Stretching

As I build my physical strength, I’ve noticed that I hurt more. I’ll do something seemingly easy, and I’ll sprain, twist or pull something. My back begins to hurt, and I wonder why building muscle is not preventing these aches and pains.

I finally figured out that I’m not flexible. The strength training I’m doing is great, but it needs to be accompanied with stretching all the tendons and ligaments that connect my muscle and bones. If one area of my body becomes stronger, the weakness in other areas become painfully obvious….literally.

So I’ve begun to stretch. I stretch while watching the kids play, before or after my time with God, even during a family movie night. Finally, I’ve noticed a difference in my performance. I don’t hurt as much, and my aches and pains have lessened because my body is better able to withstand the stress.

I have noticed this same connection in my spiritual life. Many times Christians work hard at building our strength as Christians; yet we get hurt easily. Someone says something or does something, and we immediately take offense. Something happens in our life and we get offended at God. We become strong Christians who are weak with mercy, grace and loyalty.

Christians can be spiritual-powerhouses all they want; but if they’re groveling over all the offenses they receive, they’ll never fulfill their destiny to the fullest. We gain our greatest range of movement when we are flexible. God wants our influence to be mighty in His Kingdom, so He’ll stretch us so He can use us in amazing and wide-ranging ways.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being offended. I want to shine glory on God’s throne, so I’m determined to allow God to stretch me until it is uncomfortable — even a bit painful. But I know that when He is done, I’ll won’t find myself hurting all of the time. I trust God’s hand in my life, and I will lean on Him instead of clinging onto hurt.

Have you encountered an offense lately? Did you not offer mercy and grace only to feel bad about it later? How has God been stretching you?

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17.9 NIV).

Alisa Hope Wagner

Alisa Hope Wagner is aggressive about leading a simple life. She enjoys working out, reading, writing and communicating God’s love and truth. She married her high school sweetheart, and together they enjoy raising their children in a Christ-centered home. Though an introvert by nature, Alisa easily expresses herself through social media, especially on her blog. She has earned her B.A. Degree in English and her M.S. Degree in Applied English Linguistics, and she volunteered in women’s ministry leadership and life group ministry for her church. She trained in Mixed Martial Arts and won her bout by TKO! She has written her debut novel, Eve of Awakening, and has started the sequel, Bear Into Redemption.

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11 Comments

  1. Stretching is definitely hard … requires discipline and trust that the process is working : ) Thanks for the reminder that stretching is worth the flexibility we will have later, so that God can greater use us in His strength! Loved it!

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  2. What a great devotional to read as I’ve been thinking about trying to get into better shape. It’s so true-that we can get easily offended and not remember that only being stretched in this manner will make us stronger in Christ and glorify Him all the more!

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  3. Stretching can be painful, but when it is from God, we know he is making us into precious stones usable for expanding his kingdom on this earth. Great post Alisa!

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  4. Hi Alisa,

    I get what you’re saying about stretching, contrasting it with being spiritually stretched by God for my benefit. I agree that I’ll never fulfill God’s purpose for my life by “groveling over all the offenses” I receive. I’m committed to practicing mercy, grace and loyalty in my life because, I receive it from God. Like you, I choose not to be offended; being merciful is the more excellent way.

    Thanks for sharing words of encouragement.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

    Reply
  5. I like this line “God wants our influence to be mighty in His Kingdom, so He’ll stretch us so He can use us in amazing and wide-ranging ways.”

    Wonderful devotion 🙂

    Blessings,
    krista

    Reply
  6. Wonderful analogy Alisa! Because I often need reminding about this very thing, I memorized 1 Corinthians 13:5…specifically “love is not easily provoked” (KJV)

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  7. Hi Alisa, I love the spiritual and physical application in this post. Stretching is difficult and often I don’t want to go through the process physically or spiritually however I know that to truly grow into the person he wants me to be it has to be done. Thanks for sharing

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  8. Alisa, you’ve written another excellent devotional. Good reminder that we’re called to well balanced. Strength without flexibility gained through the stretching leaves us with only spurts of kingdom productivity.

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  9. Wow, have you been living in my life lately? Your last three posts are making me believe you have a lttle inside scoop from the Big Guy. Keep letting Him use you, Alisa. It’s been so helpful to read these!

    Reply
  10. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.God isnt asking very much of us. All he’s asking of us is to be pliable / flexible so that he can mould us into his image.
    Be blessed,
    Cheryl

    Reply

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