no one else was there in the place was to move away from there. Joseph positioned himself in an environment where he does not give way to temptation. We really don’t know how different Joseph’s life would have been had he positioned himself differently by staying in that place and not resisting the temptation. However, because Joseph knew that it was not God’s will for him to be there or do that – he was able to position himself rightly.

Don’t underestimate the importance of positioning yourself in the right environment in the midst of temptation. It can change the trajectory of your purpose and calling!

What is that temptation that you keep facing? Sometimes you need to completely move out of the place where you’re being tempted, or move away from the people causing you to be tempted or remove the thing that causes you to sin.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Position yourself to resist temptation, and you will watch yourself thriving. Joseph might have been falsely accused and sent to prison for resisting – but in due time, he was made the second in-command of the entire nation!

Don’t underestimate the importance of positioning yourself in the right environment in the midst of temptation. It can change the trajectory of your purpose and calling!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4 : 7

  • Persevering through trials –

Another place we often find ourselves in is TRIALS. Be it struggling with depression, loss, a dead-end or an uncertain circumstance. Joseph found himself in these kind of situations quite often – thrown into a pit and sold as a slave by his own family (brothers), sent to prison for no fault of his, betrayed by people. Yet something that stands out is how Joseph thrived through it all. Nowhere in his story do we read that he was defeated by the circumstances he faced.

Maybe you are the only believer in your family and are being questioned for your faith every day, or maybe you are in a place in life where nothing seems to be working out, or maybe you have just lost someone or something who you depended on – it could be anything. The question is – Are you allowing the situation to determine your response or are you positioning yourself to face it?

Learn to trust and lean on God to help you position yourself in the right environment, even in unlikely places.

When Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar’s household – he did not lament about being sold off by his brothers, instead he trusted God (we read again – God was with him) and depended on God to face the challenge. What happened? He was able to work at Potiphar’s house so well, that Potiphar entrusted everything in his care. When he was put in prison – Joseph refused to mourn about being innocent of the accusation, instead he did what he was given to do in the prison with utmost sincerity (again by trusting God and God being with him).

Joseph learnt how to position himself correctly in the right environment despite being placed in tough places only by leaning on and trusting God.

Each trial is unique and so the way we position ourselves in them is unique. So, who can guide and direct us how to do it? God can. Learn to trust and lean on God to help you position yourself in the right environment, even in unlikely places.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17 : 7-9

We have the choice to position ourselves in the right environment by seeking God’s direction and grace to do what is right. And, resisting temptation and persevering through trials will always help us position ourselves correctly to face all that comes our way.

Let us be cacti that are positioned to thrive – be it in the desert or a hilly region. The choice is ours!

If this post touched your heart and changed your life, share it with friends and family

TACKLING THE NEW NORMAL – ‘SOCIAL DISTANCING’

S o c i a l d i s t a n c i n g

Stay three feet away from each other.  Do not go out and stay indoors. Don’t shake hands, don’t hug. Stop meeting up. Cancel all your programmes. The pandemic that has hit this world has called for a phenomenal shift in the way we are supposed to live and the world calls this ‘social distancing’. This is no ordinary situation. While some of us are locked up in our homes with family, some people are all alone and some are without a home wandering for shelter on the streets. Yet, the common shift is being ‘socially and physically disconnected from people’. We also generally come across this scenario of social distancing during semester holidays, shifting jobs, shifting cities, being newly married, post a broken relationship, while facing trials.

People in the bible also faced this and felt lonely. King David in a psalm expresses how he felt alone when everyone including his son abandoned him.

So how do we face a situation where we are alone and social distancing ourselves? The Bible has an answer!

In John 16:32-33 (AMP), Jesus spoke this word to His disciples, “ Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Here Jesus was talking about how the disciples will be scattered, each to their own home! A very similar to situation. And Jesus said, he would be left alone. What would cause the scattering is the death of Jesus. Even now, what is making us scatter due to the pandemic is the fear of death.

The Disciples faced with a similar situation! And, what did they do? What was Jesus’ advice?

  • Receive/ Be filled with the Holy spirit

“…an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home”

Jesus knew he would be leaving them soon, and they will all be scattered. That is why, before saying this, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit – who would be their Helper, Counselor, One who leads them into all truth.

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

In John 14: 18, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

  • Danger of going back to the world

“…Leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me”

Here, Jesus points out to the disciples about how they were going to leave Him alone. That is how He predicted about Peter denying Him thrice before the authorities. And that’s what Peter did, Soon after Jesus Died, Peter (who healed the sick and cast out demons) denied Jesus thrice and started fishing. He went back to his previous way of Life- being a fisherman.

Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved.

You may have been actively volunteering in church, participating, singing or even preaching. Nevertheless, in times like these, you have to be vigilant. Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved. Spend more time in God’s presence, reading the word of God and praying. Be accountable to someone who can encourage you and correct you in love.

If you’ve already fallen, it is never too late to reach out to Jesus and turn back to Him. And, as the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, He is faithful and just to forgive you.

  • Let the Word of God richly dwell in you

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.”

These are good times, isn’t it? Work from home, more time for ourselves, for family. But we tend to feed ourselves with movies, songs, tiktok, news, social media and a lot of other things during these times. These are good for enjoyment, but these will never give you the lasting peace, joy, it will not help fight away fear completely. Instead, it only increases fear. That is how Devil wants us to live – with fear, no peace, discouragement and no purpose.

We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

On the other hand, Jesus wants us to have life and life in abundance. That is why Jesus tells his disciples, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.” He spoke the word to them and has also given us the word. If we meditate on it, like the psalmist says in Psalms 1:2-4, we will thrive and grow and flourish through any season, any trial. We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

  • Testing of Faith

“..In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering”

Jesus reminded the disciples a crucial truth here – in this world (that is full of strife and sin), you will have trouble. Your question may be, ‘Why would Jesus allow us to go through trouble? Why can’t he take them away?’.

Well, God is a loving father and He wants us to grow and become more and more like Him. So, He allows us to go through trials to purify us, strengthen us, and make our faith grow. These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

Jesus prophesied about the end times in Matthew 24:7, saying ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

1 Peter 1:6-7 :  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  • Be courageous

“…but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

While Jesus told the disciples that there will be trouble, he also went on to tell them to ‘be courageous’  because He has overcome the world.

In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

God told Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, They cannot touch your soul”. The devil cannot condemn you, no one can touch you without Jesus’ permission. In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

This is God’s word for you in this time of social distancing, beloved. You and I need to be sensitive to God and respond as He would want us to. Seek and receive the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all truth to protect you from going back into the world, from trials and test and to stand victorious with Him.

If this post touched your heart and changed your life, share it with friends and family