We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
— Paul to the Corinthian Church, 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

We've started a new series about bricks and rocks. When we hear God's word we receive bricks of truth to build in our lives on a foundation of rock by putting the truths into practice.

This week's brick was from 2 Corinthians 6.

Ever have situations in your life when everything seems to be going wrong? The Apostle Paul went through an awful lot.

Think about a rubber band

Stay put with all your rubber band buddies in the bag and you’re not fulfilling the purpose God has for you.

When is a rubber band most useful? Think about it. A rubber band has so much potential. There are a million different things you can do with it, but it becomes most useful when it is stretched. Leave it on your desk or in a drawer for a long time and what happens? It turns brittle and breaks.

Paul was stretched. Each of us can most likely think of a time when we felt pulled thin. It's not a pleasant feeling.

But remember, like a rubber band, God uses you when he stretches you. God isn't interested in breaking you, but in stretching you to fulfill your potential. James writes that we should "consider it pure joy" when we face trials (James 1:2). It is fulfilling to be used by God, and we can know that when we are stretched and feel weak, we are strong (see 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Just as you can do a million things with a bag of rubber bands, God wants to use His people in a million different ways. Stay put with all your rubber band buddies in the bag and you're not fulfilling the purpose God has for you.

Your challenge this week

Honestly, I didn’t really want this particular brick.

When we receive a brick through hearing or reading God’s word, we can decide what we want to do with it. Honestly, I didn’t really want this particular brick. I can think of three very specific things I don't want to do that are very much outside my comfort zone. I'd much rather do the easy, safe things.

But as someone pointed out in our discussion, being stretched is a part of your purpose and testimony. You can't prove your usefulness if you aren't being pulled out of your comfort zone. It puts challenges in a different light.

The toughest challenge for me is to willingly put myself out there. To be willing to be stretched and feel weak.

But, as I am learning – when I am weak, God makes me strong.