Summary: Third expository sermon in series on how to reach your full potential for God - based on the Colossian church letter.
We’re in the series on "Reaching Your Full Potential for God" and the greatest part of this idea is that the purpose of reaching your full potential is "for God."
We’re not talking about you reaching your full potential just for your own benefit. The greatest reason you should desire to reach your full potential is for God. God has done so much for you by creating you, giving you life, and providing eternal life through Christ that you should desire to reach your full potential to honor Him, to bring Him the recognition of which He is worthy.
The way to reach your full potential for God is nowhere explained more fully than in the third chapter to Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christ followers. Today we’re going to learn "Potential-Building Principles for Every Day." We’re going to get right to the very practical help from God in the every day settings of your life.
What do you do in your day-to-day experience to reach your full potential for God?
1. "Set your heart on what is in heaven." (Col. 3:1-4)
Colossians 3:1 (CEV) You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side.
2 Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.
3 You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.
4 Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory.
"The Bible shows that all of us have a choice. It isn’t just a choice between God and the Devil or Heaven and Hell. No, this choice is much more subtle. Each day you and I must choose the kind of treasure to which we will devote our lives. Either we will spend our lives filling our attic and our garage with a lifetime of collectibles or we will spend our lives laying up treasures in Heaven. (Luke12:33-34)" – Mark Tabb, Living With Less
Setting your heart on heaven is not always an easy thing to do. It clearly takes a God-honoring act of faith. It takes self-discipline versus self-absorption. But the great reward is God Himself. The more you set your heart on heaven the more focused you become on God. This is where joy and peace come from. They don’t come from the acquisition and hoarding of material things – they come from knowing God better.
Paul said in verse 4 – "Christ gives meaning to your life." Circle that phrase. Money doesn’t provide the meaning for life. Money is a tool. Pleasure doesn’t provide the meaning for life. The right kind of pleasure is just the icing on the cake. But the cake itself is your walk with God, your friendship with Him.
In 1934, when twenty-eight-year-old John Stam, missionary to China, was being led away to execution by the communists with his wife Betty, someone on the road asked, "Where are you going?" John laid hold on the hope set before him and said, "We are going to heaven."
No matter what happens to the child of God they always have victory because they are going to heaven! So set your heart on what is in heaven. The first every-day potential-building principle is "set your heart on what is in heaven." The second one is this:
2. "Don’t be controlled by your body." (Col. 3:5-9)
5 Don’t be controlled by your body. (Circle that very important phrase which Paul goes on to clarify by giving you some practical examples of how to not be controlled by your body.) Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy which is the same as worshipping idols.
6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.
7 And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.
8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.
9 And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.
Paul covers sins that range from your sex life to your speech life. His unifying theme is "just because your body wants to do something doesn’t mean it’s okay to do it."
You have to check with God’s instructions, instructions that have been given to benefit you and those around you. People who are controlled by their bodies don’t reach their full potential for God. So this is a very important potential-building principle for your every day life.
Like Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20) and "I die daily." (1 Corin. 15:31) Every day of your life your body will be telling you to stay in bed when you need to get up. It will tell you to have that second piece of chocolate cake. The development of the ability to discipline your self is essential in order to reach your full potential for God.