Stretch!

Seagull stretch
Picture: DavidSpinks (CC)

Make wide the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your house be stretched out without limit:make your cords long, and your tent- pins strong. Isa 54:3

For centuries this verse has been taken to talk about buildings, spheres of influence, size of congregations. Hey, even my body started to take it literal once I turned 30 – isn’t our body the tent we live in while here on earth? I had to use the fruit of the Spirit – self-control – to tell it otherwise – and I still am fighting.

Understanding verses as for external application

I am especially concerned about the part of curtains without limits. But that is the part that actually shows me that this verse – like most – is not externally applied. But I fall into the habit of applying and understanding verses as for external application still too often.

Jesus said that he is going to build mansions, and there are many in his father’s house. Mansions are not only an upgrade to living in a tent, they stretch less easy than a tent too. Usually it is a major task to stretch a mansion, a process of tearing down and rebuilding. And still – hear the mathematician – it is not possible to build a physical mansion without limits. I live in Switzerland, a country with 40’000 square kilometers, one third inhabitable, and 7 million plus inhabitants, adding another 1% each year in net migration. I know that space is limited!

But you do not have to be a regular on this post to at least understand that Isaiah is not talking about our physics. Neither is he talking about any of the above.

Stretch without limits

There is a part of the human being that can stretch without limits.

If it’s not the body, could it be the spirit? I do not know about the spirit. In our imagination of heaven – which is mostly a glorified projection of the world without fault – we are separat beings taking up a well defined space in heavenly dimensions, just like we take up limited space in the 3.5 dimensional world we are conscious of. If that is true, the spirit is limited too. In regard to size and space, but not necessarily in regards to authority and possibilities: we can do ALL THINGS in Christ who strengthens us.

But there is another part in us that is potentially without limits. It is our mind. The mind is the creative spark that God put into us. We can imagine the proverbial pink elephant and string theory, or come up with solutions to problems we did not know we had. We can dream. And I urge you to dream big.

But why are we told to stretch our tent, or stretch our mind?

Because we artificially limit it. We are imprinted from the moment we are born, even before, by our environment. We learn how things are done. We are told what to do and what not to do. We are either encouraged or put down. And our natural senses are limited to deal with the 3.5 dimensions – by the way, I am speaking about 3-dimensional space and unidirectional time as half-dimension – our body lives in.

Why are we limited to the natural realm? Because we are in Adam. Because we are (or were) a fallen creature. Let me ask you something: how many sins make a sinner? Actually, it’s one. But it is not your first one – back then, when for the first time you did not obey your parents – no, it’s the one in the garden. The one Adam and Eve committed. Since then we are offspring of a fallen creation, and therefore sinners. Our spirit is dead, thus we are dead to spiritual realities.

But God. God reached into our natural realm through his son and opened up the spiritual dimensions for us again. He made us a new creation. Everybody. It is just to realize, accept, and walk out. Jesus is the door and the pathway to this new creation.

Possibilities untouched

There are people – we usually call them creatives – that accept far less limitations in their thinking. They stretch their tents to an extend that makes us awe. If only I could do that! There are mathematicians that build n-dimensional realms with fascinating character to prove – well, prove what? But they build them. In their minds. There are physicists that come up with explanations and theories to our universe, like quantum physics and string theory, seeing the universe as a holographic projection of another realm. And they get closer and closer to the truth – God living in the spiritual realm, the earth being The Matrix.

And still, the possibilities of our mind have not been touched.

One should think that once we become or better realize that we are spiritual beings, once we accept Jesus’ work at the cross and are re-united with God, and once we walk out and slowly come to realization of what already is – we are Christ, he the head and we the body – we would readily stretch our minds. But we turn around and box them in all afresh. Now the box is religion. We are taught how things are done in the church. We learn what certain verses mean in the bible. And we put God in a box so little it fits our small thinking and emotions.

Break out of the limitations

Do not think as the world thinks, but change your thinking. Break out of the limitations of the natural world and mindset. Stretch your tent. Bit by bit. Stretch it, and drive in the tent pegs. Fast enough to prevent the tent from shrinking back to where it was. Loose enough so you can repeat the process after a while – when the curtains have adjusted to the new size – and stretch some more.

It is not easy. We have been imprinted for such a long time. We have been told so many times. We have been believing so strongly.

How can you do it? Do it in company. Get into the right company, a company of dreamers and encouragers that hear the voice of God. Build strong relationships with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, other believers, fivefold ministers, and a father. Build an environment of trust and accountability. But be aware that there will be a time you hear from God and nobody else hears what you hear in your company. A test of maturity. Then trust is vital. Others have to trust that you hear from God, yes, but you have to too. Especially you. If not, you will again box yourself in and loose out on a great opportunity to stretch your tent.

To a life without limitations!

Are you with me?

  • I came here from Jeff Goins’ ‘My 500 Words’ FB Group. Thanks for writing, Sir.

    “Build an environment of trust and accountability. But be aware that there
    will be a time you hear from God and nobody else hears what you hear in
    your company. A test of maturity. Then trust is vital.”

    That’s a powerful call to hear the voice of God. Amen.

    I traveled to more than a dozen countries of the world. I still think Switzerland is the most beautiful place. Do you live in Germany or Switzerland? I have a bookbinder friend in Nurtingen, Germany. In Switzerland we visited/traveled in the Signau and Langnau areas.

  • Elaine

    Very interesting, Ralph. Each thing I read is more interesting than the last. I’ll subscribe now!