“The comprehension of what we have becomes the limitation of what we experience.” Jason Henderson – (Potential: The possibility of what could be.)
I recently watched a television show in which a young woman being interviewed for a job was asked the question, “What do you fear most?” To which she answered, “Wasted potential.” That really struck a chord in my spirit at the time. I just tucked it away, forgetting about it, but it seems God wasn’t finished with it yet. Months later I began reading a book by Jason Henderson called “Not I, But Christ,” which I highly recommend. In his book, he writes, “The comprehension of what we have becomes the limitation of what we experience.” Wise words! Mull on that for a while. In speaking of the incredible gift we have been given in Christ, he presents an analogy to illustrate the wasted potential of not fully comprehending the value of the gift we have been given. I am going to modify his analogy a bit and share with you my own personal experience of it.
Almost a year ago, my husband gave me the gift of a brand, spanking-new, state-of-the-art MacBook Air. In pink! Through it I now have virtually unlimited resources that I can benefit from in life. The problem is, I have not fully comprehended the value of the gift that has been given to me. I only use it for a few select things and in doing this, I am wasting the full potential of the gift that has been given to me. The provision within the computer is there, and will always be there for me to benefit from, but I must first desire to have it in order to benefit from it. If I want to experience and benefit from all that is in it, I must first desire to know it, intimately. I need to know everything I can possibly know about my computer. I have been given a wealth of potential through this device and all I have to do is take the time to search it out, so that it can be made known to me. Similarly, in speaking of the Holy Spirit that God would send to dwell within us, Jesus said, “The Spirit will take what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:15). We have been given an incredible gift! Like me and my computer, all we have to do is receive the gift, but the more we comprehend the enormity of what we have been given in this gift, the more we will be able to experience the fullness of the gift. In speaking of Christ, scripture tells us, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (II Corin. 4:7). All the knowledge I might gain comes from my computer, not from me, just as all we know and have spiritually originates from the all surpassing power of God in us. But if we never seek to know the fullness of the gift we have been given, we will never realize the value of the gift we have been given. The comprehension of what we have been given will become the limitation of what we experience. Jesus instructed us to ask, to seek, and to knock, in order to know God. (Matthew 7:7). We have to put a little effort into fully realizing the incredible gift we have been given, but the reward far outweighs the work. The better understanding I have of how my computer works, the more I realize its value to me. In Ephesians 3:16, Paul’s prayer is that, “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Could you imagine your head being filled to the measure of all the fullness of your computer? Neither could I! Yet far greater than our heads being filled to the measure of the fullness of all that is in our computers, is our hearts being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Wrap your head around that one, if you can! Our greatest fear should be the wasted potential of the measure of all the fullness of Christ in us, through the gift of God to us. He has given us all the fullness of himself, and yet we, much like me with my computer, settle for less. Like the cartoon above, we can live to our full potential, or we can potentially live beneath it. And if we, in our complacency, which is another word for lazy, are willing to settle for less, less is what we will have.
Jesus asked Philip, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?” (John 14:9). If my computer could talk, I think it would probably say the same thing. Oswald Chambers writes, “We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know him?” Good question. Has Jesus been with us so long, and yet we have not known him? Scripture tells us that we are the body of Christ, yet could it rightly be said of us, “He came unto that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Do we actually comprehend that spiritually, we are the body of Christ, “baptized by one Spirit into one body,” that Jesus is, “the head of the church, which is his body,” and that, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (I Corin. 12:13-27). Do we not know the head of our own body? Because we fail to comprehend this spiritual reality, we still look to our natural head to guide us, rather than our spiritual head. Until we see ourselves as the new spiritual man in Christ, rather than the old, natural Adamic man, we won’t see ourselves as members of Christ’s body and he as our head. As a consequence, we are somewhat of a two-headed oddity! But there can only be one head! Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if the members of your natural body attempted to dictate to the head what they wanted to be or do? As ridiculous as this would be in the natural body, it is equally as ridiculous in Christ’s. We attempt to live our lives apart from the guidance of our head and to be and do what we want to be and do. Rather than having the mind of Christ, we have minds of our own, but when there are multiple minds operating in one body, the result can only be confusion, division, and continual disappointment. (Henderson). Just as I can only do through my computer what it allows me to do, and must follow what it instructs me to do in order to fully receive from it, we can only do through Christ, our head, what he allows and instructs us to do, in order to fully receive from him. My attempts to access the resources of my computer apart from following its instructions to me of what it will and will not allow me to do, always ends in confusion and continual disappointment for me. Attempting to follow our own will apart from the instruction and guidance of Christ, who is the head of our body, will only do the same. We have been given the fullness of Christ and all that is in Him. We are a new creation, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” and called to, “put on the new self,” and “be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:23-24). Just like our natural body operates by the guidance of our head and apart from it we can do nothing, Jesus also tells us, as members of his body, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Just like me with my computer, we can have as much or as little of the fullness of the unsearchable riches of Christ as we desire, but to settle for less than all that is available to us in him is to waste the possibility of what could be.
When I awoke this morning something strange was going on
And I could tell right away that there was something wrong
For usually my head always leads the way
But this was not the case on this most unusual day
All my members were arguing and creating quite a fuss
Some were telling others, “You’re not as important as us!”
Others didn’t like what they were supposed to be
My eyes wanted to hear and my ears wanted to see
My voice wanted to dance and my feet wanted to sing
But my derriere was content to just sit and do nothing
My hands wanted to walk but that simply would not do
For then there would have been no way for me to tie my shoes
My tongue wanted to smell and my nose wanted to taste
So while they were arguing my breakfast went to waste!
My mouth wanted to listen and my ears wanted to speak
My fat wanted to be strong and my muscles wanted to be weak
My more comely parts began to boast and criticize
Causing them to swell to almost twice their size!
There was such a turmoil going on inside
That I had to close my ears so I could close my eyes!
“Oh what am I to do?” Asked I of my head
“My body won’t behave today and go where it is led!”
“Seems to me you have no choice,” humbly he replied
“Just leave them all alone until they realize
For they will soon find out after all is done and said
That though the body is many members there can only be one head”
Well fortunately for me things weren’t all that bad
For it turns out this was all just a silly dream I had
But then the Lord spoke to me ever so quietly
“For you this was a dream my child, but for me it’s reality!”
(I Corinthians 12:18,19 – But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?)