How would you evaluate the life you’ve lived throughout the past 12 months? Were your days marked by shrinking back from all God was calling you into? Or was it marked by stretching into God’s perfect plan for your life? Here are a few examples from the Scriptures of a shrinking life:
Abraham shrunk the size of his life down to the size of his desire to save his own skin when he told the Pharaoh his wife was his sister.
Jacob shrunk the size of his life down to the size of his desire to receive his father’s blessing, regardless of the cost.
David shrunk the size of his life down to the size of his desire to satisfy his own sinful and self-absorbed lust for another man’s wife.
Peter, like Abraham, shrunk the size of his life down to the size of his desire to save his own skin when he told the servant girl and others that he did not know Jesus—3 times!
Now, here are a few examples of lives lived marked by stretching into God’s calling, even in the face of uncertainty, difficulty, and even death.
Abraham stretched the size of his life up to the size of God’s plan when he left everything behind to follow God into an unknown future.
Jacob stretched the size of his life up to the size of God’s plan when he wrestled with God all night and refused to let go until God had blessed him and renamed him Israel.
David stretched the size of his life up to the size of God’s plan when he fought the giant Goliath and refused to fight against King Saul, even though Saul was unjustly persecuting him.
Peter stretched the size of his life up to the size of God’s plan when he recovered from his courtyard denials and responded to the call of Jesus to “feed His sheep.”
No doubt you noticed that I used the same people in these examples . . . to show times when they shrunk their lives down to the size of their lives and times when they stretched their lives beyond what they could have ever imagined.
This should be a source of great comfort to you today! It certainly is for me, because there are are those days when I shrink back . . . others when I stretch forward. This is true for all of us.
We all live lives marked by advancing into God’s perfect plan and retreating from it. The key is to keep getting up, by God’s grace, and keep moving in the direction God is calling us to go, regardless of how many times we fall down. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16).
The Christian life is marked by shrinking and stretching, and it will be that way until the day we get home. We all find ourselves living in moments when we care more about satisfying our own desires and meeting our own needs than we care about living for the glory of God. The only cure is to keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith. The more we focus on Him and believe the truths of the Gospel, the more we will stretch for our Savior and the less we will shrink for ourselves.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!