by Pastor Tim Burt
You’ve heard the saying, If you want something done, give it to a busy person. This statement often plays out to be true. Studies have shown that when a person has little going on in their life—little responsibility and little obligation, they accomplish little. Research also shows that when you give more responsibility to disciplined and responsible people, they learn to take on and manage more—stretching their capacity to do more and do so effectively.
Thinking along those lines, in Isaiah 54:2-3 (NIV) we read, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.”
This verse is not just about tents or home building or relocating. God was speaking to His people about what it would require to take hold of the promises He promised to them. They would have to step up! They would have to do their part! They would have to push past their fears of expanding into the unknown. They would have to trust God’s promises of His grace and help to experience the increase of blessing He had promised them. He would stretch them and their abilities to get more done.
God desires to bring increase into our life. Achievers who press and get things done in their own strength, often compromise their integrity and fall into pride over their own ability to get things done. Their success and efforts become their pride, ego, and identity. Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT says, “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
God wants our identity and confidence in getting things done to be in Him and His ability working through us, not pridefully in our own ability. He wants us to stretch ourselves by trusting and leaning on Him to do more and take on more. It will be a stretch! Ask any parent that’s just had another child. Suddenly that family has stretched and increased. There’s another person to take care of. When we lean on God and stretch, we find that God will help and bless us. But He also wants us to understand that it’s His grace that will help us accomplish more, and for His purposes—not so we can be seen as cool or great.
Some people have become unnecessarily dependent on the benevolence of government, churches, organizations, and more. Benevolence is supposed to be a type of grace to temporarily help people in tough situations—temporary being the key word. But people easily become dependent upon these forms of benevolence. They have the power to eventually strip people of their dignity and confidence to take care of themselves. God gives each of us the capacity to stand on our own two feet and accomplish not only providing for ourselves but the ability to do great things and help others!
You may not know this, but when you set your heart and trust in God, you can do far more than you ever imagined. You can stretch yourself and your abilities. You may have spoken the words I don’t know what to do and I can’t do this a thousand times before. In past efforts, you may have been one to easily give up and quit. But, when you learn to lean on God and stretch yourself as you take on things you’ve never done before, asking Him for His help all along the way, you will experience His grace and power in the most unimaginable ways! If your attitude is, God, I know by your grace and with your help, I can do all things as you strengthen me and give me your wisdom, then you will be able to do more than you could ever have imagined—more than you ever dreamed possible. It is God’s will to stretch the borders of who you are to help you experience increase. Having an I can’t attitude and falling back on doing little will lead you to a painful life of feelings of failure, and feeling abandoned by God and this world. That in turn will lead to feelings of bitterness, jealousy, and hopelessness. You will become lazier and more inept.
Look to God and attempt to do more trusting in His grace and power to help you and you will pleasantly learn what you can do in His ability! He will help you manage your work, your family, and all your life in His balance—all while He increases you! I’m not saying this is magical or easy. It is gut-retching hard. But you will experience the joy of it and experience the blessed life of God!
Let me close by adding the most important part of this secret of God about stretching yourself. Prayer is the key to it all. It is the number one thing. Heartfelt time with God through His Word and prayer will fuel you and your faith giving you the courage to stretch yourself. God will encourage you through His Word. It’s where your trust in Him will be strengthened and refreshed. The promises of God will catapult you again and again. Jesus modeled this for us. He spent time in prayer with His Father which was where the grace, the direction, and the strength came from that directed His daily steps. And so this is how it should be for us. That is where the words “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 (NLT) becomes true for our life!
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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