Thursday, August 16, 2007

Expanding Your Spirit

By John Paul Jackson

Recently, many people have talked about transitions and change, and how to cope and trust God when it feels like you’re losing everything. What I want to talk to you about today deals with that, but it encompasses more.

If you are willing, difficult and uncomfortable times will cause your spirit to grow so that God can use it to reach beyond you and touch others in huge and mighty ways.

Expanding your spirit sounds like a deep, heavy, mystical thing to do, but it’s really not. Put simply, all it means is realizing that “stuff” happens for a reason — and that reason doesn’t always pertain to you.

Everything Has a Purpose

Life isn’t a string of coincidental happenings. It is a huge, masterfully worked, interwoven story, where each word and each description are included for a reason — sometimes for several reasons all at once. Many of those reasons involve you: God is strengthening you. He is helping you to the next step. He is teaching you that He is safe to trust. Each of these is an amazing, and potentially life-altering, reason to experience difficulty. Each of these is worth it. But the buck doesn’t stop there; God has even more.

If I really believe that the Spirit of God radiates from me, then the closer I get to others, the more they will feel Him. What if God purposefully put me into this situation for something other than what I am expecting? If I focus only on my own issues, I will miss the purpose and the intentions of God.

When you start realizing and living in this understanding, your spirit naturally grows. It is an automatic response. The more it grows, the more God will use you; the more He uses you, the more your spirit grows. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “He who has, more will be given him, and he will have an abundance” (from Matthew 13:12).

Learn to See the Real Issue Behind the Problem

No matter how much we dislike it at times, there are issues we have to work through that are for the benefit of others, even at our discomfort. Isaiah 43:4 evidences this:

“Since you were precious in My sight,

You have been honored,

And I have loved you;

Therefore I will give men for you,

And people for your life.”

Sometimes, this is why God allows something to happen. All of us are the Body of Christ, remember? We bear each other’s burdens; we build up those parts of us that are weak. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. But often, we don’t make it that far. Instead, we get caught up in the small things that prick our souls: “Did you see how she looked at me? Did you hear his tone of voice? How dare he!”

We get so bent out of shape over trivial issues that are not “the issue” at all. But that’s where the enemy wants to keep our focus. If we keep our focus there, our souls will grow and will eventually become the dominating force in our lives. We have to look at the deeper issue to get a spirit understanding.

Whatever you’re dealing with today, if you want to understand the deeper issues, if you want your spirit to grow, grasp that God is moving. It isn’t a static moving or a knock-you-down sort of moving. It might even be moving in ways you don’t like! But He gives for your behalf; He will allow your discomfort so that you will have a well-rounded, high-level spiritual life. That’s what He’s after. As your maturity and understanding grow, your spirit grows. To the degree you make room for the Spirit is the degree that you will have power in your life, and be able to expand beyond yourself to show others, including downhearted Christians, the hope that is possible with faith in Jesus.

© 2007 John Paul Jackson, Streams Ministries International. All rights reserved. This article may be freely distributed electronically as long as no changes whatsoever are made to the contents. Every copy must contain appropriate attribution that includes the Streams Ministries website,


  1. Hey Z,
    This is really good. Actually, exactly where I am at with radical change and transition, and the pain involved therein. It's also amazing to me to find many other people I come across in the same spot too -- you gotta know God is doing something. My favorite quote from above:

    To the degree you make room for the Spirit is the degree that you will have power in your life, and be able to expand beyond yourself to show others, including downhearted Christians, the hope that is possible with faith in Jesus

    To answer your previous question, I came across your blog somehow by doing a random search on BlogSpot. I can't remember now what I was searching. I liked what I read though, so I may keep coming back


  2. Very timely indeed…
    My heart is to respond quickly to the truth behind the test or trail, and not to loose ground, but to bounce back into His arms in immediate response to the pain, through the pain and out of the pain. Can’t you just see His arms wide open to catch us, and grab us up into His loving embrace?
    I so want to walk that out for myself and for others.