Theology 101

"Failure to Thrive": Six Quotes from Dr. Steven Graves for Deepening Your Understanding of Biblical Flourishing

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Dr. Steven R. Graves has a new book out on biblical flourishing, entitled Flourishing: Why Some People Thrive and Others Just Survive.

One of the central questions Graves seeks to answer is why so many Christians have “a failure to thrive.” In answering that question, he details practical elements Christians need in their lives in order to flourish as God desires. Among these elements are a right view of happiness, wisdom, and a long-term view of our actions and beliefs.

There are other elements, too, and many ideas in the book to ponder. Here are six quotes from Flourishing for deepening your understanding of biblical flourishing.

On Our “Failure to Thrive”

“Pediatricians use the term “failure to thrive” for young children who aren’t gaining weight as they should. I believe that many adults have their own kinds of failure to thrive. They’re existing. They’re getting by. Their lives are certainly not a complete waste. But at the same time, they aren’t really thriving either…they aren’t flourishing.”

On the Template for Flourishing

“There is no flourishing template. What works well for one person might be a disaster for another. And, although it eludes many believers for their entire journey, God is not some automated dispenser that we direct with our inputs, where we insert our intent or activities and He responds with the suitable outcomes. That’s just not how it works.”

On Wrong Definitions of Flourishing

“One reason we fail to flourish is because we allow the true meaning of the word to be hijacked by a shallow substitute. We equate flourishing with selfish material acquisition – buying junk and thinking it will make us happy. We trade true wisdom for lax short-term thinking. And we allow immediate pleasures to rob us off deep, enduring love.”

On the Importance of Roots for Flourishing

“Just like the roots of a plant, our roots, made up of things like faith and integrity, love and respect, will grow and become strong only when we remain vigilant to cultivate them…. They are strengthened over time, fed by the nutrients of experience, and cultivated by the wisdom of others.”

On Taking a Long-Term View of Cultivating Flourishing

“Speed and immediacy, though, simply do not contribute to a positively flourishing life. We flourish not when we run breathlessly from task to task, but rather when we find ourselves at rest within time. In order to flourish we must maintain a proper view of what lies before us as well as considering the affect our lives have on what collects behind us.”

On What Flourishing Might Look Like

“A thriving tree gives us a symbol of what a flourishing life might look like: well-established, strong, constantly growing, enduring through seasons of life, and giving to others.”

What to learn more about flourishing? Check out IFWE’s latest video on biblical flourishing

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