We know how good it feels to get up and stretch after sitting for a long time. It’s good for our bodies to stretch. It makes us pliable, and that’s what God wants us to be when it comes to His Word and presence. So let’s remember to stretch to the heights with Him every day.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
A few of us meet twice weekly to stretch our muscles using a DVD program to guide us. Some of the exercises are difficult, but we all agree physical exercises are beneficial. We feel more energized, can move our joints and muscles easier and become stronger. We’re no match for the squirrels outside my window, however, who perform exquisite acrobats while successfully trying to reach the bird seed in a squirrel-proof bird feeder. Not that it matters. Like them, we benefit with improved flexibility and balance, less arthritic pain and prevention of injury.
I once missed almost two weeks’ worth of stretching exercises because I went on a trip. When I returned, my body had lost elasticity and I had to start over. I learned the importance of staying with the program.
Stretching is also beneficial for the soul, which includes our mind and will. From infancy, we’re taught to think for ourselves. When we aren’t given the opportunity, we can become parrots of someone else’s beliefs and actions, which deprives us of becoming our unique selves. Or we might grow up to be “pansies,” an old-fashioned term meaning those who are timid or unassertive, without the backbone to make personal decisions. We stretch our souls when we choose to replace our old, unproductive or harmful ideas and lifestyles with new, healthy ones.
God allows our spirits to be stretched, too. Our faith is like a muscle that needs to be stretched in order to grow stronger. Each obstacle we face can become a challenge when we view it as such. Throughout the world, millions of people are being ignored, taunted, ostracized or persecuted for their faith in God. Each test they face with perseverance and determination helps their faith grows stronger. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2)
When we find ourselves without spiritual tests and trials, we can lose spiritual flexibility. Perhaps because of busyness or stress, we take a mental and spiritual vacation for a while, which results in losing ground. Forgoing our daily quiet times with God causes us to get out of shape spiritually. Not a good place to be.
When we maintain a program of physical fitness and the soul-stretching program of mental, emotional and relational growth, we benefit. When we choose to discipline ourselves in growing in and with Christ, we profit spiritually. So do those around us. And so does the Lord, by our faithfulness.
Lord, thank You for stretching our faith. We want others to know You as we know You. Strengthen our faith for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.