This month, we will be focused on learning how to have a thriving relationship with God. To lead us through this incredibly important topic, we’ve asked Shae Bynes to share her wisdom with us through this blog and 4word’s podcast, Work, Love, Pray (you can listen to Shae below!). As an entrepreneur, Shae knows what it takes to make waves as a professional Christian woman, but as a Christian author and 4word woman, she knows that in order to succeed, we need to have the right foundation beneath us. Join us this month as we learn from Shae about how to grow closer to our Lord and impact our communities as a result.
You can listen to this entire conversation with Shae on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.
What does a thriving relationship with God look like?
I think about the word thrive and I think “flourishing.” Thriving is producing, which to me means fruitfulness. The fruitfulness should be the evidence of a thriving relationship with God, and that evidence is not just within my own life but also within the lives of those in my sphere of influence. There should be fruitfulness that comes from me that actually impacts other people. If I’m seeing continuous growth in an area, and I’m seeing not only myself flourish but also those around me, then that’s thriving. However, “thriving” is not a destination point—it’s an ongoing progress. It’s a journey from glory to glory, from faith to faith, from strength to strength.
Are there clues that indicate your relationship with God might not be thriving like it should?
Once you’ve experienced what it feels like to move forward, then you can see the signs of when that progress stops. Just like there’s fruit in a positive direction in our lives, there’s also fruit that can go in a negative direction. That’s not to say that, if we’re thriving with God, we don’t have challenges, but how are we dealing with the challenges? What is the fruit of our response and reaction? If you’re not seeing evidence that “good fruit” is happening, that can be a sign that there are some things going on in your mind and heart that you’ve got to be honest with the Lord about so you can begin to work toward “good fruit” happening.
What are some of those “negative fruits?”
Think about the fruits of the Spirit, and then think about the opposites of each of those fruits. An example of negative fruit in my life would be like this: I’m doing really great in my work, but at home, I’m really lacking patience. When we take a moment to evaluate how we show up and how we respond, we can start to see the areas that the Lord might want to work through with us. I wholeheartedly believe in actually seeking God’s heart by asking Him, “What are your thoughts, Lord? I’m struggling with this.”
I don’t believe in trying to do professional development in our own strength. I feel like the Holy Spirit is there to lead and guide us, so we don’t have to figure all these things out on our own. Part of our relationship with the Lord is the ability to take things before Him, put them at His feet, and get His mind and heart concerning them. Through Him, we then have empowering grace to move forward and grow.
How do you keep yourself from being negatively influenced by others in your life whose relationship with God is not where it should be?
When it comes to relationships with others, I ask the Lord to give me His mind and His heart concerning that person. Then I can engage with that person in a way that’s aligned with His perspective as opposed to mine. When I see a particular situation, I might try to come up with a resolution on my own, but if I seek God concerning what’s going on with that person, He’ll give insight that I don’t have. He can even give me strategy on how to have difficult conversations with people! We really can seek the Lord’s heart concerning how we impact or influence those around us.
Does not having a thriving relationship with God mean you’re failing as a Christian?
Here’s how I see it: I didn’t start the relationship with thriving; I started with cultivating. If you think about the word “thriving,” it means you already have some momentum and a positive path. But if you think about cultivating, that’s more in line with how our relationships are a lot of the time. It started with cultivating relationship, which meant spending time with Him and not just having one-way conversations but actual dialogue. If you’re not thriving, it doesn’t mean that you’re not moving forward; you could just be in the space of cultivating. But at the same time, if you’re not cultivating, then that means you’re missing out.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you keep my commandments.” He also says, “abide in me.” So if we’re not doing any of that at all, and we’re just kind of living life and doing our own things, we’re missing out on the reality of what life is like in Christ. That wouldn’t be progressive! I feel like you can be in one of four places: cultivating, ignoring, oblivious or thriving. If you are in a place where you’re kind of oblivious, then the invitation that you have from the Lord is “If you’re going to be My disciple, then you actually have to walk with Me.” That’s what a healthy relationship with God looks like.
Shae Bynes is a passionate storyteller, mentor, and strategist who equips leaders to be catalysts for transformation in the marketplace.
Known as “Chief Fire Igniter”, she has reached over one million aspiring and current entrepreneurs around the globe through her devotionals, books, courses, podcasts, and more. Her teaching and mentoring provide inspiration and practical strategies for doing business in partnership with God for greater Kingdom influence and impact.
Shae co-founded the Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur movement in 2012 and her most popular book Grace Over Grind: How Grace Will Take Your Business Where Grinding Can’t is shifting the way people live, work, and engage the world around them. Whether she is sharing on platforms publicly or consulting privately, you can expect Shae to deliver an abundance of truth with love, grace, and contagious joy.
Shae holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida and University of Florida respectively.
Shae has been married to her husband Phil for 23 years and is mom to three beautiful daughters. She has a healthy addiction to sunshine and water and calls the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area her home.