Summary: What does it take to realize the God given potential each has been given?
A few weeks ago I said one element of success is growing to your maximum potential. Growth requires change and without change, we are not stimulated to being successful. Consider this question. How many of you feel today that God has a bigger purpose for you then you have yet attained, that there is actually something bigger than you that God wants to partner with you to pursue? Well, if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten and the only way to break the pattern is to change.
Consider the children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness, doing the same thing they had always done. In Egypt, they murmured and complained and things never changed even though the scenery did except for two, Joshua and Caleb, who lead a new generation to the promise land of God. I like Caleb, even more so as I get older. Caleb was not willing to sit back and rest on his accomplishments. He was ready to start out for a new adventure, he was ready for change. Turn to Joshua 14:10-12.
As you study the Scriptures, you will find certain characteristics in successful people, people like Caleb, people who have not stopped in their journey, but continue to expand their horizons, knowing there is something great then them that God is desiring to accomplish through them, committed people to personal growth. Will you commit with me today to your own personal growth as we enjoy the journey of life? Let me give you 10 principles to grow by.
1. Choose a Life of Growth. Spanish composer and cellist Pablo Casals was asked in the final years of his life this question by a reporter, "Mr. Casals, you are ninety-five years old and the greatest cellist that has ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day? Casals answer, "Because I think I’m making progress." Like Caleb, I am still ready to fight. People who reach their potential, not matter how young or old, are people who think in terms of improvement.
Listen to me this morning, the only way to improve the quality of your life is to improve yourself. If you want to have better children, you must become a better person. If you want others to treat you more kindly, you must develop better people skills, and on and on it goes. There is no way to make other people improve, the only thing you truly have the ability to do is improve yourself. And the only way you will grow is if you choose to.
2. Start Growing today Caleb did not say give me a year or two and I will be ready to fight, he said I am just as ready today. Napoleon Hill said, "It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts." Lets resolve today to drop the motto of many, "One of these days." Okay? An English Proverb says, "One of these days means none of these days."
Why do you need to determine to start growing today? First, growth is not automatic. Just because you grow older does not mean you continue to grow. A lobster has to shed its shell as it grows, but that is not the trend of people. Understand the road to the next level is always uphill they continued to remind us at the leadership conference I just returned from. Secondly, growth today will provide a better tomorrow. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." Growth today is an investment for tomorrow. That’s why I believe the school of ministry we are beginning this fall, even though the college classes cost money, will reap dividends in the future for it is an investment in time, finances and talent. Third, Growth is your responsibility. When you were a child, your parents were responsible for you, even your growth and education, but guess what, your an adult, you bear the responsibility, and if you are not responsible, then growth will not happen.
3. Be Teachable When you remain teachable, when you understand you have not finally arrived, then your potential is almost unlimited.
4. Focus on self-development, not self-fulfillment. In the late 60’s, people began to talk about "finding themselves", or in other words, they began a quest for their own self-fulfillment which is different from self-development. Self-development is the development of your potential so that you can attain the purpose for which you were created, it is drawing yourself toward your destiny. Rabbi Samuel Silver taught that "the greatest of all miracles is that we need not be tomorrow what we are today, but we can improve if we make use of the potential implanted in us by God."