Solomon inherited a kingdom from his father, the great King David, and was immediately surrounded by enemies, palace intrigue, a complex culture, big obstacles, and facing a huge assignment. He asked for wisdom, and God gave him wisdom.
But God gave Solomon something more—God gave him largeness of heart. Why? God gives us wisdom, understanding, and largeness of heart, meaning capacity, because we are not large enough today to fight tomorrow’s battles. God essentially told Solomon, “I’ll give you wisdom, but you’re not large enough to contain the wisdom that I know you need. So, I’m going to increase the capacity of your heart and soul.”
Our hearts direct our lives, so if your life is to be larger, your heart must be larger. Capacity always comes by being stretched. Your capacity for wisdom, pain, stress, turmoil, compassion, generosity, love—it must all get larger. To get larger, we get stretched.
Being stretched involves pain…sometimes a great deal of pain. Pain is the currency of greatness.
The US Marines say, “Pain is weakness leaving my body.” You will only rise to the level of leadership for which you are willing to accept the pain. The level of pain is directly related to the level of the position you desire. A small man put into a large position will shrink the position to match the capacity of his heart. His heart is only the size of his pain threshold. The payment for position is pain.
There are two ways you can stretch to build capacity: intimacy and adversity. Our most important stretching place is intimacy with the Father—practicing His presence, prayer, Word, time with the “brethren,” worship, meditation on the Word, fasting, the spiritual disciplines.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” (Romans 12:12 NLT)
Intimacy with God produces faith. Strength. Confidence. Deeper love. Hope. Hope is the complete confidence that God will keep His word. Intimacy with God stretches you.
We increase capacity by intimacy, and also by adversity. Jesus said we would have adversity. His half-brother James wrote:
“When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.… When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
James basically said, “Obstacles make you larger.” He knew the result of facing adversity was increased strength, largeness of heart, and greater capacity in the inner man.
Don’t resist getting larger. Capacity starts in the private moments of intimacy with God, and is revealed in the public moments of adversity.
Romans says, you are “more than a conqueror.” (Romans 8:37) Bigger. Larger. Stronger than you believe you are, or anyone has ever told you. Finding your identity in Christ will always make you a more authentic and powerful man. You are a champion.
When you kill the lions and bears in private, you can defeat the Goliaths in public. Embrace the pain, get larger. Larger capacity, greater success.
Stretch yourself this year. Do something new. Develop gifts you’ve neglected. Go after dreams you have dropped. Make new decisions. Get out of your comfort zone and go for the creative zone! Sit at the table of champions this year.
2019 will stretch you. Bring it on. Get larger—you can do all things through Christ!