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Meeting Our Full Potential

Meeting Our Full Potential

   2/9/18 marked the start of the Winter Olympic games held in PyeongChang, South Korea. Those with the aptitude for greatness in their sports were chosen, some at a very young age and much preparation has gone toward their participation in these games. When those of certain abilities are identified, these athletes are coached, encouraged and in some cases self-driven to seek their fullest potential. Then they are selected to compete to determine who is the strongest, the fastest, the best in their respective sports.

    Those who participate in and excel in their sport to a degree greater than their fellow competitors receive a prize commensurate to the level of their excellence in the particular discipline.   Those who are judged as the best receive the Gold metal; the second best receives the Silver Metal and the third place winner is awarded the Bronze metal.   Often times those who receive these metals in their events go on in life to be successful in their lives after the games.  

   This is likely because they have learned the benefit of hard work, dedication and determination. Those who succeed in the games often apply these principles to the other aspects of their lives and thereby become and remain successful as the world measures success.   Can we not see that these same qualities are beneficial in the spiritual realm?  

   God, knowing the hearts of all men, knew that Saul, who was persecuting the church had these same qualities that would make him quite beneficial to the spread of the gospel throughout the known world at that time.   Ananias was directed by the Lord to inform Saul so he would know how to become a Christian.   Following the excuses made by Ananias, we find in Acts 9:15 what the Lord said to Ananias and what great work was planned for Saul. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 

     But Saul was not instantly “transformed” into a great preacher of the gospel upon his obedience to the gospel. We read in Acts 9:19 that following his baptism, Saul spent certain days with the disciples in Damascus. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.       While Saul did indeed receive the Words to preach from the Spirit, he had to first “give up some things” before he could be on God’s team. This is not unlike the athlete that competes at the games.   Each sets a goal and then must work toward reaching that goal. The Olympic athlete often gives up time with friends or other social activities to train and prepare. He or she willingly sacrifices to reach the goal.

   Saul (Paul) had much in his life that he had to forfeit to do what the Lord wanted him to do. Yet, he gladly gave them up to please God. In Philippians 3:4-8 we find a list of things Paul was willing to give up. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 

    He gave these up to gain a prize that can only be gained by first starting the race and then continue while keeping the rules and striving for that prize. The Spirit had him describe the way we can reach our full potential in the kingdom of God and the race we run in 1Corinthians 9:24-27. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 

     This is possible only if we keep that goal before us and make the necessary sacrifices in this life. This also can only be done if we have great love for God and His Word. Let us all bring our bodies into subjection and strive to reach our full spiritual potential and reach for the prize of eternity with God.  We are to do this willingly to gain that incorruptible crown. We also should be reminded that we have not yet received the crown.  

     Past victories are but stepping stones to receiving the great and final prize as the Spirit had Paul write in Philippians 3:12-14. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                Dennis S – Mooresville

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