Fulfilling our Potential

We were created in God’s image. It’s an awesome concept. I don’t mean physically, but rather our essence, our persona is God-like.

It’s a unique construct in creation. First God makes the entire universe, with all it’s intricacies and foibles, then as his final flourish he creates Man in His own image. A self-determining being with free-will and a purpose to determine what path he will follow.

That being said, we have a responsibility in our freedom. God placed in each of us the seeds of greatness. Every human being ever created has the potential to do incredible things for God and to change the world.

The responsibility is mind-blowing. Each one of us changes the world with every breath we take.

William Wallace in Braveheart says something to the effect of “Every man dies, not every man really lives.” In our lives for Christ, how true is this? We are called to do incredible things for God, but every day we chicken out. I wrote in another entry of how I failed to act when a young father had died, how I missed a God-sent opportunity to minister to a grieving family because of fear. I am not paralysed by this memory, nor am I afraid to declare my humanity. I long to live in the way God wants me to live, but my human nature gets in the way.

St Paul had the same issue. He said “I can anticipate the response that is coming: ‘I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?’ Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.” (Romans 7:14-16 The Message) If the great writer and scholar such as Paul had these struggles, how arrogant would I be to try to say I have it down!

Paul lived his entire New life based on two simple questions after he met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. Those questions were:

1) Who are you?
2) What do you want me to do?

Everything in Paul’s life stemmed from those questions, from his missionary journeys up to his execution for declaring Jesus as the Christ. Even then there was more he probably wanted to do, but he lived his potential from those simple questions.

We can do the same.

Part of the reason I write this little blog is that I asked God what I should do, and I believe He told me to write. I asked what I should call what I do, and He led me to Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” (Amplified) He told me not to be afraid of men or of criticism, but to write what I felt He placed in my heart, so this is what I do.

I became a Christian after my brother was killed in a road accident. I blamed God, I blamed myself, actually I blamed everyone except the driver that hit him – mainly because I know how he used to ride a bike! I had an encounter with Jesus that turned my life around in a quiet way at first, but has guided me ever since. I had a wandering away in my late teens and early twenties, but He kept calling me back. Through the early years in my marriage, He kept nudging me back to Himself. I’ve had the urge to write, to proclaim God’s goodness for years, and only now have I begun to find an outlet for that.

Potential is tricky. Bruce Wilkinson refers to what I thinnk of as potential as a person’s Big Dream. I love that concept, and I have immense respect for his writing. I have read and re-read “The Dream Giver” over and over again, and it was the inspiration that finally gave me the nudge to start writing myself. I recognise myself in Ordinary. I have a dream in myself of who I can be, who I should be.

I have more potential than I know what to do with, but potential alone is worthless. We need to take action on that dream, move towards the potential for it to be worth anything.

One of my favourite concept ideas was told me many years ago by a friend who had been in the navy. He used to remind me that God treats us like a ship, and He is the rudder. Basically He doesn’t make us go anywhere, but He directs our course once we start moving. It doesn’t matter where the rudder points if the ship isn’t moving.

It’s easy to sit and procrastinate. We can watch ministers stand up and criticise the way they talk, or what they wear. I had hair I could sit on a few years ago, and a beard I could tuck into my belt. People who met me for the first time then were shocked when I started to talk about Jesus as though I knew Him. I’ve been guilty of judging others the same way. We all have.

Our potential is not limited by how we dress, but by what we do. When I rode a Harley and looked like I was a wild-man I found other bikers and wild-looking men and women talked to me. I had a lot of comments made about how I looked, but the ones making the comments were people the bikers I met avoided. It was a priviledge to be able to meet them and talk to some real people.

Each of us has gifts and a calling. You and I will meet different people and impact their lives in different ways. I work in the same place as my wife. She meets every person who comes through the door, I only meet them if they don’t pay their bill! I have a different interaction with our reception staff than she does. We impact people in the same environment in very different ways.

Our potential is God given. It is inspired and purposeful. He means us to use it to Glorify Him. We are called to do that which He created us to do – Worship Him and have full relationship with Him – and in doing that we can fulfil our potential, truly live a life that is full and passionate, exciting and constantly stimulating, and build a deeper relationship with Him on a daily basis.

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