Hebrews 10:34-36 (NLT)
You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
“When the grass looks greener on the other side, it is the Holy Spirit telling you to water the grass that you are standing on.” – Eugene Cho
Who doesn’t look at the life of others from time to time and think why them and not me? Who doesn’t become disappointed, dissatisfied and discontent every now and then? We all do at least if we are honest with ourselves. It is human nature to want more and usually feed this drive by coveting the “comfortable” and “carefree” lives of those around us. We see the neighbor’s new car and want one for ourselves. We see the new appliance truck in the driveway and become envious. The “For Sale” sign goes up and we just know they are moving up while we are stuck in the “rut” of wanting to go places but never leaving home. The “man” and “woman” in each of us is driven by selfish desires and uncontrollable wants it is constantly fed and nurtured by a society of supply and demand that tells us that we have to have the newest thing only to get it and find out that there is something better. This principle of “greener grass” does not only apply to material things. We judge every book by its cover and assume that because someone is not pitching a tantrum or angry all the time that their personal life is perfect. We assume that because they get up and come to work not looking depressed and worn down that they are not tired and weary in their struggle to survive. The grass is not greener on the other side, I assure you as someone who has jumped the fence many times.
God prepared the life that you are currently living for you specifically. The foundation on which you have begun to build your life is fertile. If your life is not producing joy, love, peace and satisfaction, it is not that it lacks potential. An unproductive life is generally because we are not cultivating the right things in our life or we have not given it enough time to develop into the prosperity we have been promised. We are weak and impatient people. Don’t believe me? Read it from Genesis to Revelation – it tells of few people who endured to the end but those who did were saved and blessed as a direct result of the faith allowed to become confident hope.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
I wish that I knew how to “rejoice” when running into problems and trials but just about the time that I seem to get back on my feet another one knocks me over. Growing up in Florida, the beach was common ground growing up. As a child, I remember holding the hand of my dad and walking out into the ocean. He would hold my hand tight but he was larger than my small frame so when the waves would come he could take a small hop and make it through. But as a little child, the wave would smack me right in the face, water up my nose, forced down my throat and salt burning my eyes so I would cry and ask to be taken back to shore. As I got older, I learned how to do the same thing my father did when a big wave was coming or turn my back to sustain its force. Now as an adult, I know that if I can get out far enough where the current has not begun to break into waves – it is smooth and peaceful. Our life with Jesus Christ is a progression as we learn, grow and develop to be more like Jesus Christ. As we take the knowledge found in His Word and invite the Holy Spirit to help us understand, we will learn to walk in this newfound wisdom and cultivate prosperity that is the Promise of God for our life. We find this in our life not by imitating the lives of other people. God gave each of us a measure of faith. (Romans 12:2) Now we must make this work in our life to prosper where we are planted. Problems and trials make us dig a little deeper pressing down our faith to stay put which will become the confident hope that we need to be anchored in place. (Hebrews 6:19) We must learn to develop endurance so that our hope will not disappoint us. Because if you can see it, you do need faith and hope to find it. If your grass is not green yet or your field looks bare, this does not mean that there is nothing worth having there but that you just haven’t tapped into it yet.
Colossians 1:9-14 (NLT)
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
We have everything we need to live a prosperous life. We no longer belong to this world so are not limited to natural outcomes, but have been transferred to the Kingdom of God which is the realm of hope where faith makes all things possible for those who believe. We must stop looking around and look at Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not leave us alone to blindly try to figure this “new life” out and make it work. He gave us His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is inside of us guiding and directing us to prosperity. He encourages us to live a life pleasing to God. As we do, our lives will produce every kind of good fruit. I believe that this prosperity begins in our soul and overflows in our life. We don’t have to struggle to endure and be patient but rather the Lord strengthens us in His Glorious Power so we can do it effortlessly one day. Such a life will learn to rejoice even when we run into problems and trials knowing the fields of our life are about to produce a larger more plentiful harvest because we will wait patiently for Him to make it all work together for our good just as He promised. (Romans 8:28) This happens in baby steps because leaps of faith are just too far for our weak and impatient human frame. We have an inheritance. Our prosperity was never in question. But if we keep leaving the fields of our life untended, they will be compromised. The thief is looking for a way to steal, kill and destroy us. (John 10:10) But Jesus Christ came to give us an abundant life.
2 Thessalonians 3:5-8 (NLT)
May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you.
We can do nothing to earn righteousness as it is given to us by Jesus Christ who immediately sets us right with God when we call His Name by faith. You cannot earn the Lord’s Salvation or His Promises. Religion is the one who tells us that. We are called to the Highway of Holiness to establish deeper intimacy with God. We do this by maintaining righteousness and clinging to Jesus Christ. He is the Light which means we must lose our affection for the darkness and things that are evidence it remains an idol in our life. If it were marked “Easy Street” a whole lot more people might be on it. But it is a narrow road because it requires a separation and consecration of our life to Jesus Christ. Like a marriage, it means that I cannot share my love, trust and intimate life with other people in the same manner that I do with my husband. I can assure I would not in any way tolerate him doing it either. Over the years, we have learned to love and trust each more based on the commitment that we have formed and established that has endured hardship, trials and more. Patient endurance develops strength of character because it is the glue that holds it all together. I am learning to be more patient each and every day. The Lord is teaching me to endure. What does that mean? He is increasing my patience because He knows that I do not know how. He does this by increasing wait times to stretch my patience. He is teaching me to rely on my faith and confident hope permanently by removing the crutches that I have strategically placed in my life so all that is left is to trust Him more. Endurance means to bear without resistance. I have run out of complaints and arguments in this deeper place because the closer I get to Him the less deserving I become as He begins to prosper me from the inside out. It is this growth spurt that I am beginning to see the tiny sprouts all around me that went unnoticed before and I realize that the grass is getting greener every day that I remain faithful. It’s going to take some work on my part. I cannot just sit around and think that the Lord will do it all. The struggle that I face is to endure. It is a daily struggle especially when my eyes are not looking at what the Lord is doing in my life but focused on everybody else.
Romans 12:12 (NLT) Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
I am reminded of when we bought our first home. We didn’t have a lot of money so the real estate agent was looking at foreclosed properties and short sales for us. She sent us a picture of a cute little house. It even had a nice row of flowers planted across the front making so inviting as the sun shown down on it so we quickly drove over to take a look. As we got out of the car and moved closer, I realized that the flowerbed was filled with artificial flowers. When we got to go inside the house, it was abused by its previous owners and definitely needed some deep cleaning and repairs. Too many times we stop looking at Jesus Christ and start looking at other people in vain, because if we got past the “greener grass” that they portray it may only yield artificial an appearance and a broken inside. Why risk it? God planted you where you are because He is perfecting your life and all that concerns you so stick it out by faith. You have faith in your heart so use it to find confident hope and become immovable. Invest the time and energy into your own field and stop worrying about everyone else. When we saw the little house, the Holy Spirit gave me peace that this would be our home. It took a great deal of work to make it inhabitable but we rolled up our sleeves and did it. It became our home and we prospered in it. When it was time to move, our hard work paid off more than double our investment. It’s little life lessons like this that God allows to happen so we can learn to be patient and endure. Rejoice and be confident in hope today. Your faith in God will work for you and it will yield a return if you do not give up until your grass is greener!
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.