By Ada Brownell
When they think about stretching, health conscious adults head for the gym. But what about spiritual fitness?
With disuse, faith gets flabby. Here are a few spiritual stretches I did the last couple of years and plan to continue.
1. DESIRE TO ENLARGE YOUR TERRORITY. Pray the prayer of Jabez every day and mean it: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10NKJ). After I began praying the prayer, new opportunities opened that surprised me. I realized I had more potential than I thought, and God was with me!
2. STRETCH YOUR ABILITIES
· Dust off old talents and develop others. You never know what the Lord might use, even if it’s only to increase your contentment.
· Witness to others when opportunities open, and resist fear.
· Tell your family how and why you are a Christian and share a witness.
3. STRETCH YOUR KNOWLEDGE
· Get a good study Bible or join a Bible study group. Last year I asked my husband to buy me a new Bible because I wanted the included commentary. I often study a book of the Bible at a time or one subject. Recently I did an intense study on faith using my study Bible. I also looked up scriptures in different versions and on biblegateway.com
· If you don’t have a ministry, pray and see where God leads. I grew spiritually when I taught Christian education classes because it stretched me.
· Learn new things that will enhance your career. Ask God for direction and take a class, do research, or take advice so you can be your best.
4. STRETCH YOUR LOVE
· Put into practice everything you know about being a better wife, mom, grandma, husband, father or grandpa.
· Contact relatives and friends you haven’t communicated with recently, and visit neighbors.
· Pray for supernatural love to help you show love to people who are difficult.
5. STRETCH YOUR COMPASSION
· Give to a credible organization that helps those in need.
· Encourage the grieving, the ill, the elderly and lonely with a card, email, phone call or something from your kitchen.
· Ask your pastor if there is someone who especially needs encouragement or help.
6. STRETCH YOUR FAITH
· Believe God for something you need or desire that looks impossible.
· Venture out and do what you know God wants you to do, but you’ve hesitated.
· When you pray, give your faith a jump start with the Word.
7. STRETCH YOUR THOUGHTS, PATIENCE AND SPEECH TO PLEASE GOD
· With David I pray, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:15).
· I pray, “Fill me with the fruits of the Spirit. ‘For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’” (Galatians 5:22-23).