Nobody likes to be stretched because there is a tug-of-war of what we should do and what we should not do. We do not like to be stretched because it forces us to make a decision.
We have to understand that if God is stretching a portion of our life, it is best to cooperate with Him because God is up to something important and God knows exactly what He is doing.
God is going to stretch our trust at times because God knows the challenge that is coming around the corner. I want to talk about the ways of God and how important it is to stretch.
Paul talks about a stretching that was like a tug-of-war inside of him.
“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:19-23).
There is going to be a tug-of-war because God is transforming us. He is moving us forward into the likeness of Christ. How is He going to do that? It is going to happen in the stretch. If we stop stretching, we stop growing.
As we get older as Christians, we do not necessarily get more mature as Christians. Growing old is not the same as growing up. God is going to stretch us a little bit and we must constantly keep making decisions to be stretched. There is a purpose to being stretched.
How do we cooperate with God and grow in the stretch?
- Identify with God Early On
We are going to get stretched out in the world. We are going to get stretched with temptations and opportunities. Remember, not every opportunity is from God.
So, early on, when we are getting tempted and pulled, identify with God. We will see that throughout the Scriptures, the men of God who survived and were victorious were those who identified with God before the challenge came, before they were forced to. They identified with God early on. God gives us chances to identify with Him and we will have to choose.
- Make It Known
Do people at your work place even know that you are a Christian? How long has it been?
If we are going to be the Body of Christ, we need to be able to make it known. That is going to be very important.
“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels” (Luke 12:8).
If we understand that, we will cooperate with God rather than fight against Him. Make it known.
I want you to cooperate and hear what God is doing, rather than pull away when you are being stretched.
- Always Pull in the Direction of God
We know which way God is, so pull. We have got to pull and it is going to be intentional. We must pull with all of our might, but pull in the direction of God.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
How does God restore us to His image? He stretches us. We just start stretching and we need to cooperate with Him. It is not always easy, but He will stretch us.
When God stretches us, He is not making us somebody we do not want to be. He is actually stretching us to be the person He created us to be. He is stretching us so that we will be whole, our self, the complete person. There is only completion in Christ. We are made complete in Christ.