Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. (Proverbs 16:20)
Norman Vincent Peale told us, "It is always too early to quit." Most of us want to 'prosper' - not just have prosperity. We want to have things 'go well' in our lives, without too much resistance involved. People who want to 'prosper' are not quitters. They find a way, maybe one that was not even considered in the beginning, but one they come to see as opening up before them. We might want to open a few doors ourselves, but until we learn to listen to God about which ones we are to open, we might just find ourselves opening a few that should have remained tightly closed.
We have already said some consider 'prospering' as coming into a patch of good fortune - amassing something of 'value' that one thinks of as 'prosperity'. I think God has a different type of 'prosperity' in mind for us than amassing things or finances. He wants us to thrive - to actually flourish in his ways. The opposite of this idea is that of failing. One moves toward the good, the other toward a position we would not really want to assume. God gives us the key to prosperity - listening to his instruction, then trusting him fully with our lives.
I might talk a lot about obedience, but that is only because I know how hard it can be to actually take steps toward obedience in my own life. Trust me on this one - I want to flourish, but sometimes I put myself in situations where the conditions for thriving are just not ever going to be met! This is where God's grace comes in. He knows where we are struggling, and he provides the necessary instruction, encouragement, and faith to help us move forward. I think that might just be how we prosper - we recognize our choices are a bit 'weak' and we allow God to 'firm them up'.
To flourish, one needs the right conditions. We are all capable of starting out well, but when the conditions aren't favorable for our growth or development, what then? If we are wise, we'd turn to the one who knows how we 'prosper' even when the conditions might throw us a curveball. Just sayin!
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