Thoughts,Songs,Writings,Rants,Encouragements, and Life

Friday, April 15, 2005

-Flexibility in Christ-

"Rubber bands are the fashion statement for those who want to be expanded.”-ME

We have all seen them, we all know there purpose, but there are some uses for rubber bands that can “stretch” our idea of who we are in Christ. I am not sure If that makes complete sense or not. Watch a professional basketball game and you will see a good portion of the players with rubber bands on there wrists. Possibly for good luck or possibly to induce pain on the occurrence of a missed shot, pull the band back and SNAP (red mark appears) as if the hand actually has done something so terrible that it deserves punishment. Lately there is a new form of rubber band on the fashion scene. Multicolored-stretchable wrist bands, (Supporting aids, breast cancer, cancer, and our armed forces). This fashion statement has become a hot topic and quick trend around the world. Another use of the rubber band is in the form of holding a woman or mans hair back from the face.
Question: What is the purpose of a rubber band? What is its job? The purpose is simple, to hold something together, that would otherwise fall apart without the stretchable aide. The rubber bands job is to be flexible and stretchable.
The definition for the word Flexible is this: Flex-i-ble/adjective/ (15th Century word, thus we don’t see the exact word in scripture but we see examples of it.) 1. Capable of being flexed: PLIANT, 2. Yielding to influence: TRACTABLE, 3. Characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.
I have worn rubber bands on my wrists for years. The purposes have varied and changed over the years. What used to be a good luck charm for my three point jump shot in a basketball game, has now become a daily reminder to be flexible with what the Lord throws my way that day. But let’s go back to where that theme got its beginning.
I am a huge fan of Switchfoot, many know this. I am a bigger admirer of the lead singer of the band, Jon Foreman. In the conversations I have had with him I always seem to walk away with something new to encourage my walk with the Lord. Some of these thoughts blow my mind, while others simply “stretch” it a bit more than before. At one concert I had the chance to sit and “wait” for a pizza with Jon. (No kidding, sat at a counter for about twenty minutes waiting for a pizza to come). So I started up a conversation with him. We talked about some of the usual stuff, but there is one thing we talked about that I will never forget. It changed the way I think about rubber bands completely.
I had noticed that Jon wore a rubber band on his wrist just like me. I wondered what his purpose was for wearing it. (At the time I was wearing mine as a sort of purity statement, this was right before I received the gold ring I wear now). Jon quickly replied, “It is really simple actually, it is a reminder to be flexible in life.” As you can imagine I was blown away. I commented on what a great statement and reminder that could be for us as Christians. Jon agreed with the thought and said, “You never know maybe this whole rubber band thing will catch on.” So later when people would see my rubber bands and ask what their purpose was I would reply, “To be a flexible person in this world.”
Like most things in my life things become hybrids of each other. Meaning things get mixed together and brought out in new forms. I soon realized the true potential behind the idea of being flexible in life. I came to the realization that I needed to be flexible with God. I needed to be expandable and stretchable in my relationship with God and what his plans were for me.
For my entire life I have tried to live a passionate and extreme lifestyle. I try to color outside the lines, expand my horizons, and most importantly get out of the box our society constructs for us and tries to hold us to. The whole theme with the rubber band truly echoed my passion to walk a different road and dance a different dance than the others around me. Today when someone asks me what the rubber band means I reply with a grin, “to be flexible, stretchable, and expandable in my relationship with Christ and what he throws my way.” The reactions are all different. Some people are surprised that you could find so much worth and value in a single rubber band. Others are immediately affected and wish to try the same challenge. Others take it and move on to the next topic. We all have things that point our passion towards the Lord. What one person may do to worship the Lord another may find it silly or not as intimate. One of the greatest things about being created unique is that in our uniqueness we can connect to God in different ways. The rubber band is just one of many reminders and stepping stones to worship that I have placed into my life.
Now whenever I see a rubber band I am reminded of my commitment to Christ and being flexible in him and for him. I would encourage you to take this idea and try to apply it to your life for a week and see what happens.
There is another side to the rubber band idea though. Just recognizing the rubber band and its meaning is useless. We have to be continually seeking God and his will for our lives. We have to be receptive for what he throws our way. We have to apply flexibility to our life. We need to know and understand that we will be stretched and we will be tested. When we get to those places in our lives we need to be prepared and ready for what the Lord wants to do for us and with us. We have to step up to the plate and swing smart, not hard. We have to be able to recognize these times and be able to deal with them. The only way we can do this is by going deeper with God. We need to know God fully. We need to dive into his word and his heart for our lives.
We also need to ask the Lord to test us and stretch us. You might think this is crazy, but if you don’t ask to be stretched, what makes you think you will be able to handle it when it comes on Gods time instead of yours? We need to continually be willing to be stretched. We have to want to be moved to new and unknown places in our lives. We need to get out of our “comfort zones” and begin to step into the deep waters of the mysterious and wonderful God that we love and serve.
Check out this passage I found this morning in Nehemiah 4:6-25. I do not have enough space to write this all out, so I will let you open up your Bibles and read the passage for yourselves.
As you read when the work was half-way done Nehemiah was put into two difficult positions and dilemmas.
1. His working men were in danger of becoming discouraged by the enormity of actually completing the building. Also Nehemiah was getting word of concerned family members in the nearby villages that were aware of the enemy’s plans to attack, so they were trying to encourage the men to return home.
2. The other problem was that the enemy, who had increased in its man power and weapons, were threatening to attack.
Nehemiah’s reaction to the problem is a perfect model of discerning leadership. He displayed common-sense flexibility in interrupting the work briefly in order to meet with his people and put into place better security. Nehemiah chose not to be overwhelmed by the issues at hand. God was testing him to see what his reaction would be to the problems at hand; Nehemiah jumped at the opportunity and proved how stretchable he really was and could be if more problems were to arise later on. Nehemiah encouraged his people by showing them what needed to be done. The people’s confusion was great, but Nehemiah was able to turn even their sense of weakness into a foundation for faith. Nehemiah led them by example; he gave it to God and expected them to do so as well. The wall was going to be tuff work and there would be road blocks along the way, but those roadblocks would only prove how deep their faith was in Christ. If they were faithful to Christ he would be faithful to them and Nehemiah new this well.
Like Nehemiah we need to be flexible with what comes our way. We may struggle in our faith and we will be tested in our faith. The question is what will your reaction be to those tests or curveballs? My friend’s will you take the challenge and see how flexible you are. It may be easy and it may be hard, but we are all continually growing and expanding in our dance with our wonderful and awesome creator.


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