Let’s Stretch

Our heavenly Father knows that we need to stretch in order to grow spiritually. So when He speaks, I find that His messages challenge me. Since His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8 NASB), I find that most frequently His messages not only go beyond my natural thought processes, but they also exceed my natural abilities. They make me feel uncomfortable because I know there’s no way I can do what God is asking in my own power.
Do you recall when God called Jeremiah to be His spokesman, the young man protested that the job would be too much for him. “I can’t speak for you!” he protested. I’m too young (Jeremiah 1:6) He was afraid to accept God’s challenging assignment.

In Jeremiah 1:7-8 the Lord replied, and said “You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and I’ll take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah accepted God’s challenge, stepped out in obedience, and proclaimed the words God put in his mouth. He told the people of Judah exactly what would happen to them if they didn’t repent of their sins and turn back to God: The Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem and carry them into captivity.

As a result of his message, the Jews beat Jeremiah and put him in prison, on several occasions. Although Jeremiah was timid, God gave him courage to face persecution, and was used as God’s messenger for more than forty years.
Accepting God’s challenge is often hard for me. It’s often tempting to do the opposite of what God asks simply because it would be easier. But doing the easier thing will never stretch you by forcing you to tap into your divine resources. God wants to help you to grow by allowing you to see what He can do when you admit you can’t.

Throughout the Bible we see many instances of people whom God called from unlikely places asking them to do things that were far beyond their abilities and what they felt equipped to do.

     1. Noah was asked to build an ark.
     2. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son.
     3. Esther was asked to plead the case for her people before the king.
     4. Mary was asked to become the mother of the Messiah.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul talks about his feelings of inadequacy and his experience with how God worked supernaturally through him. Each time he felt ill-equipped to take on the challenge that God was asking of him, God said “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

What is God asking you to do? Is it bigger than you, does it make you feel uncomfortable? Is He asking you to spend time with another woman and encourage growth in her life, is He asking you to evangelize, is He asking you to get up early and spend time in the Word, is He asking you to serve, whatever He’s asking you to do He’ll supply all that you need to accomplish it. Take some time today to stop and ask yourself what has God been asking me to do that requires complete dependence on Him. Then give your fears and inadequacy to the Lord and watch what he does.

Micah E.