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God Doesn’t Want You to Survive 2024

God Doesn’t Want You to Survive 2024

I kill plants. Seriously. I don’t mean too, but I do. I research. I learn what it takes for a particular plant to grow and flourish and be healthy. 

And then I kill it.  

Sometimes it’s a slow process; sometimes it’s fast. There are rare occasions where the plant lives. But in those instances, the plant is not thriving. It barely hangs on. Limp and frail, alive and surviving, but most definitely not thriving. 

The difference between surviving and thriving in a plant is vast. Just by how it looks you can tell if it’s doing well. If the plant is thriving, it looks strong; the colors are often more vibrant, and it looks “full” and “lush.” A plant that’s just surviving is not like that. Limp and pale in comparison, the plant doesn’t appear strong, and its colors are typically muted. If it’s a fruit-bearing plant and just surviving, the fruit is either non-existent or small and not nearly as “tasty.”

I’ve got a little secret for you: God doesn’t just want you to survive the year 2024. He wants you to thrive. But He’s concerned with a particular kind of thriving.

"I've got a little secret for you: God doesn't just want you to survive the year 2024. He wants you to thrive. But He's concerned with a particular kind of thriving." -@jerome_stockert #collegiatedisciplemaker God Doesn’t Want You… Click To Tweet

Thriving Spiritually

God’s definition of thriving doesn’t necessitate straight A’s, a brand new car, a challenge-free year, a promotion at work, being comfortable, or having abundant finances. In fact, sometimes His version of thriving requires the opposite.

What God wants is for us to thrive in our relationship with Him. Not just survive or merely exist, but thrive! He desires us to be spiritually healthy and nourished, not anemic or malnourished as so many of us are. 

“What God wants is for us to thrive in our relationship with Him. Not just survive or merely exist, but thrive!”

Jerome Stockert

John10:10 puts it like this, 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

These words and the words following lay out two statements that should attract our attention. First, through Jesus we can, for the first time, experience true life; secondly, together with this true life we receive the things we need to thrive abundantly. Jesus, and Jesus alone, brings life and nourishment! Jesus, and Jesus alone, provides the things we need to thrive!

How Jesus Thrived Spiritually

When we look at the life of Jesus, we see glimpses of what it looks like to thrive spiritually. There are two spots in Scripture that speak of Jesus in this manner succinctly:

  1. Luke 2:40 – And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
  2. Luke 2:25 – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Both instances here are recorded by Luke, who wrote after having carefully investigated all the facts about Christ. He says so himself. Luke gives the fullest account of Christ’s birth, and only Luke records the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Luke, a colleague of Paul, probably wrote this account in the early 60s a.d. Luke was also a physician, so he had particular insight into the concept of health that his colleagues didn’t.

The idea we see in both verses is that Jesus thrived, mentally physically, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. His heavenly Father and others recognized that.

How We Can Thrive Spiritually

These two verses don’t give specific prescription for how Jesus grew, becoming strong and wise in spirit, mind, and body. But Scripture as a whole paints a picture for us of what things we need to be about in order to keep ourselves spiritually nourished and thriving. Deciding to be about these things in 2024 might be the best decision you could make for your year.

A Posture of Growth

First and foremost, we must have a posture of growth. This means several things. It means we are self-aware. We understand our strengths and weaknesses. And we have a humble and teachable spirit. Proverbs 19:20 says it like this, 

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” 

2 Peter 3:18 says, 

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

A Plan and Priority for Growth

Secondly, we must prioritize areas of growth and have a plan for how to implement these priorities. I encourage students to take their self-assessment results and develop a plan. I give them a few reminders for direction:

  • Keep strong what is strong and work on the weak areas. 
  • Be conscious of all areas. 
  • Seek to be well rounded and balanced. 

Notice that Jesus grew mentally (wisdom), physically (stature), socially (favor with others) and spiritually (favor with God). Paul speaks to this kind of disciplined focus in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, saying,

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

And in Hebrews 12:1-2, 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”. 

Practical Steps for Growth

To grow spiritually there are some practical steps we can be about: 

  1. Put yourself in places where you will grow. A local biblical church. A small group. And spend time in the Bible and in prayer. 
  2. Surround yourself with people that will help you to grow. Pick your close friends carefully. And ask yourself, and be honest, “Who’s pouring into you?” if no one, find someone.
  3. Follow Jesus’s process. He asked a lot of questions and He listened. What questions do you need to be asking?  Who do you need to be listening to?

Striving for Thriving

God wants us to be spiritually healthy. He wants us to thrive. Hear that. He wants you to thrive.

He provides everything we need for nourishment. But it doesn’t happen by accident. The kind of spiritual growth that leads to thriving happens as we submit ourselves to Him, actively striving and participating with the Spirit in our sanctification process as His power works through us. 

As we adopt a posture of growth, plan for our growth, and take practical steps toward that growth, we can be confident that He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1:6). 

So let’s raise our glasses to striving for spiritual thriving in 2024!




Equipping You to Make Disciples of Collegians & Young Adults

The Collegiate DiscipleMaker is an online publication providing practical encouragement and disciplemaking tools to those making disciples among college students and young adults. Our weekly articles are theologically rich, biblically grounded, pragmatically applicable, and college ministry oriented.

Our Team

We are people just like you— campus missionaries, ministry wives, young adult pastors, and more—who simply have a passion to make Gen Z disciples on college campuses and beyond.


Austin Pfrimmer (Campus Missionary)

Christina Boatright (Campus Missionary)

Paul Damery (Campus Missionary)

Reese Hammond (Campus Missionary)

Jon Smith (Campus Missionary)

Jerome Stockert (Campus Missionary) 

Karin Yarnell (College Ministry Wife)

Editor in Chief:

Britney Lyn Hamm (College Ministry Wife)