July 17

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

A book on this passage became a best seller. The author aptly describes all the implications of this passage, of which I will try to make a brief summary. Jabez means pain. Imagine having a name like that! A name was often an indication of destiny. Jabez refused to accept the destiny handed to him in his name. Instead of yielding to that definition, he stood as a man more honorable than his brothers. He held himself to a higher standard.

Reaction to difficulty will make or break a person. If you see it as an excuse to justify self and compromise, it will cripple you. If you see it as a reason to strive to an even greater extent, it can be your prodding to a life above the norm. Jabez chose the latter. He asked God to change his destiny. He asked for the blessing of God to be on his life and for his territory to be enlarged. Territory implied the space of his influence. We need to ask God to increase our ministry for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Do you desire to be even more effective?

He recognized the need for God's hand to be with him. Then he asked for God to break the destiny of his name. He asked for God to keep him from harm so that he would be free of pain. God granted his request.

Consider: Do you feel trapped by expectations others have placed on you, or your environment, or abilities? If you are asking in line with God's will, He will help you break those boundaries so you can be all God wants you to be.