Don’t throw away your spiritual potential

Published 5:43 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

I like fresh fruit a lot and for the past few weeks I have been trying to choose it over some of the other much less healthy snacks that have worked their way into my daily eating habits.  As I was enjoying a delicious piece of citrus fruit I noticed that it had many seeds.  As I counted the seeds that I had removed from just one tangerine I found that there were more than two dozen in that single fruit.  If it was possible for each of those seeds to turn into a productive tree, that would be quite an impact from one little piece of fruit.
Although I enjoy growing things I did not plant those seeds—I threw them in the trash.  No matter how much potential was contained in them, none of it will ever be realized since the seeds never had an opportunity to prove their worth.
I know very little about the propagation of citrus trees and I do not know if those seeds really possessed the ability to sprout and come up, but I do know that our lives are full of potential because God designed us that way.  Some of us have different opportunities than others and some are talented in more areas than others, but we all have potential—potential to live Godly lives and make a positive difference in the lives of others and in our world.  Unfortunately we too often waste our God-given potential by using our time and abilities for purposes that are not fully pleasing to God.  The good news is that He will help us to reverse that wasteful way of living if we will submit to Him and allow Him to take control of our lives.
In the New Testament Christ said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39, New International Version).  In that same chapter He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love you neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (verses 43-44).
While in conversation with a preacher friend about those kinds of directives from the Bible, we both agreed that it takes more than self effort to live up to them;  I sometimes refer to them as “impossible commands.”  While we cannot live up to the righteous demands of God in our personal power, we can rely upon Him to help us to be what He wants us to be.  In like manner, He will help us to utilize the opportunities that He sends our way so that our spiritual potential can become reality.
During these early days of 2015 many of us are still considering what we would like to see achieved this year:  perhaps overcoming undesirable habits and developing better ones, doing more to help others through the local church, and taking measures to make the community a better place to live.  We all have potential to help make a positive difference and God wants to help us achieve what would be impossible on our own.  Never forget that our potential in God’s service is valuable to His Kingdom; it is too precious to waste.

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