Bible Verses about Flourishing

  • Job 14:7-9 ESV
    “For there is hope for a tree,
        if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
        and that its shoots will not cease.
    Though its root grow old in the earth,
        and its stump die in the soil,
    yet at the scent of water it will bud
        and put out branches like a young plant.
  • Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
    Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
    but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
    He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
    that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
    In all that he does, he prospers.
  • Psalm 37:3-6 ESV

    Trust in the Lord, and do good;
        dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
    Delight yourself in the Lord,
        and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    Commit your way to the Lord;
        trust in him, and he will act.
    He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
        and your justice as the noonday.

  • Psalm 37:18-19 NIV
    The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
        and their inheritance will endure forever.
    19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
        in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
  • Psalm 72:16 NKJV
    There will be an abundance of grain in the earth,
    On the top of the mountains;
    Its fruit shall wave like Lebanon;
    And those of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.
  • Psalm 92:12-15 NKJV
    The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
    He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
    13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
    Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
    14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
    They shall be fresh and flourishing,
    15 To declare that the Lord is upright;
    He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
  • Proverbs 11:28 NKJV
    He who trusts in his riches will fall,
    But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
  • Proverbs 14:11 NKJV
    The house of the wicked will be overthrown,
    But the tent of the upright will flourish.
  • Isaiah 35:1-2 ESV
    The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
        the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
    it shall blossom abundantly
        and rejoice with joy and singing.
    The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
        the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
    They shall see the glory of the Lord,
        the majesty of our God.
  • Ezekiel 17:24 ESV
     And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
  • Zechariah 9:16-17 ESV
    On that day the Lord their God will save them,
        as the flock of his people;
    for like the jewels of a crown
        they shall shine on his land.
    17 For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!
        Grain shall make the young men flourish,
        and new wine the young women.

He loved me and Gave Himself for me

“Use your self-control.”

This is one of my favorite takeaways from my son’s preschool teachers this year.  They are so gentle and measured when they say it.

He’s ready to lose it over a near-tragedy—not getting to sit next to his good friend or struggling with the zipper to his backpack because it’s extra full that day.

Their gentle reminder is the same: “Use your self-control.”

I love that it assumes he  has self-control and that he can access it, that somehow this little pause and this little reminder gives him the ability to breathe….reflect….choose.

Meltdown?  Or self-control?

He’s in progress.  He sometimes  chooses meltdown.

Me too.

Fruitfulness is part of the Holy Spirit’s work in us.  It means He is alive, and He is active, and we are yielded to Him.

Paul tells us:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things (Galatians 5:22-23 CSB). 

It’s not a list for me to tackle like some holy agenda.  It is not up to me to manufacture goodness or to self-concoct gentleness or peace.   It takes  a leaning in with the full weight of my fractured soul on the strength and the character of God in me.

May He be at work and may the work-in-progress be me.

May He be the one to cultivate love in me, to stir up joy, to  grow patience, to establish goodness.

May I be the one to learn, to long for the Spirit and to open myself up to the work that He does.  May I be the one to  focus my eyes on Jesus and His own fruitfulness because He is the perfect model of:

Love.
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self-Control

And when I see this fruit in Jesus,  I love Him for it.  I long to be like Him, to let Him shine in my heart, to turn over hardened ground and to till up the soil and to plant the seeds.  Fruitfulness, Lord.  Abundant fruitfulness in my life. 

It seems fitting during Holy Week to consider Jesus and the fruit He bore out on the cross.

Some conflict, some uncertainty, some worry, some stress may bring out the uglies in me.  I’m not always loving, not always peaceful, not always gentle when my kids are picking at each other at the kitchen table and we’re rushing because we need  to be out the door in 8 minutes and I’m still  trying  to cook dinner and give a practice spelling test to  a child.

But Jesus endured all of the pain of the garden, the betrayal, the trial, the beating, the mocking, the condemnation, the cross, the sin and the separation.

And the fruitfulness is still there:  He showed love, joy, peace.  Despite the pain, He was gentle and kind, good and faithful.

He also “used His self-control” by choosing the cross for Himself so He could offer forgiveness to us.  It was, after all, His choice to make.

He wrestled in prayer and made the final declaration on His knees:   “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”

That set His destination.   He would not give into fear or to  the flesh.  He would  choose the cross.

And He chose not to call down angels to rescue Him when the soldiers marched into the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 27:41-42).

With the very power of His voice there  in the Garden, He spoke the words:  I AM.  Then all of the military might fell to the ground, struck down by two  small words spoken by the Messiah.

What an embarrassing mess for them.  They were all geared up, swords and clubs at the ready, and a completely average-looking Jewish teacher said two little words and they landed on their backsides.

They walked out of the Garden with Jesus  as their captive because Jesus chose to be their captive.  Paul says it this way, Jesus “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 CSB).

The author, Selwyn Hughes, reminds me that Paul lists self-control last in the fruit of the Spirit.  It’s not first.  We don’t begin with self-control and then produce all  the other fruit, even though that’s likely what we try to do sometimes.

“I will be more holy. I will be more righteous. I will hate sin more.”

That’s self-righteousness at work.

Instead, Hughes writes that we begin with love—just as Paul lists it in Galatians 5– and “when you begin with love, you end up with self-control.”

Christ’s love covers us and compels us.

Because we are oh-so-loved by a Savior who is oh-so-good and who chose the cross for us,  we delight in Him and in what pleases Him and what pleases Him is the Spirit’s fruit in us.

Why knowing takes so much more

“I’m Andrew Christopher King.”

This is my son’s opening gambit in any conversation.  It’s a quick progression from there into what he considers all of the essential information about his life:

“I’m four.  When it was my birthday, all my friends came to my birthday party.  I’m strong.  I have big muscles.   I am the king  of Batman.  Batman is my favorite character.  I have three sisters.  Their names are Lauren, Catherine and Victoria.  My favorite colors are blue and red.  Lauren’s favorite color is purple and Catherine’s favorite color is yellow.  I am not a baby; I’m a kid.   I’m medium.”

Usually by this time, I’ve moved the conversation along and whatever random fellow-shopper  or cashier he has cornered in the grocery store just smiles sweetly as he finishes his autobiography.

These  listeners  still don’t know him, of course.  He’s the little  boy (the super adorable one) in the shopping cart who likes to talk about superheroes and his sisters.

But to know him, really know him, takes so much more.

This knowing and being known, this sharing deeply and listening well, this uncovering of hidden places, takes,  quite frankly, time.

Oh, how I want  to know Jesus.  That means time and also not being satisfied with the superficial

I let myself get sidetracked sometimes.  It’s so tempting to stop pressing in for more, maybe because of the rush and the speed of things, maybe because everything else and everyone else in life can be noisy and demanding of my attention and time and others need bits of me so much of the time.

So it’s easy, far too easy to relax into knowing about Him, but not to press in more to actually know Him.

I’m a good Christian girl, so I do all the good things:  Stock up on the essential facts and details . Fill up on the Bible knowledge and the Bible stories.  Check off the daily Bible reading plan and fill in the blanks in the Bible study workbook.  Take the sermon notes.

These are all the good things and doing good things is….good.

But there’s got to be more.

Hosea the prophet wrote:

“Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
“He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3 NASB). 

Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.

It’s an effort, a decision, a pushing forward against adversity, a fight for faith, a discipline.  We choose to press on.

We don’t faint when it’s hard or when trouble thrashes at the foundations of our faith.

We don’t falter and trip up with weariness when we’re bogged down by the mundane (and oh how the daily can wear us right down and tire us completely out.)

We aren’t satisfied with what we know of Him already or how far He’s already brought us.

We don’t let sin and temptation grab our attention and set us off on a detour.

We press on to know Him.

And it comes not just from facts and figures, memorization and note-taking . It comes from getting up each day and walking that faith out in all those everyday moments before us.  In the thick of the afternoon busyness and the packing lunches and the cooking dinner, in the chores and in the conversations, in the minivan rides and the coffee with a friend.

It comes from not stalling and stagnating. I

t comes from letting go of all the legalism and stretching out to rest in the fullness of His grace.

It’s not all easy, of course.  There’s the wounding and the tearing sometimes.  Hosea wrote of Israel’s sin and the discipline they received because of it.  But they returned to Him and they knew God better because He stayed with them in the hard season and brought them to the place of healing and bandaging, of reviving and raising up.

Now they knew, truly knew, how steadfast and faithful God was, always there, certain as the dawn, steady as the coming rain.

And this is what the rain of His presence brings:  Refreshing for the dried out, parched, dehydrated parts of our soul.

And also this:  Abundant fruitfulness.

If I’m in the weary place, in the hard season, feeling emptied out, feeling like heaven is silent, then I return to Him.  I press on to know Him and I look for His rain.

 

Dandelions are out; Tulips are in

A confession.

Until we put our house up for sale last year, I can’t say that dandelions ever bothered me very much.

So they were weeds.   So others didn’t like them.   So what?

I barely noticed them.  When the grass got cut, the dandelions got chopped down, too, and that seemed like enough.

When I wanted someone to buy our house, though,  I suddenly felt motivated to keep  my yard weed-free.

That’s when the war started. and I’ve brought the battle from the old house to the new, only this time I refuse to give up any territory.

These dandelions have overrun yards all over my new neighborhood, but not my yard.  Not this time.

I  pop those dandelions out by the root every time I take a walk or get the mail or just  head out the door to  the minivan.

But while I’m warring against the dandelions, I’m also choosing to fight for something else.

The whole time I’m digging out weeds, I’m cultivating tulips, watching over them like a mom does a newborn baby.  I marvel at every single hint of growth. I point out the first sprouts of green to my kids, and I wait expectantly for the first blooms  to appear.

In my old house, I planted tulips nearly every fall because I love their vibrant colors. They didn’t grow, though.  In the 13 years we lived in that house, I probably only had tulips bloom two of those years.

They were eaten. That’s why.   Apparently tulip bulbs are a high-class delicacy to voles, who tunneled all through the yard and snacked on my plants through the winter.

I’m determined, though–determined to keep the dandelions out and determined to keep the tulips in.  So I clicked my way through Google searches to find some tulip- growing remedies.   Then I headed out to the garden with a bag of crushed oyster shells and containers of garlic powder and  chili powder.  I mixed that fragrant little concoction up and dumped  it into the holes before I dropped the tulip bulbs in the soil.

The garden smelled like garlic for at least a week.

Now,  it’s spring. The tulips are about to bloom and I finally see the results of all that effort.

I have fought against and I have fought for.

Maybe that’s what I need to know spiritually, too.  That battling against is fine and well and good, but it’s incomplete if we aren’t also cultivating what is beautiful and right and enduring in its place.

James wrote:

16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense.18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace (James 3:16-18 CSB). 

We dig out envy, pride, and evil.  We grow peace, gentleness, and mercy.

Paul told the Galatians:

 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy,outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar (Galatians 5:19-21 CSB). 

But that’s not the end.  It’s not enough to be rid of the flesh or pull out the sin; we need the Spirit to do a new work within us, and the fruit of the Spirit is:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23 CSB). 

I can deal with sin, take it seriously, talk about sin, focus on sin, try to conquer sin, determine not to sin, read about sin, listen to preachers preach about sin, recognize my sin, and constantly declare that I’m a sinner.

But I’m still missing out.  James moves past that.  Paul moves past that.

It’s fruitfulness they describe and it’s fruitfulness I really want.   I want more than a yard without dandelions.  I want the beauty of the tulips.

And that doesn’t happen if I’m focused on myself, my own efforts,  my own failures.   Fruitfulness requires abiding in Christ, lifting my eyes from my self to my Savior.

That’s when my life begins to bear fruit, His supernatural peace, not just the absence of worry, but a heart that loves peace and pursues peace with others.

That’s when He helps me to love even when it’s hard.  That’s when He grows gentleness, mercy, kindness, and goodness within me.   That’s when I have an abiding joy that isn’t determined by circumstances.   This is the Spirit’s work.

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5 NIV).

 

 

Bible Verses about Fruitfulness

  • Psalm 1:3 NIV
    That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
        which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither—
        whatever they do prospers.
  • Psalm 92:12 NIV
    The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
        they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon
  • Proverbs 11:30 NIV
    The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
        and the one who is wise saves lives.
  • Matthew 3:8 NIV
    Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
  • Matthew 7:16 NIV
     By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
  • Matthew 13:23 NIV
    But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
  • Luke 6:43 NIV
    No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
  • John 12:24 NIV
    Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
  • John 15:4-5 NIV

    Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

  • John 15:16 NIV
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
     But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
  • Ephesians 5:9 NIV
    (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
  • Philippians 1:11 NIV
    filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
  • Colossians 1:9-10 NIV
    For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God
  • James 3:17 NIV
    But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.