I used to dread hearing from others, “You have so much potential.” This implied in my mind far too painfully that I still had a long way to go in more ways that I could imagine.
Lately I don’t hear that so much any more. I suspect getting older has something to do with it. If I haven’t reached my potential by age 58, well, it’s probably too late.
But today I found myself contemplating an old-friend verse of Scripture that puts the “P” word in a different light, one that a follower of Jesus and a treasurer of His gospel never outlives or grows.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This text declares some radical things. By faith in Christ we gain more than the benefits of the cross; we get united to Christ in His death. So much so that we no longer live. That is to say that Christ doesn’t just make us new and improved persons, but that he makes us utterly different at the core.
Lane and Tripp, in their book How People Change, drive home the significance of this truth for understanding the exciting prospect of gospel potential:
When you grasp the fundamental nature of this change within you as a believer, you will begin to grasp your true potential. You are not the same as you once were. You have been forever changed. You no longer live under the weight of the law or the domination of sin. Christ’s death fulfilled the law’s requirements and broke the power of sin. You do not have to give in to sin. You can live in new ways amid the same old situations, because when Christ died physically, you died spiritually. This constitutional change is permanent! Do you view yourself with this kind of potential for a new life in Christ?
Suddenly the “P” word doesn’t look dreadful. It looks downright delightful.