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“How do you thrive?”

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

I recently updated my iPhone operating system to iOS 16. Right after I did so, the operating system was wreaking havoc on my phone battery. Something was definitely not right. Something was not working. My phone was not operating correctly.

Do you ever feel like in life that perhaps you are not operating correctly? Do you feel like something is broken? Do you feel like something is not quite right?

When I had a problem with my phone, I jumped on Google to see if I could find a solution. I think I may have found it but I’m not sure.

What if I told you that I found a solution for how to fix what’s not right in your life? What if I told you that I found a solution to fix what’s not right in this world? What if I told you that I found out how you can thrive?

Today’s message is entitled, “How do you thrive?”

So, let’s learn how you thrive and let’s learn how I thrive. Before we do, let’s go to the Lord in prayer.


As we look at how you can thrive, we’re going to learn about four realities that you must realize in order to thrive.

First, you must . . .

I. Understand your purpose.

I’m going to get right to it: your purpose is to know God and enjoy Him. That’s why you were put on this earth.

God created you and has a purpose for your life.

God’s Word, the Bible, tells us in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.”

God not only created you, He created you in His image. You are special among all the rest of creation because God created you to be special.

When God began to give instructions for how the people of the earth should live their lives we learn that He gave this very important command, which Jesus would later say was the most important command. God said in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

So, we are on this earth to love God with everything that we have. That is part of our purpose in life.

Not only are we to love God with everything but we are also to glorify Him with everything.

A man who was radically changed by Jesus, the apostle Paul, said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

To glorify God means to acknowledge and celebrate God for who He is and what He has done; it means we celebrate the Godness of God.

We were also created to delight in God.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

So, not only are we to take joy in God but we are designed by God to be blessed when we take joy in Him.

So, here’s what we learn from the Bible. God created us to love Him, glorify Him, and delight in Him.

God’s design for you, or we might say your purpose, is to love God, glorify God, and delight in God; and when you fulfill this purpose in your life you will thrive!

So, first, we must understand God’s purpose.

Second, you must . . .

II. Understand your predicament.

We have a big problem. Here it is: when it comes to what we can do by our own ability, none of us are able to fulfill our purpose in life.

Why? Why have we not fulfilled our purpose? Why are we unable to fulfill our purpose? You see God has a design for us but we have all rejected God’s design.

Rather than love God with all that we have, we have loved other things.

We have loved ourselves, we have loved others more than God, we have loved things, we have loved evil, and we have loved many other things rather than love God and more than we love God.

Rather than glorify God in all that we have, we have glorified other things.

We have tried to glorify ourselves, we have glorified celebrities, we have glorified politicians, we have glorified athletes, we have glorified pastors, we have gloried many other people rather than glorify God and more than we have glorified God.

Rather than delight ourselves in God, we have delighted ourselves in other things.

We have delighted in material wealth, we have delighted in slumber or laziness, we have delighted in entertainment, we have delighted in fame and notoriety, we have delighted in addictions, we have delighted in sexual pleasures, we have delighted in achievement, we have delighted in many other things rather than delight in God and more than we have delighted in God.

The Bible has a word to describe what this is and I’m sure you’ve heard it before. When we reject God’s ways in favor of our own, the Bible calls this sin.

Here’s the predicament: do you know what sin leads to? Sin leads to death.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.”

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death . . .”

This death that the Bible speaks of is terrible. Physical death came into the world because sin came into the world. However, the death that sin brings is not merely a physical death.

Our sin will also lead to a spiritual death that will separate us from God forever.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom?”

There is much more after this life on earth. There is either eternal punishment in a real place called hell or there is eternal reward in God’s kingdom, a place called heaven.

The Bible says, because of our sin we will not inherit God’s kingdom.

Jesus Himself pointed out that this spiritual death is worse than physical death. He said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Sin is terrible. It will destroy us and our world, both physically and spiritually.

This is quite the predicament that we are in, isn’t it?

Well, how many of us are in this predicament? Perhaps some of us are good enough to escape this problem. What does God say about the situation?

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

All of us have rejected God’s ways. All of us have rejected our purpose. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. What a predicament!

Well, what are we to do? That brings us to our next point.

You must . . .

III. Understand your possibilities.

I don’t know about you but I pride myself on being able to figure things out. That’s how I was raised. Don’t give up. Word hard. Be persistent. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

So, one of our possibilities is to try and rescue ourselves from this predicament.

Well, here’s what God thinks about our attempts to rescue ourselves by being righteous through our own efforts.

God says through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”

Speaking about those who did successfully receive a rescue from the curse of sin, Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9 “8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Well, here’s the reality: the best we have to offer God to pay for our sins is like filthy rags (or a polluted garment). We can’t work our way out of this predicament. We can’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps because our bootstraps are broken right off and we’ve worn the soles out of our boots.

So, one possibility that you have is to try as hard as you can to fix the predicament that you have. However, you will not succeed. You will not find life on your own. You will not thrive on your own.

Well, that’s not a good alternative, so is there another possibility? Indeed, there is.

The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God brought a second possibility for us: believe in Jesus, God’s son, and rather than receiving death we will receive life . . . everlasting life.

You see the payment for sin is death and Jesus paid the death penalty for us by dying on the cross, rising from the dead, living again, and bringing life to all those who would believe in Him.

So, one possibility is to try as hard as you can but you’re never going to be good enough for God by fixing yourself. I’m never going to be good enough for God by fixing myself. We need some help.

Peter teaches us in 1 Peter 3:18 that Jesus helped us. He says, “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.”

So, try on your own or let Jesus do the work for you.

As Romans 10:13 teaches us, Just call upon Jesus. The verse says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

So, call upon the name of Jesus and be saved. Call upon the name of Jesus and be made new. Call upon the name of Jesus and receive life.

God has made it possible for you to thrive because of Jesus. Understand your possibilities.

Finally, . . .

IV. Understand your purpose.

You might say, “Wait a minute . . . I thought we already covered that.” Well, we did . . . sort of.

You see our purpose in life was lost because of our sin. However, in Jesus, we can recover that purpose. In Jesus, we can thrive once again.

Jesus said in John 10:10, “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

God wants us to thrive and He has made it possible when we are in Jesus.

Paul says in Romans 6:4 “ . . . just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.”

Also, in Romans 12:2, Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . ”

So, in Jesus, there is a newness to our lives. We are seeking to recover and pursue that which God created us for in the very beginning.

In Jesus, we are made new; we are transformed. We don’t have to live in the predicament any longer. We can live out the purpose God has given us now on the earth and in eternity as well.

We don’t have to be led by anger, we can be led by gentleness. We don’t have to live in addiction, we can live in freedom. We don’t have to be burdened by bitterness, we can live in peace. We don’t have to be selfish, we can be generous. We don’t need to be critical, we can be encouraging. We don’t have to be cruel, we can be caring. We don’t have to be dishonest, we can be people of truth. We don’t have to be filled with hate, we can be filled with the powerful love of God.

In Jesus we can be new, in Jesus we can be alive, in Jesus, we can thrive.

Listen to this bottom line:

Bottom Line: You can thrive by living out God’s design for you.

God created you to love Him. God created you to glorify Him. God created you to delight in Him. In Jesus, you can do all those things.

In Jesus, you discover that you can find all your joy in God and the things of this world will begin to be less and less important.

You know, people are looking for something that will help them thrive. People are looking for meaning in life.

When Americans were asked “what gives you meaning?” here’s how they responded:

69% said their family provided meaning.

34% said their career provided meaning.

23% said money provided meaning.

20% said their faith provided meaning.

19% said their friends provided meaning.

16% said their health provided meaning.

People are searching for meaning in life. However, there’s only one thing that can really make you thrive: a relationship with your Creator that is found in Jesus Christ.

(Gospel presentation)

Understand your purpose

Understand your predicament

Understand your possibilities

Understand your purpose

(closing prayer)

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