For some, a new season can be a scary proposition, for others, it is an exciting opportunity filled with possibilities and potential. For those in the second category a new season in our lives awakens the visionary within! We are ready to start fresh, leave the old behind with its highs and lows, its struggles and sorrows, and embrace the new. Forward thinking, plans for upward movement, and dramatic resolutions can be found on our refrigerators and on our smartphones “to do” list; “more of this, less of that”; 10 things I’m adding, 5 things I’m leaving behind.
I’ll admit it. I’m in the second category. And I typically take this approach as the year winds down to seek God and discover my focused assignment for the next year. Often it comes to me in a word or phrase. I remember one year it was the “Year of the River”. It was amazing. I preached all over the nation about the River of God. Countless people were blessed by God’s River of refreshing. Another year I felt led to focus on the Cross of Christ, “The Year of The Cross”. We launched a preaching tour called the “Incomparable Christ Ministry Tour” where I preached every Sunday morning on the Power of the Cross. Many were saved and had their lives transformed that year.
This year was no different. As I asked the Lord for direction, I clearly heard in my spirit, “This is the Year to Grow”. As a matter of fact, it was specifically, “Let Go and Grow!” As I began to meditate on this phrase and look to Scripture, it came clearly into focus. God wants His people to grow! The concept of growing in the ways and the will of the Lord is all over the place in the Scripture. God equates success to growth!
When God thinks about His people, He generally thinks in agricultural terms. He calls Israel a grape vine, a fig tree, and an olive tree. The Scripture describes the righteous as a tree planted by channels of water. Jesus said the Kingdom is like a sower who went forth to sow. The Word of God is called the incorruptible seed. Jesus is called the seed to whom the promise was made by the Apostle Paul. Jesus calls himself a seed that must be planted through death. He also says in John 15, “I am the vine and you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing.”
THE WAY GOD THINKS OF SUCCESS:
When God thinks of success, He thinks of growth and fruitfulness. He seldom thinks opportunity; He thinks development. He thinks, plant a seed (faith), water the seed, pull the weeds (service), grow a crop and harvest the fruit (reward) and then repeat!
God’s idea of success is simple. Sow, harvest, and repeat. When God thinks of action and success, He normally thinks in terms of process, a process called fruitfulness. It begins with a seed that must be sown and leads to harvest, it begins with sacrifice and ends with multiplication. God doesn’t think of you having a success, He thinks of you being a success!
The first man created (Adam) and the family commissioned to repopulate the earth after the flood heard God say the same thing, “Be fruitful and multiply.” In God’s mind your life is more like a seed to be planted than a door to be opened.
I have a word for you, and honestly, it is transcendent of any particular time of the year or season. The word is a phrase; Let go and grow!
Psalms 1:1-3 gives us an amazing biblical picture of God’s perspective with all of this. It says,
“Blessed [is] the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
Let Me Coach You
This Psalms passage is a great coaching passage. It really gives a simple guideline for success for the believer. I’m a coach so I like verses that give us guidance, letting us know what not to do and what to do. Let me share some ideas from this passage that might help you find your way this year.
1. What is the “counsel of the ungodly”?
It is the plans, opinions, and purposes of the wicked (godless). This phrase speaks of associations and influences. We tend to move toward the people and things that inspire us. The coaching take-away? Watch your influences and your associations. Ideas are contagious. To use a relationship metaphor, I used to tell our children when they became of age to date, “be careful who you date, because you can’t help who you fall in love with”.
2. What does “stands in the path of sinners”, mean?
It speaks of the patterns and practices of sinners. Being friends to sinners is different from living in their patterns and practices, walking in their way of life. Jesus was a friend to sinners, but the Scripture is clear, we must not walk like the gentiles who walk in the futility of their minds, with a darkened understanding which alienates us from the life of God. Ephesians 4:17&18.
3. To “sit in the seat of the scornful” speaks of attitudes.
Your attitude is about 90% of your success in life. Attitudes are also contagious. They will rub-off on you. Your attitude makes you attractive or repulsive to people around you.
Together these three things will largely determine your success this year, or any year for that matter. Your influences, your patterns and practices, and your attitudes will determine your destiny.
The writer of this passage, after telling us what not to do, gives us clear and amazing advice as to what we should do. SEEK GOD! He’s the source of everything! Seek Him in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Study His word. Meditate on God and the things of God and get ready to grow! The first step in growing in your walk with Him is decreasing in your focus on yourself.
Let me wrap this up with two coaching suggestions for this season harmonized with what God is saying.
COACHING SUGGESTION #1:
Keys to spiritual growth:
Beware of the deception of pride and self-reliance. Seek to be less self-conscious and become more God-aware.
Pride is content to either lift you up through self confidence or to tear you down with low self-esteem, as long as you remain the central focus of your attention.
Being simply a part of the vine, being obedient to simply sow a seed, reduces my sense of significance and importance in the process. It is a humbling realization. Pride is the death of growth. To grow in the Lord you must agree that without His life force working in you, you can accomplish nothing! Period! Pride resists the existential sustenance that God provides and seeks to rely on self. Humility invites God’s nurturing and leadership.
So, make up your mind that you are going to stay connected and experience the benefits of God’s promise to grow you toward prosperity. Notice what the Scripture declares: He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
My wife, Cathy, and I have determined that while we may not be sure what this season will hold, the challenges we’ll face, or the accomplishments we’ll achieve, we are going to be bigger next year than this year! We are going to be stronger this year than last year! And we are going to be more of a force for Christ this year than ever before!
And it’s Christ in you that makes it possible. Remember that if you are a believer and Christ dwells in you, then the creative force that created the universe and the authority that holds it together is living inside of you! It’s all inside! Waiting for you to access that creativity and power through faith and relationship.
COACHING SUGGESTION #2:
You must let go of the past…
A new word for a new season begins with getting over the stuff you went through in the last season and before. To get a hold of this, you have to let go of that!
Stop thinking about what you’re not, who you aren’t and what you wish you had, and start determining to grow toward the person God wants you to be. That’s who you want to be, who God wants you to be! That’s what you really want! That’s what will make you happy, that is what will satisfy! You think more money will do the trick? More stuff? Another relationship? Or, do you wish for some miraculous way to make a better version of a broken you? No, not going to work. But I’ll tell you what will! GROWING in Christ! And letting Christ grow in you! Grow!
So, let me make it plain and simple…
How about distilling all those long lists of good intentions that we struggle to keep, down to one main focus that overlaps every area of your life? Let GO and GROW!
Make up your mind, you’re getting bigger, you’re getting larger! You’re going farther, you’re getting stronger! You may not be where you want to be, but you are not going to stay what you are, where you are!
Determine these three things this year:
1. Grow in your Faith (a faith that hasn’t been tested can’t be trusted).
2. Grow in your commitment (make a decision that no one can out commit you) Commit to serve, to get involved, get up and get out there, work hard, volunteer, make a difference!
3. Grow in your giving, time, talent and treasure (giving consistently makes the list of ‘must dos’ for the most successful people in the world.)
I believe this year there is a special anointing, a particular appointment for growth in your life as a believer, and specifically as a part of the Destiny family. So, let go and grow! Make a fresh commitment to become! You might not be all you want to be right now but you don’t have to be what you are this time next year! Stop waiting for your big break and decide that your big break came when you got saved and became a child of God! This year can be your best year ever! It’s not up to chance, it’s up to you! God has already made up His mind!