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God Wants to Stretch Our Faith

What does God want for His people worldwide this next year? I have a habit of asking that question as we are about to jump into a New Year. I am not prophesying it, but I do believe that the Spirit of God is speaking of a stretching for His Church in this coming year. Over the years, I have seen that Christians are like elastic bands; they have to be stretched to be effective. When you placed your faith in Christ, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, a deposit or down payment, guaranteeing what will be ours in the future (Ephesians 1:4-5; 13-14). What we do with that potential and power is up to each of us to determine, according to your faith. God honors faith. Faith sees beyond one's capabilities and looks to the power of the Holy Spirit resident within the believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit wants to stretch our faith to realize all that God has given us.

Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Corinth, telling them that Satan had blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4) to all that God has done for us through the cross. Our spiritual eyes need to be opened to the incomparably great power for "us who believe" (Ephesians 1:19). God wants to use each of us in different ways if we will step out and trust him. When we believed, the authority and power given to Christ was also given to us as His representatives. We re-present him! No matter how young or old we are in Christ. Let me illustrate with a story:

For 21 years, Mrs. Chang had lain in bed at her home in China, unable to move her arms and legs. Finally, the pain got to be too much, and she asked her eldest son to take her to the hospital, 40 miles away. The doctors there discovered that some of her organs were almost dead, so they advised her son, "Take her home so she can die with your family." But before she left, a Christian nurse came by her bed and slipped her a copy of the Gospel of Mark. "Read this when you get home," she whispered. When Mrs. Chang got home, the first thing she did was to ask her son to read something from the booklet. Opening it to page one, he began: "this is the good news of Jesus Christ..." Before he could read any further, Mrs. Chang's bones started to move. Within moments, she sat up, completely healed! She promptly gave her life to the Lord.

The next day, on her way to the village well to draw water, she was asked by everyone, "say, aren't you Mrs. Chang? What doctor healed you? We want to use him too!" Mrs. Chang invited all the women to her simple home. When a large group had assembled, she stood and began speaking: "This is the good news of Jesus Christ…." In only four weeks, all 600 people of the village decided to follow Jesus! From there, the story gets even more interesting: When the report got around, a police force arrived to stamp out this "new sect." They beat the villagers, shot their animals, burned their crops, and left, thinking that would be the last they would ever hear about this Jesus Christ. They were oh, so wrong: the 600 converts remained steadfast, and within four years, 70,000 turned to Christ throughout the whole region. Who was the star of this story? The faithful nurse. She was not a famous evangelist; she was a 'nobody' that was responding to a need with love in her heart.[1]

We live in a day when God wants to stretch and use ordinary people like you and me if only we will believe and not put any limits on what God can or can't do. Roger Bannister, the record-breaking runner, completed something that seemed impossible at one time. He ran a mile in less than four minutes. Other runners thought that a man couldn't run that fast. Once Bannister proved that it could be done, guess what happened, the next year, 37 other runners broke the four-minute mile! The following year three hundred others also ran the mile under four minutes. What happened? The measurement of time did not change. The only thing that changed was that other runners believed that what was possible could be accomplished. We are the ones who put limits on what God can do in us and through us. Our biggest problem in living a life in step with the Spirit and moving in His power is ourselves. Come Holy Spirit and stretch our faith! Keith Thomas. May this New Year be a breakthrough year for you!

[1] James Rutz, Mega Shift, Published by Empowerment Press, Page 5.


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