September 5, 2007 Edition

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Potential

By Matt Mosler
Guest Writer

"It's a sin to waste your potential." -A Bronx Tale

What makes a champion? Certainly talent is an element. But talent without hard work and discipline will take you nowhere. And even if through hard work and discipline you hone that talent to a razor sharp edge it still won't get you to where you could be unless you have the passion to get you there.

God created each and every one of us with unique talents (Ps. 139:15-16, I Cor. 12:4-7). We've been commanded to make the most of those talents through hard work and discipline (Rom. 12:1-2, I Cor. 9:24). But unless we have the passion to seek a deeper life through Christ we'll never become the person God created to be.

I asked a friend of mine one time what was his passion. He paused for a few moments then looked up at me sadly and said with complete honesty, "I don't have one." I believe there may be more than a few folks out there who feel the same way ... but that wasn't always the case, was it?

Can you remember back when you were a kid and all those dreams you had and the life you were going to live? What happened to those dreams? For many of us as we got older life intervened and soon those childish dreams that God placed in our hearts seemed too far out of reach. There's no way we could ever become that person. So we forfeited the extraordinary for the ordinary. But the dream never completely died.

Others of us had our lives all mapped out. That dream was just a childhood fantasy. It wasn't real life. We had responsibilities and commitments. Chasing fantasies was folly. So we buried the dream under a mountain of stuff and tried to forget about it. But on those quiet nights we can still hear the voice calling us to something more.

Then there are those who never quite forgot about the dream and against all common sense followed it. They had the passion to risk the perception of an ordinary life for the reality of the supercharged life (Jn. 10:10).

What about now? Is it too late to stir up that passion? Is it too late to reclaim the dream? Is it still possible to live the life God created you to live? Why not! Just because you stumbled out of the gate doesn't mean you can't run the race God has set before you? (Heb. 12:1) Just remember the most important element in fulfilling your potential is the desire to do so. Paul told Timothy that neither his mother nor his grandmother could do anything with the gift that God gave him. If he ever hoped to fulfill his potential HE had to kindle afresh the gift of God which was in him (2 Tim. 1:6).

But how do you stir up a fire that has died? You stoke it by surrounding yourself with others who are also pursuing the upward call. (2 Tim. 2:22) As the old saying goes you can't soar with the eagles if you're running around with the turkeys. The Christian life is not a solo act. You need inspiration and encouragement and accountability (Prov. 27:17, Heb. 10:24-25). You need to seek it and you need to give it.

But if encouragement fans the embers of passion experience adds the fuel. The only way to grow your faith stronger is by exercising it now and then. Peter was the only disciple to walk on water and by the end of his life not only was he healing people but so was his shadow! (Acts. 5:15) Elisha experienced so much as Elijah's disciple he wanted twice as much of the Spirit (2 Kings 2:9). And Paul ... Paul couldn't get enough of Christ. He just kept pressing forward for more and more, pouring out his life until he finished the race. (Phil 3:12-13, 2 Tim. 4:7-8)

Your fire may be smoldering but it's not dead. The life God created you to live is still possible. Get back in His word. Get back around passionate people and get to fanning that flame.

(Matt Mosler is the director of Beautiful Feet Ministries. Contact him at matt@mattmosler.com)

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