Flourishing is our word this year. It’s a beautiful word. But there is nothing automatic about it. In order to flourish, you must wrestle with forces that would prevent you from growing, from thriving, from being fruitful.

Numbers 13 records the response of the Israelites as they heard the scouting report of the Promised Land. Their future home was the antithesis of the wilderness. It was fruitful, there was plenty, and they would be able to settle down in a land of “milk and honey.” But there was one caveat: They would face giants. In order to possess the land, they would need to dispossess powerful people who lived in walled cities.

In order for you to possess what God has promised, you must also dispossess your foes. You must take down strongholds. No fight? No flourish.  

The Israelites were no strangers to harsh conditions. After all, they were slaves. Even their exodus was spent trekking through the wilderness, where they faced lack of water, food, and the occasional attack. But YHWH was their source. YHWH sustained them…YHWH led them…fought for them. That was not going to change.

Neither was Israel’s post-emancipation attitude. They complained, they grumbled. Even cried out for a change of leadership. Not once do we read, “and the people of the Lord gave thanks for their freedom.” Instead, their favorite line was: “We wanna go back to Egypt”.  Seriously?

So when the majority of the spies focused on the fight, it made the notion of flourishing a non-sequitur. We can’t do this…our enemies will devour us…we are going to die. And die they did, not from the giants, but from wandering in the wilderness; one year for every day spent spurning the faith-filled minority scouting report from Joshua and Caleb who said: “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! … Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 

 What stands in way of flourishing for you? Is it pride? Is it fear or doubt? Is it rebellion against those that are over you? Is it an ungrateful disposition? Is it the belief that what you had was better than what you will have? I don’t know. What I do know is this: We don’t live beyond what we believe. Want to flourish? Get your fight on!