But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God…and now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” Acts 20:24-27 (The New American Standard Bible)

Not long ago I noticed that the Levi’s I had been wearing were getting smaller, or at least it was slightly more difficult to button them unless I made an effort to temporarily move body mass to another location. The effort reminded me that many years ago my mother bought clothing because it had the label “Sanforized” displayed in plain sight. In the garment industry at that time a process had been developed that prevented fabric from shrinking when washed in warm water with harsh detergents. No doubt today’s fabrics are of a different quality or material, and I haven’t noticed a Sanforized label in years. So, my sense of an ever-tightening waist band (waste is probably more appropriate) couldn’t be blamed on material shrinkage.

Evidence strongly suggests that the Apostle Paul was Sanforized! The Holy Spirit empowered him to not shrink from speaking the Gospel of Christ – the whole purpose of God. So I wonder what label(s) you’re sporting these days. Have you been stamped with the Spirit label, and is shrinkage still a problem each time you’re dunked into a harsh situation? When the circumstances heat up does the collar feel tighter and you find it harder to reach out through shrinking sleeves? If so, perhaps it is time to move to a new suit of clothes that never shrink. For proper fitting information, please consult the garment description in Ephesians 6:10-20.

Father grant us the power and courage to not shrink from declaring your Gospel to all those with whom we have contact.