Stretch Your Stuff

Abundant LifefreedomKeith NIx

He tries to control the tremor that runs through His body. Sweat beads on his forehead and drips down his nose hitting the stone pavement with a pop. He adjusts his robe wishing he paid more attention when dressing earlier. All eyes are on him and Jesus. Watching. Wondering. Whispering.

Standing beside him, Jesus scans the room resting His fiery gaze on a cluster of Pharisees in the prominent seats. “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best?” He asks them. “Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless? No one responds. The room is silent. Jesus looks them in the eye, each of them. It is evident that He is angry now. He can’t abide the smug looks of those with such stony hearts.

Looking at the trembling man beside him, He gently speaks, “Stretch your hand out.” There is a gasp in the room as everyone strains to see what happens next. The Pharisees glare at him with angry eyes of hatred. Others look with kind eyes of hope. Losing sight of them all, He turns to look into eyes that appear to be fiery pools of liquid love.

Losing sight of them all, he turns to look into eyes that appear to be fiery pools of liquid love. Click To Tweet

The decision seems simple in the gaze of this love: He slowly stretches the stuff of his embarrassment and frustrations. He stretches his weakness. The part of him that he thinks is ugly. He stretches his handicap. The thing that sadly now identifies him more than the name given to him by his mom and dad. Wait! He stretches it out toward Jesus. But, He hasn’t been able to move it for years now. He has no power in that right arm of his. Just a decision to be vulnerable and stretch the stuff of his weakness and it is whole! He smiles and begins to laugh as he enthusiastically raises his right hand above his head – waving it back and forth. Wow! It is as good as new!

Shrieks fill the room. Joyful shouts of “Hosanna” mixed with “Hallelujahs” ring now. The Pharisees jump up and move to leave as fast as they can, sputtering about how they will join forces with Herod’s followers to make sure they stop Jesus! But the day is won by the joy that engulfs the people like a raging flood. Heaven is on earth! The cripple is whole again! [See Mark 3:1-6]

WHAT WILL YOUR STORY BE?

Is this your story or are you holding onto what is wrong instead of letting it go? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve experienced. It doesn’t matter what it is about you that is crippled. This man’s story can be your yours. I choose for it to be mine. I hope you will also. The choice is simple but not always easy. It is the decision between “strutting your stuff” or stretching it. It is the decision between being pitiful or powerful.

The choice is simple but not always easy. It is the decision between “strutting your stuff” or stretching it. Click To Tweet

HIDING YOUR STUFF

Too many do all they can to live their life minimizing their issues. They hide them. They dress them up so as to not draw any attention. Some become so proficient at covering up that they become blind to their issues. They build a wall of facades around their heart. Fearing the consequences of being wrong, they imprison themselves and their families. No one can approach them with a word of correction or even caution without a blow-up. Even in the presence of the One who can change everything for them, they stretch out their good arm: posturing themselves so that their good, their strong side is amplified

They remain crippled. To be free, we must learn how to rejoice in our weakness knowing that once we stretch it out to Jesus, His strength is made perfect in us. We then say, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” [See I Corinthians 12:8-10]

HIDING IN YOUR STUFF

Others remain crippled because their identity is so wrapped up in their pain, they now find comfort in their trouble. They want everyone to see. They want to tell their pain to any who will listen. The act of reliving the hurt and the suffering is a temporary catharsis, and the looks of pity from others causes them to feel justified in their weakness. While they dream of what wholeness would be like, they don’t know if they want healing. Who will they be without the pain? Who will they be without this challenge to identify them? Healing would remove their excuse for sorry living.

To be free, we must exchange our ashes for His beauty. We must exchange our mourning for His oil of joy. We must give up the spirit of heaviness and take up His garment of praise. You can’t be both pitiful and powerful. You will be pitiful, or you will be powerful. Never both! Choose power by trusting Jesus.

You will be pitiful, or you will be powerful. Never both! Click To Tweet

The fullness of your destiny cannot be grasped with your strengths. There is a part of your destiny that can only be grasped with weakness that gives way to His strength. It is time to stop looking at your weakness and look at Jesus! It is time to stop worrying about what the crowd thinks and look to Jesus! It is time to stop positioning yourself “in the best light possible” – get real, get vulnerable and look to Jesus. It is time to stop finding comfort and identity in what is destroying you and give it to Jesus. It is time to STRETCH! Lay out your stuff to Jesus and live!

It is time to STRETCH! Lay out your stuff to Jesus and live! Click To Tweet

 

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