We hear about it all the time: the untapped potential living inside of us. The ways we can unlock it and live out our best life. It’s what we work hard to achieve and where we spend much of our time — scouring articles, Instagram and ESPN for answers.
We want to reach our ultimate purpose and potential but finding our identity in sports and other earthly possessions leaves us unfulfilled and always chasing after whatever desire we hope will satisfy. We’re looking in the wrong places and need to readjust to a greater potential with God.
As an athlete, it’s natural to feel like you have more potential than what is showing up in practice or in the heat of competition. And when you don’t feel like you’re living up to expectations, the pressure starts to build.
Expectations can come from coaches, parents, school boards and booster clubs, even — and sometimes especially — from ourselves.
The world’s take on potential says you have greater glory waiting to be uncovered and used in greater ways. It’s for your personal fulfillment, to be the best and live for what benefits you.
Living up to your potential is more than just what you can do on your own. There’s more to life than playing to make the “big game.” Your potential shouldn’t just be measured by earthly achievements. It should be measured by who God says you are.
The world looks at potential differently than how God sees it. God sees our potential through the lens of His Son Jesus, who came to give us a new way of living and to light up the shadowed places we’ve gotten stuck in.
“Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).
The Gospel of John shares the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. His cousin, a fiery preacher known as John the Baptist, prepared the people for Jesus’ arrival. John did great things, and even the people thought he was great, but John knew someone was coming who was greater.
As John preached about the coming of Jesus, many religious leaders were anxious about this greater One. They were comfortable living under a system that emphasized the pressure to perform. If you were good at your job, then you were a good person. But Jesus had a better way. His way? Bringing light to a dark world:
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, and yet the world did not recognize Him” (John 1:9–10).
Therein lies the problem: “The world did not recognize him.” Similarly, we often don’t reach our full potential because we don’t recognize that He is the true source of our potential.
There is more to sports than just winning. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s life-changing when you begin to recognize your full potential through Christ. John the Baptist realized his when he led the way announcing the coming of the Lamb of God. He knew his role, and the role of Jesus.
“‘He must increase, but I must decrease’” (John 3:30).
Look to the “greater potential” of Jesus to find:
- A greater way: There’s a better way to reach your fullest potential. And it’s the only path that will truly get you there. “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6)
- A greater truth: It’s not just a greater truth. It’s the Truth. When you embrace the truth of Jesus, you experience freedom from the pressure to perform and see the purpose behind the gifts that God has given you. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
- A greater life: This is what Jesus offers you through a relationship with Him. More joy, peace and purpose through a life focused on Jesus. ‘“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance’” (John 10:10)
Remember: There is greater potential in your life than finding your identity here on Earth.
John the Baptist understood what it meant to live your greater potential in Jesus. It’s not what you do, but you who are. Worried about making the team? In Christ, you are already chosen, and He will place you where you need to be. Tangled up in trying to impress your teammates? Jesus is the One who has given you your talent, and it’s good to let Him lead through you. Seek to serve your teammates instead.
There is a greater purpose wrapped up in your potential when your potential is wrapped up in Him!
Sarah Freymuth is the Communications Manager for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and writes content for blogs, articles, Bible reading plans and devotionals that share God's heart with coaches and athletes. She played softball for Concordia University Wisconsin, is in their Hall of Fame, and has led FCA Huddles since high school.