Discovering Your Potential
My own story
We’re talking about how God wants to develop us and grow us.ÿ We’re talking abuot how God sees our potential like no one else does.ÿ I thought that right up front I ought to tell you about myself.ÿ Because the way that most of you know me is through this medium–a teacher.ÿ And it is a completely inaccurate medium.ÿ Because here I am, all prepared and studied, giving you exactly what I planned to give. If only you knew the way I am from day to day.ÿ If only you knew what I have been in life.ÿ I could tell you some things.ÿ And it would probably make us all feel better about ourselves.ÿ But I would get too embarassed. I’m saying this because, without a doubt, none of the things that you think, “Buck McCallum is good at this,” would be true today if it weren’t for God at work in my life.ÿ None of them. Before I let God start to change me, I had habbits with people that were destructive and alienating.ÿ I was very insecure.ÿ I was kind of weird. But God has been able to change me so much that I’m able to make an impact, not only in this way, but in other ways.ÿ And that makes me real happy.ÿ Because none of it would have been possible without God. So, when you talk to me, I know God is good.ÿ I know God loves me.ÿ When someone says, “Why should I listen to God?” the answer is automatic to me.ÿ “Because he loves you.ÿ Because he wants the best for you.” “Will God change me if I become a Christian?”ÿ Without hesitation, “You bet he’ll change you!”ÿ And when he does, you’re going to look back and say, “I can’t believe it!ÿ Thank you God!” And there will also be people who don’t let God change them.ÿ And they’ll be the same.ÿ And they’ll regret it. So, there’s my point of view.ÿ There’s my experience.ÿ I know God loves us and my life is proof of that.
God knows us best
The first thing that I want to talk about in connection with our topic is the fact that God is all-knowing.ÿ It’s more than a knowledge of how the universe runs, it’s personal.
Luke 12:6, 7
Here’s a passage that says something kind of startling.ÿ It is startling enough that it makes you wonder if it is just a figure of speachÿ.ÿ.ÿ. (anywhere from 80 to 120 thousand hairs!)ÿ You’d have to figure that hairs aren’t the only thing that God is so knowledgable about.ÿ In fact, I think the point here is that if God knows about this most insignificant area, then he knows about everything. So, here is the thesis: There is no one in the whole universe who knows you as well as God does.
We think we do
Now, some of us are sitting here and saying, “I know, I know, God knows everthing.ÿ That’s a basic about God.ÿ Blah, blah, blah.” Don’t assume that you know this, and especially don’t assume that you believe it.ÿ This issue is the major bone of contention between ourselves and God.ÿ We think that we know ourselves, and nobody knows us better than we know ourselves, including God. If we really believed that God knew us better than we know ourselves, think of it.ÿ We would look at everything we do and realize, “God has a better way than mine.” We would look at the ways that we use to feel good and say, “I’m sure that God’s way is better.” ÿHowever I feel good, eating food, drinking, drugs, money, whatever.ÿ We would say, “I’m sure that my way is vastly inferior!ÿ I’m settling for matchbox cars when I could be driving the real thing.” We would look at God’s view of money, possessions and career and say, “OK, that’s what I want too,” even though what he says may fly in the face of every commercial, every opinion, etc. that you have ever heard. We would look at God’s view of sexuality and say, “I’m sure his way is better!ÿ He designed it.ÿ I’m sure he understands how it should be used better than I do!” Is that what I hear when I talk to people about their sexuality?ÿ Hardly!ÿ I hear anger!ÿ “That’s the one thing about Christianity that I’m not going to tolerate!”ÿ It’s amazing.ÿ But these same people believe that God exists.ÿ They believe he is the infinite God who knows all things.ÿ It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Example: I remember when I was in 8th grade, I rode a motorcycle once.ÿ Just once!ÿ But that didn’t matter, because now I was an expert on motorcycles.ÿ I went around blabbling about how to pop a wheely and how to bang through the geers and on and on.ÿ It was embarassing! But that’s the way we are about so many things.ÿ We have had some experience with sex.ÿ Or we’ve had some experience with romance.ÿ Or we’ve had some experience with whatever and we’ve read some things.ÿ And then we’re going to turn to the God of the universe and say, “I know better!”ÿ Even if you’ve had 10 years of experience with sex!ÿ Even if you’ve had 20 years experience at trying to feel good!ÿ We’re going to turn to the God of the universe, who actually created human beings and say, “I’m fine, I think I understand more than you?”ÿ It’s an embarassing picture when you really think about it. And yet, that’s what we all do.ÿ About different areas of our life, we think we know better than God.ÿ And it shows by our actions. So don’t assume that you believe God knows you better than you know yourself.ÿ This is a very hotly contested and disbelieved proposition. This kind of leads into our next point.ÿ But I think the first step for all of us is to see that we don’t believe God knows us best.ÿ To see that we really believe that we know ourselves best, and our actions show that.
Steps to finding what God sees in me
I want to talk along a positive vein about finding out what God sees inside of you.ÿ If he does know me better than I know myself, then what does he know?ÿ Will he tell me what he knows?ÿ And the answer is that he knows a lot.ÿ He knows things about you that would really surprise you.ÿ And yes, he does want to share that knowledge with you. So, now we’re going to talk about how that can happen.
Faith is the Bible’s term for a decision you make.ÿ You decide whether you are going to believe what God says.ÿ This is something that God requires.ÿ He requires that we decide.ÿ “Are you going to believe me or not?”ÿ He has a lot of things to say, but he’s not going to waste his breath on someone who doesn’t even want to hear what he has to say. This makes a lot of sense.ÿ Because of God gives us his insight before we’re ready to hear it, we’ll trash it.ÿ We’ll lampoon it in our minds.ÿ We’ll tear it up and throw it away. Example: I remember I was in conflict with someone and I went to get some advice.ÿ It was from my wife.ÿ She told me what I ought to do, and she was right.ÿ Mistake was, though, I wasn’t ready to hear it.ÿ I didn’t want to hear what was right.ÿ I wanted to hear someone who agreed with me.ÿ And the sad thing is that I then made her pay the price, as I attacked her and her stupid views.ÿ I found every reason I could to discard what she said. Well, Jesus talked about this type of thing in Matthewÿ7, when he said, “Don’t give pearls to pigs, cause if it’s not food, they’ll just stomp on them and grind them into the mud.” I hate to see it about myself, but a lot of times I’m a pig.ÿ I have no regard for what’s precious. But God waits until we’re ready.ÿ A lot of people get the feeling that God never talks to me.ÿ “It seems like I never get any insight about myself, or what God wants me to do.ÿ Is there something wrong with me?ÿ Am I really a Christian?” Here is a place to start.ÿ Do you really want to hear?ÿ Are you at the point with God where you can come and say, “God, I want to hear your perspective, I want to hear your point of view, and I don’t care what it is.ÿ Because I know that you know better than me.”ÿ That is faith. Example: There are some powerful stories of faith in the Bible.ÿ But one that always amazes me is the story of Abraham, when he first started following God.ÿ The Bible tells us that God came to Abraham and said, “Abraham, I have something great for you!ÿ I want to give you a key role in my plan to save the world.”ÿ But then God said that he wanted Abraham to leave his home and family, and move to another place.ÿ Then Abraham said, “Where?”ÿ And God said, “I’ll show you when you get there!” Hebrews 11:8 says,ÿ.ÿ.ÿ. So there’s faith.ÿ You have to consider if you’re ready to put your faith in God.ÿ Do you really believe that he’s God?ÿ Do you really believe that he knows you better than you know yourself?ÿ Are you ready to trust him, no matter what he might show you?
A willingness to leave behindÿ.ÿ.ÿ.
There is one facet of this decision which is implied, but I don’t want to take anything for granted.ÿ If you are going to come to God in faith, and say, “God I believe you know me better than I know myself.ÿ Show me what you have for me.ÿ And whatever it is, I want it.”ÿ Then that implies that you have to be willing to leave behind something.ÿ You have to be wiling to leave behind the picture of yourself that you’ve created over the years. Example: Abraham, when he was called to go to another land, had to leave behind the place he was.ÿ It was one in the same. And that’s the way it often is with us.ÿ I’m not saying that God is going to take everything from you.ÿ What I am saying is that if he points to something and says, “I’ve got something better,” then there has to be a resolve on our part to let it go.ÿ And it can be quite painful.ÿ Because you’re letting go of something that you may have trusted for years. Example: Let me get real practical about what I mean.ÿ I for a long time have conceived of myself as a person who is very independant, and doesn’t really care what anyone thinks.ÿ I can remember being embarassed once in the first grade, when me and Bradly Palmer had captured a couple milk cartons and replaced the contents with urine.ÿ We were in the process of putting them back where they could be purchased when we were caught.ÿ For this, we received a paddling in front of the entire class (actually, it was the kind of thing where the principle would come with the paddle in hand and call you out into the hall, then the whole class would listenÿ.ÿ.ÿ.).ÿ When I came back into the class all red-faced and embarassed, I looked at the kids and thought, “It doesn’t matter, cause I’m going to blow this school up anyway!” That, and other experiences developed in me a picture of someone who doesn’t care what anyone thinks.ÿ And God began to put a finger on that area of my life, “I want you to be the kind of person who is real sensitive to what people think.”ÿ That posed a real dilemma.ÿ Was I willing to give up something that had been a source of strength for me all those years? So, this is tough.ÿ I know it’s tough because God and I have argued about different issues like this for some time.ÿ But it all comes down to this: Is it really true that God knows more about us than we know about ourselves?ÿ Is it really true that he loves us? If the answer to those questions is yes, then there is absolutely no debateÿ.ÿ.ÿ. I want you to think about where you stand on thisÿ.ÿ.ÿ.
The context: people
I want to end on this note: When people talk about developing themselves, it is almost always some kind of a self-centered quest to find my potential.ÿ “How great can I be?” There is a great secret here that we are going to explore in the next several weeks.ÿ And that is that God designed our abilities and strengths to come to light in a certain atmosphere.ÿ They will bloom only under the right conditions. This is what we’re going to be talking about over the next couple weeksÿ.ÿ.ÿ.