The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete, he said, “Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me.” “Well, in plain English,” the doctor replied, “you’re just lazy.” “Okay,” said the man. “Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife.”
We are creatures of habit we all want to get around like we used to; it is our tendency to resist being stretched. We have gotten comfortable, and established in a routine. Someone has said that ruts are just open ended-graves. But for most of us, ruts define the way we live. We get up every morning and get out of that same bed, put on the same clothes, walk to that same table, eat the same breakfast, pack that same lunch, put those kids on the bus, kiss the spouse, drive that car to the same job, get off at the same time, drive down that same street, pull into that same drive, have that same dinner, watch that same program, get in that same bed. Then you get up the next morning to do the same thing all over again. And you think, “that’s life.” Friends, that’s not life!
Someone has said “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is called insanity” We didn’t mean to but we settled into routine. If you do what you’ve always done you get what you’ve always gotten, for some that means spiritual barrenness. We didn’t mean to but we became spiritually soft. When we fall into those routines, our lives no longer bear the same kind of fruitfulness for God’s purpose.
In Isaiah 54, the people of Israel were experiencing spiritual barrenness. The people were thirsty for God to do something in their life. They were tired of the same old answers and the same old dialogue. They were people who were honestly seeking God to feed their souls.
Come on church, have you ever felt like that? Have you ever been so thirsty for God? Your life has the same old things it had a year ago. You find yourself searching for meaning in the grayness that just seems to blend from day to day.
2: “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3: For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
God is ready to do a bigger thing. God has a bigger plan for your work. “You must enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide.” go to the next place where God wants us to go? “Lengthen your cord, strengthen your stakes, for you have spread out to the right and to the left. Your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” In this text the question that God is asking is “Will you Grow?”
- Enlarge Your Capacity For God
God wants to do a bigger work in your life. God has a bigger purpose. But for that to take place you must enlarge your capacity for God. The number one purpose God had in creating us was for us to know God in an intimate relationship. And the second reason God created us was to make himself known through us.1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. In the book, “The Prayer of Jabez”. This is Jabez’s prayer, “Bless me and expand my territory.”It’s not wrong for you to ask God to bless you. In fact, I would suggest that this should be our prayer. Now the thing that made it right was that Jabez wanted to be used to ultimate capacity. His prayer was not self-centered but rather it was centered upon allowing God to expend his area of influence.
- Stretch Your Commitment
Stretching has the tendency to cause pain. When you stretch you are working a certain set of muscles. So in order for us to stretch ourselves to what God asks us to become, it’s going to require some pain on our part both as a church and personally as well. You expand your influence by expanding your capacity. Stretch your commitment. It’s like muscles. Do you know how you make a muscle stronger? You have to tear down some of the cells by over-committing your muscle. Now I don’t expect you to all sign up for every bible study, ministry team, and community service activity that is offered. But I think it’s time to take a healthy look at the amount of spiritual commitment you are currently undertaking. One way of stretching your commitment is to add more balance to your relationship with God e.g. prayer, Bible reading, Bible study and small groups.
- Expand Your Influence
How big is your tent? In this verse Isaiah says you need to spread out to the right and the left. You need to make your mark on a land that does not yet know who you are. In other words, you need to expand your influence. The truth is. We reap what we sow. Your return will only be as great as your investment. When you enlarge your capacity for God by stretching your investment of faith, God will expand your influence. You can expand your influence by showing concern for others and anticipating their needs before they do.The best way to expend our influence is to expand our circle of concern. Churches that grow are churches that show a genuine concern for their community. (both inside and outside the church) That is the Call of Christ. It was in essence to love each other but then he went on to say how easy is it to love other people who are like you, then he says I’m telling you to love those who you don’t like and don’t like you. He says pray for those who irritate you. He is saying Expand your circle of concern. Go out of your way to show people the Love of God.