Becoming People of Realized Potential
Your God will be My God
One of God’s greatest gifts to humans is the exclusive ability to become.
I am human and I am becoming human because there is more humanity for me to personally realize.
- My house cannot become.
- Our dog cannot become.
Only to human beings has God given the gift of becoming.
I am both created in the image of God and into the image of God I am becoming.
- 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26, 27
- 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29
We have identified the four most important decisions every human being decides for becoming people of realized potential.
- With who will I travel and stay?
- Who are my people?
- Who is my God?
- Am I fully committed to these three decisions?
One of the most respected statements in Christian history addresses the decision, “Who will be my God?”
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.”
–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), 1.
There are two options on this matter, God or idolatry.
“When a finite value . . . [becomes] a center of value by which other values are judged . . . [and] has been elevated to centrality and imagined as a final source of meaning, then one has chosen what Jews and Christians call a god. . . . To be worshipped as a god, something must be sufficiently good to be plausibly regarded as the rightful center of one’s valuing. . . . One has a god when a finite value is worshipped and adored and viewed as that without which one cannot receive life joyfully.” Thomas C. Oden, Two Worlds: Notes on the Death of Modernity in America and Russia (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1992), p. 95.
Tim Keller makes idolatry easily understandable.
A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.
An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”
Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods . Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
From the research of Brian S. Rosner, Greed as Idolatry: The Origin and Meaning of a Pauline Metaphor (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2007), Keller states, “The Bible uses three basic metaphors to describe how people relate to the idols of their hearts. They love idols, trust idols, and obey idols.”
Considering the above compositely, we might say, “An idol is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living and it is so central that you love, trust and obey it.”
Becoming people of realized potential, we find ourselves with Joshua and all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. Joshua 24
With Joshua and all the tribes of Israel, we present ourselves before God. Joshua 24:1
Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.
Second, we recall the vast number of amazing things in our lives that only God could have provided and done. Joshua 24: 2-13
2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.
5 “‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. 6 When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] 7 But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.
8 “‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. 9 When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.
11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’
Third, we fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Joshua 24:14
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.
Fourth, we throw away our idols and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14
Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 14
23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Fifth, we understand it is of our own free will that we make our god/God selection. Joshua 24:15
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you
Sixth, we are personally responsible for making this, life’s most important decision.
…then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
Seventh, we record our decision, with witnesses (water baptism). Joshua 24:26
26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God.
Eighth, we set up a memorial to remind us and our witnesses of our commitment. Joshua 24:26, 27
Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives
- With Joshua and all the tribes of Israel, we present ourselves before God. Joshua 24:1
- We recall the vast number of amazing things in our lives that only God could have provided and done. Joshua 24: 2-13
- We fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Joshua 24:14
- We throw away our idols and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14
- We understand it is of our own free will that we make our god/God selection. Joshua 24:15
- We are personally responsible for making this, life’s most important decision. Joshua 24:15
- We record our decision, with witnesses (water baptism). Joshua 24:26
- We set up a memorial to remind us and our witnesses of our commitment. Joshua 24:26, 27
Listen – My Story
- What is one of your favorite aspects of what you are becoming?
- Do you know a powerful story, either positively or negatively, of someone becoming?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Pastor Kent taught the great danger of idolatry as seen in Joshua 24. Read Romans 1:21-23. What is the idolatry in this passage?
- Read Romans 1:18-20. What is God’s response to this idolatry?
- Read Romans 1:28-32. What happens in the lives of those living in this idolatry?
- Do you see Romans 1 in our world of today?
Lift – Prayer
Identify one of the Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives
- Identify one of the Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives that each member most wants to improve and pray for each person.
- Celebrate Recovery (each Tuesday, 6:30 PM, Central Campus) helps many people destroy idols in their lives. Would you consider joining? Please pray for the effectiveness of Celebrate Recovery.
- Please pray for a powerful anointing upon Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, 2019.
- Please pray for each life group member to boldly move toward becoming people of realized potential.
Life – Taking it Home
- What is the Holy Spirit asking you to add, delete or recalibrate in your life?
- Have you been baptized in water? Is this a next step for you to publicly declare your memorial?
- Who do you know, living in idolatry too, who would be blessed to be included in MCA ministries and Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames?