This is the fourth article in The Solid Rock Principles of Jesus series. Previous articles are always available at http://www.webbweekly.com.
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25
The solid rock principle of freedom addresses potential. It explores the question: What is holding me back?
Potential is defined as latent (existing but not yet known or developed) qualities or abilities. We all have potential, but we don’t know the full extent of our potential until we pursue it. The healthy pursuit of potential generally reveals more potential. It’s likely that none of us will ever exhaust our full potential.
Very few people can claim to have reached the peak of all human potential in one discipline. When they do, we call them the GOAT—the Greatest Of All Time.
Roger Bannister was the GOAT in the mile run. On May 6, 1954, in Oxford, England, he accomplished something believed to be impossible: running a mile in under four minutes. His time: 3:59.40.
He barely broke through, but his feat established the new impossible standard—running a mile under 3:50. That impossibility was overcome 21 years later in Gothenburg, Sweden, by the new mile GOAT, John Walker of New Zealand. His impossible time—3:49:40.
So what exactly is impossible? We don’t know. Human potential just keeps stretching the limits.
The current world record in the mile is held by GOAT Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, with a time of 3:43:13. The women’s mile GOAT is Faith Kipyegon of Kenya at 4:07.64. Is a sub 3:40 mile humanly possible for a man? Is a sub 4:00 minute mile humanly possible for a woman?
One thing is certain: someone believes it is possible, and right now, they are laser-focused on proving it can be done. To succeed, they will dedicate themselves to harnessing the potential of every aspect of life: mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational. Every GOAT knows that all of life must be harnessed for full potential to be realized. A GOAT can’t afford any weakness.
I doubt I’ll ever be the GOAT in anything. Knowing that doesn’t keep me from pursuing my personal best. And just like a GOAT, if I’m going to succeed at being the best I can be, then I must harness the potential of every aspect of life. Doing so will require disciplined focus and freedom. Your personal best is impossible to achieve if you’re allowing anything to hold you in bondage. Freedom is the essential prerequisite of potential.
The writer of Hebrews confirms this truth in 12:1-3,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The Truth About Freedom
You are free because God has given you of His indomitable Spirit—unconquerable, brave, and determined—impossible to deter, defeat, or frighten—even in the face of great suffering and death.
II Corinthians 3:17 declares, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
In John 8:36, Jesus declares, If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.
Galatians 5:1 declares It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
It is only in freedom that we can achieve our highest potential. Bondage to anything – addictive habits or substances, dysfunctional relationships, emotional and mental stress, obsessive thoughts, spiritual confusion, physical laziness – ultimately steals away our potential.
The Disciplines of Freedom
1. Purpose. Purpose defeats the primary enemies of potential—aimlessness, meaninglessness, and entitlement. Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that where there is no vision, the people perish.
Purpose questions: Why am I here? What am I aiming for? What is the purpose of my life? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, then you’re wandering aimlessly through life – and your potential is being squandered. Find your purpose – and then pursue it!
2. Excellence. The disciplined pursuit of excellence removes anything that hinders my potential. Excellence questions: What is holding me back? Is what I’m doing praiseworthy? What am I unwilling to risk or sacrifice in the pursuit of excellence? Being truthful as you consider these questions is essential as you pursue your potential. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:23 and Philippians 4:8.
3. Perseverance. Obstacles are everywhere. See II Corinthians 4:8-9. They are allowed by God to provide the motivational energy required for the transformational struggle of overcoming. Overcoming obstacles increases knowledge, wisdom, strength, courage, and faith—greatly expanding potential. See James 1:2-4.
Perseverance questions: Do obstacles defeat me? Do I see them as punishment that induces demotivating guilt or as Godly discipline that spurs me on to greater maturity and potential? See Hebrews 12:7-11. Do I identify as a victim, seeking excuses over solutions? Whatever the obstacle is, God has allowed it, so you would overcome it. It’s how He makes us stronger and deeper.
Only God knows all He has designed for you to accomplish. Frankly, His design for us is far greater than what we believe it is. Part of our worship is pursuing that full potential. Friend, guard the freedom Jesus bought for you and use it to pursue your best. It’s never too late to get started – so start today!