Break Me and Stretch Me

January 12, 2022

Jesus: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 ESV

Breaking and stretching are closely related. Rubber bands do both. Stretching comes first with them. Body parts both stretch and break. Hearts stretch and break. Stretching can expand space and capability. But stretching can cause snapping. Breaking can either destroy or enable reconstruction in more helpful ways. But both take courage. Both entail pain. In a purely physical sense, neither is always chosen—sometimes they happen without our choice. But benefitting from stretching and breaking always requires our choice and cooperation.

That is always true spiritually. Choosing to stretch and choosing to be broken are personal choices. They are bold, courageous choices. Jesus referred to these choices as denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, and following Him. Denying our own desires, carrying our own cross to the possible death of some of our dreams and ideas, and following Jesus on an unknown pathway is stretching and painful.

Losing my life is brokenness to the most complete degree. But Jesus assures us that stretching and breaking is what gives Him room to work. When I am willing to lose my life (my expectations and demands) for the sake of following Christ, Jesus promises I am actually saving my life.

Denying myself is a profoundly stretching experience. If I am willing to pray for God to stretch me, and I cooperate by denying my own desires for the sake of following Jesus and loving His people, I will find myself changing. My focus will shift from me, away from my insider emotions and decisions. I will begin to notice and care about people in a new way. I will begin to break. I will want to break. I will be like the Grinch—my heart that was originally two sizes too small will explode in its capacity to love and care. I will be refashioned from my stretching and breaking into a person God can use to love the world in a way the draws them to himself.

“God, stretch me. God, break me.” Two of the boldest, bravest prayers to pray because they demand my cooperation, and it’s hard to see past the initial pain. But they are two of the most effective prayers as well when I am committed to cooperate. I will be a tool in God’s hands to love and serve as He does. It’s irresistible.

  • Are you reluctant to pray these prayers? Talk to God about it. He will never be in your debt. You can count on Him to more than reward you.