Living to Potential

Galatians 1:15-16. The apostle Paul realized that before he was ever born, God had mapped out a plan for his life that was so far-reaching it’s hard to grasp. God chose him to see Christ, and then preach His gospel among the Gentiles (v. 16). Back when travel was hard and communication was short-ranged, Paul crisscrossed the known world, leaving behind Christians and churches like a trail of breadcrumbs. Perhaps more significantly, the letters he wrote these people have lasted almost two thousand years, and they remain some of the most well-known and loved pieces of literature in history. Paul was (understandably) blown away by the plans God gave him to complete. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given…” (Eph. 3:8).

Jeremiah 1:5-10. Jeremiah too was floored when he caught a glimpse of God’s will for his life. He was ordained as God’s prophet to the nations while he was still a baby in the womb (v. 5)! God gave him responsibility over whole cultures (“nations”) and kingdoms. Jeremiah was in the position to root out, to destroy, to build, and to plant (v. 10); all this with just his mouth, speaking for God (v. 7). It’s no wonder he cried: “Lord, I cannot speak, for I am a child” (v. 6). But speak he did, before kings and common people. And the things he spoke as prophecy have happened exactly as promised. A few examples (of both the destroying and the building up kind) can be found in these verses: Jer. 51:25-26; 31:38-40; 49:17-20.

Paul and Jeremiah both lived to their potential. They saw the plans God had made for them be completed. All those heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11 got to see God’s plans fulfilled as well. But the crazy thought to take home is this: those heroes of the Bible are there as examples for us! Hebrews 12:1 says that, eyeing their example, we need to run our own race with endurance. We have to be so careful, or we’ll drop out and fail, like Esau did (Heb. 12:15-16).

But think of this, if they are our examples, that means God has plans that are equal in scale for you and for me! After all, God has designated and empowered us as His witnesses to the rest of the world… Acts 1:8. And believe me, God’s plan for you and me is so much bigger than being a good pew-warmer, a consistent tither, a hungry learner, or a world-class tract giver.

I get so scared sometimes that I’m not accomplishing the incredible plan God made for my life. In fact, I know that I’m far from seeing the things God wants to accomplish through me. But boy, do I ever want to keep getting closer to my potential!

Ps. 34:3

4 Responses to “Living to Potential”

  1. Naomi Bonikowsky says:

    Thanks David! This was a blessing.

  2. (The website is now used and run by my son, Mack Swaringen) I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your message. It reminded me of Paul’s shocked response, “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Acts 9:6
    And also Gideon: “…Oh my Lord, Wherewith shall I save Israel? My family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15
    Thanks, praying for you…

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