The Rule of Increase

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You have a God-given ability to grow things with your attitudes, actions, and words.

God is not stagnant or complacent. That’s a pretty consistent theme throughout his Word, but anyone acquainted with him knows from experience this is true. “Of the increase of his government . . . there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). Virtually everything he touches grows.

God seems to have shared this attribute with us too, at least to some degree. Whatever we touch, figuratively speaking, seems to grow.

For example:

* When you focus on how stressed you are and obsess about all the things that stress you out, those things get larger and larger in your own mind—and often in your experience.

* When you nurse your offenses and let conflicts replay in your mind again and again, those conflicts increase. They get worse.

* When you focus on disappointments, lack, and deficiencies, those conditions seem to grow deeper and deeper.

* If you want to nurture pain, disappointment, and offenses, you can do that. But they will grow over time until they overwhelm you. I’ve been that route many times, and I don’t recommend it.

* On the other hand:

* When you intentionally notice all the miracles around you, miracles seem to increase.

* When you are extravagant with your thankfulness over answered prayers, you find that more prayers are answered.

* When you find something good in a difficult situation or relationship and zoom in on that, it begins to grow and the difficulties begin to shrink.

* The examples go on and on, but you get the point. Whatever you focus on—whether your problems and pain or goodness and gratitude—tends to get bigger. Whatever you nurture grows.

That has huge implications for our lives. We experience the beauty and truth we were created to experience when we zoom in on beauty and truth. Whatever we affirm with our attitudes, words, and actions becomes solid and sure.

Whoever has will be given more

Jesus told a parable that pointed toward this truth. A property owner went on a journey and left his possessions with three stewards. Two of them invested, nurtured, even risked what they were given, and they produced an increase. The third simply tried to hang on, to preserve what he was given, and he lost nothing and gained nothing. The owner came back and praised the investors, but he rebuked the preserver. And he made this powerful statement:

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:29)

This parable applies to talents and spiritual gifts, of course, but it isn’t unreasonable to apply it to other blessings in our lives too. We have to be nurturers and investors of whatever is good and true in our lives and bury the rest. That determines what we’re given more of and what is taken away.

This is why scripture so emphatically tells us to praise, worship, dance, celebrate, give thanks, and fix our minds on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. It is constantly turning our attention away from worthless things—including fruitless attitudes like bitterness, anger, and discouragement—and turning them toward God and his blessings.

I’m not saying, of course, that you can get to a place where bad things don’t happen. I’m saying you can get to a place where bad things can’t get a foothold in your life and devastate you. And you can get to a place where you’re cultivating the right things, no matter what else is going on.

So if you have a God-given ability to grow things with your attitudes, actions, and words, here’s the question:

What do you want more of in your life? What do you want to grow?

No matter how tough things are, no matter how things look from your current perspective, no matter what obstacles you face in any circumstance or relationship, find the good that God has imbedded in it, no matter how small or insignificant it seems to be. Then celebrate it relentlessly. Latch on to it and praise God extravagantly for it. And watch it grow.

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