We contain much fruit, but our fertility will not become evident until and unless we cultivate and feed our bodies, souls, and spirits. These are the three dimensions of potential. Cultivating and feeding work together to promote maximum growth and fulfillment. Both cultivating and feeding are necessary for wholesome growth and are essential ingredients for unveiling who we can be and what we can do.
You are what you eat.
This is true for all three dimensions of potential. If you eat excessive fatty foods, you will gain weight. If you feed your mind with trash, your thoughts will be in the gutter. If you feed your spirit the information received through the senses of your body and the education of your soul, neglecting God’s wisdom and knowledge, you will operate from worldly standards and values.
Cultivate and Feed Your Body
Your body is a precise machine that requires proper food, exercise, and rest. Healthy food, regular exercise, and scheduled periods of rest are essential for it to operate at its maximum potential. Physical health deteriorates when sweets, fats, or other harmful foods are stuffed into the body, and the body’s strength and endurance are lessened if exercise (work) is missing from your daily routine. Likewise, the absence of rest depletes the body’s resources until exhaustion and even collapse eventually occur. Cultivate and feed your body by living within a healthy routine that includes nutritious food, moderate but systematic exercise, and regular sleep and relaxation.
As the apostle Paul warns us: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). Each person will have to give an account for what he did with his body.
You are responsible to protect your physical temple. Cultivate your body.
Cultivate Your Soul
Your soul consists of your mind, your will, and your emotions. What goes into your mind always influences what comes out. If your children watch disrespectful, smart-mouthed kids on TV, they will learn to talk and act the same way. In fact, they won’t even know that they are being disrespectful because their values and wisdom will have been skewed by the things they saw and read.
Be careful, then, to convert your mind by filling it with godly, uplifting materials. Feed it God’s Word instead of junk novels. If you spend much time reading ivory-towered romantic fiction, you will come to have unrealistic expectations of your spouse and you will either degrade or destroy the marriage relationship through unfaithful thoughts, words, and actions. Use your moments of leisure to uplift rather than tear down.
Likewise, cultivate your mind. Spend some time each week in serious Bible study or research a useful topic you know little about at your local library. Attend concerts and lectures, or take evening classes at a community college. The whole purpose of encyclopedias, formal education, and other sources of knowledge is not to make you smart, but to give you the opportunity to make yourself smart. Use the resources available to your mind to inspire you to activate your dreams and reach for new goals. Your mind is a powerful tool created by God for the good of mankind.
The cultivation of your soul also includes the discipline of your will. The discipline of your will is particularly important because the will is the decision maker. If you refuse to discipline your will, you won’t be successful in fulfilling your potential because your will determines your decisions, which govern your potential. If you do not train your will to be subjected to God’s wisdom and purposes, you will forfeit the purpose for which you were born, and your potential will be wasted. Self-discipline is the highest expression of self management, which is manifested in a disciplined will.
The cultivating of your soul also requires that you control your emotions. Too often we allow our emotions to control us instead of our controlling them. Tantrums and fits of rage are symptoms of this malady. Emotions are controlled by understanding.
Ecclesiastes 7:12 says: Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
What we know to be true from seeking information and examining the facts must be the basis on which we make decisions and relate to other people. Emotions often color what we see. They also prompt us to say hasty words and to make unwise choices. Emotions governed by information provides an environment in which the potential of our souls can be maximized.
Cultivate and Feed Your Spirit
Maximizing your potential begins with your decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior because the measure of your true potential is your spirit. Until you become reconnected with God through faith in Jesus Christ and the presence of His Spirit in your heart, you are spiritually dead, and the potential of your spirit is unavailable to you.
Then your mind can only be controlled by what you receive through your senses and your mind. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6). The secret wisdom of God concerning your potential (see 1 Corinthians 2:7-11) cannot influence your life if His Spirit is not present in your heart because only God’s Spirit knows and understands God’s plans and purposes for you. These were written long before your birth. They contain the information you need to live to the fullest and to achieve everything you were sent to do. Attaining your maximum potential is impossible if you do not cultivate and feed your spirit by hooking yourself up to God and abiding in Him. (See John 15:1-8.) Cultivating and feeding your potential is a second key to maximizing your potential.
As you pay attention to the fertilizer you give your body, soul, and spirit, and the work you do to keep them healthy by God’s specifications, you will be surprised and delighted by the many things you can accomplish and the satisfaction and joy in life you will experience. You must cultivate and feed your potential according to God’s specifications and with His materials.
Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.
Excerpts from Maximizing your potential by Myles Munroe