I'd shared with my son the American Cancer Society's definition of who is a cancer survivor. They say that once you are diagnosed with cancer you become a survivor because you go into survivor mode. This is an important state of mind to be in. While you will deal with numbness, shock, and what I call melt-down moments, overall you are plotting and planning your course of action. What do you need to beat this thing. While it might overtake you eventually, you are going to do your utmost to keep it at bay as long as possible. While not all cancer survivors will live long lives by any means, you are more likely survive longer if you're in survivor mode.
While this is all well and good, my son said something about it being one thing to survive and another thing to thrive. I can't remember his exact words so I won't even try to quote him. However, his words got me to thinking. While surviving is good, thriving is even better.
I'm currently reading the book "Secret Believers" by Brother Andrew In this book, he relays a conversation he had with some pastors who had congregations in Muslim countries. At that time he was told the churches were there but they were struggling and just barely surviving. There was no growth, limited fellowship and the Christians were living in fear. There was little or no evangelism taking place. "We are just surviving."
When these congregations decided that they wanted to more than just survive, amazing things began to happen. People became more bold in their testimony. Yes, they still had fearful circumstances around them. That didn't change but they refused to let those circumstances dominate them. The churches began to grow. Young people came to Christ. Muslim neighbors began to seek them out. They were no longer just surviving, they were thriving!
This got me to thinking When it comes to my Christian life, am I thriving or am I simply surviving? It is not enough to give God token service. Going to church singing three songs, listening to a sermon, saying a mechanical prayer and reading your chapter just so you can say you read your Bible is not going to cause you to thrive. You might survive (maybe) but you certainly will not thrive if you are just going through the motions. Serving God must come from the heart. We obey God because we love him desire to do so, not because he makes us do it. That would be slavery, not sonship or daughtership.
When we survive and thrive we will see God do amazing things in both our lives and the lives of others in the world around us!
*8/18/11--This blog is now part of a series entitled Walking With God In The Midst of Cancer.