I was on my daily early morning walks a few days ago...moving fast, listening to a very un-hip, but always right on target Christian radio station...this one has sermons from all over the country. While I was coming around a bend, ready to go up some more hills...a new sermon came on...and right in the beginning the minister was doing an interview with someone , and told the guy that someone had asked him " Who stretches you ? ". He was referring to spiritual stretching , who makes you want to study more about God, grow more as a Christian, who makes you not want to settle for less than excellence . I turned off the sermon because that question made me really ponder about who in my life has stretched me or is stretching me ? Mentally, physically , emotionally , intellectually, your work or craft, and most of all as a Christian , spiritually .
I am always striving to grow in each way, and spiritually is without a doubt the hardest. Every time I believe I am making progress as a Christian, I get slammed from out of the blue , with a challenge..a test...a temptation...my flesh wanting to rule in my life again. Who helps me and stretches me spiritually here are a few great television preachers, ( Joyce Meyers, Charles Stanley ), both are straight-shooters, no sugar-coating Christianity , teachers who show there is no easy way to forge and go higher.
My local pastor is always a stretcher, and some more strong Christians I have met who help ' shake me up ', and not settle for a casual relationship with God. The number one person for me is God , through His Word, prayer, and the quiet conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Still there need to be people in our lives who stretch us to do our very, VERY, best at whatever we are good at. They may be co-workers, bosses, or sometimes it is the small glimpses God allows us in people's lives...a chance look at someone doing an excellent job at waiting tables, a very helpful postal clerk, a mother reading to her children and teaching, a man working hard for his family by picking up our garbage and doing it efficiently and with a wave and a smile. When I notice these and many more examples of doing your very best , no matter what the task...that stretches me.
I believe we all need people in our lives who don't just want to please us or not upset us, but who ' tell it like it is " and help us grow . We need to learn to appreciate the person who does not always approve of everything we do or say...we do not need more Yes-men or Yes-women in this world. You do not even have to like them or be friends with them for you to learn something valuable. We need more real, genuine people around us who care more about our character than our comfort. Because that is how God stretches us.
I enjoy anyone who can ' stretch ' me in any of the above ways, I consider it a joyful challenge.
More later, I hope you have a very blessed day,
" LORD I have called daily upon YOU ; I have stretched out my hands to YOU. " Psalm 88:9