Do you want to reach your full potential for God? You can and the Bible gives direction for the process.
In 931 B.C., the Holy Land was divided with Israel to the north and Judah to the south. In quick order, the northern nation of Israel found itself fully corrupted. This corruption was present from the King’s throne room down to the lowly shack’s of the poor. The once great nation of God was tarnished and false religions abounded. It was in this wretched setting that the fiery prophet Elijah came like a tornado preaching the holiness and judgment of God.
After finishing the work he was called to do, God informs Elijah that He will take him out of this world (raptured just like Enoch). As he prepares for this imminent moment, he goes on a final tour of the land. He stops by a local school of the prophets. We would call it a seminary, a place for students to be taught how to hear from God and to understand His Word.
Now, Elijah had a young man in training with him named, ELISHA. Like most young people, Elisha was full of vigor. He wanted his life to be a testimony of God’s great power (I hope you do as well). If we were to ask Elisha, “What are the steps to reaching our full potential for God?” I believe he would answer us by giving these important steps.
Step 1: We must be DISCIPLED
“When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel.” ~2 Kings 2: 1-2 (NLT)
Elisha had his mind made up. He needed a mentor. If he was to reach his full potential he needed to be with someone that would challenge him, encourage him, inspire him, and teach him. So he placed himself under the mentor-ship of the greatest prophet of God in the land.
Question: Is there someone you look up to in the Christian faith? Have you approached them to be your mentor?
Elisha was so serious about his need to be mentored by Elijah, that when offered the opportunity, the Bible says Elisha burned his ox cart (1 Kings 19: 15-21). Why? So he would have no temptation to turn back. Elisha connected his life to Elijah. The disciples learned at the feet of Jesus. Paul learned from Gamaliel. Timothy and Titus learned from Paul. Timothy trained other men and Titus instructed the older women to teach the younger women (2nd Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:3-5). Think of this. When Jesus called the disciples, He called them individually, but the first move Jesus made was to connect them to the group – (12). When He was ready to send them out to do ministry, He sent them two by two.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” ~Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
A great inventor was once asked how he came up with such amazing inventions. He replied, “If it seems that I can see higher and reach farther than those who went before me, it is because I’m standing on their shoulders.”
Along with our need for a mentor, God has also given us His Word, the Bible. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” ~2nd Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
Step 2: We must be DEDICATED
Elijah had a burning conviction that if his life was going to be a testament to God’s glory, he could not settle. It wasn’t enough to simply be trained by the great prophet, Elisha wanted his own life to be all it could be for God. So he stayed close to Elijah to learn all he could even when it was tough. Like Elijah, every one of us have a God-shaped hole in our heart and nothing can feel that void except a personal relationship with God through Christ, and to live our lives on mission for Him. As they journeyed by the school of prophets, the students tried to discourage Elisha. “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” “Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho.” But Elisha replied again, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” ~2nd Kings 2: 3-4 (NLT)
Elisha demonstrated for us that to reach our full potential…
a. We don’t settle
b. We don’t listen to negativity
I heard Pastor Ed Young Jr once say that he was told by his seminary professor that he gave him a grade of “B” in preaching because he acted like he was preaching to thousands in class…Today, he preaches to nearly 20,000 every weekend.
c. We don’t quit
Elijah even tried to discourage Elisha. I believe he was putting Elisha to the test. He wanted to see if he Elisha really wanted his life to be used for God or not.
Step 3: We must be DETERMINED
Elisha wasn’t satisfied simply being like Elijah. He wanted more. He had a desire to go higher, deeper, and farther in his life than even his mentor. Elijah asked him one day what he wanted, he replied, “…let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” ~2nd Kings 2:9 (ESV)
He wasn’t being arrogant, he was being determined. How about you?
How bad do you want your life to be used for the glory of God? Every generation has the potential to do greater works for God than the generation before them. It will take the humility to ask someone to be your mentor and to be a serious student of the Bible. You will have to be dedicated, never settling for less than your best. You cannot afford to waste time and energy listening to the voices of discouragement. You must be determined. Have a desire to reach beyond your dreams and dream a God-sized dream.
“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~Ephesians 3: 16-21 (NKJV)