“Are you kidding me, Coach?” That was the thought running through my mind when my coach asked us to do some things I thought I’d never be able to do physically. Making the transition from a high school cross country runner to a NCAA Division II distance runner had been a challenge. There were more miles, more workouts and greater intensity mixed in with all the stresses of college life.
[pullquote]As Christians, I believe we often underestimate the potential of our spiritual capacity. We incorrectly believe that we’ll never be good enough to do what God desires.[/pullquote]
This particular workout remains one of the most vivid memories of my college career. As my teammates and I stretched for our afternoon practice, our coach laid the plan out. We were to run the “Market Street” route, which led us through five miles of residential, city, campus and rural roads. Each mile had to be run in five minutes, thirty seconds—no slower. Directly following that run, we would meet at the track and run 20, 400m laps at 72 seconds each. “Are you kidding me, Coach?” Five miles at a 5:30 pace was hard enough by itself!
But our coach knew what I would eventually discover. We had trained all summer and were in the middle of our collegiate cross country season. I had already put hundreds of miles in, lifted weight and had increased my physical capacity to run further beyond what I had thought. I had faithfully done the work, and it paid off.
I completed the Market Street Five at a sub 5:30 pace. As we tried to catch our breath, we heard the infamous words, “On the line!” The 20 400m laps were about to begin. We ran 17 at sub 72 seconds and then ran the 18th lap in 69 seconds to avoid the last two.
What started out as a mentally impossible proposition was possible, because I had the physical capacity to do it. When I doubted, the challenge of my teammates and coaches revealed my true capacity. I could run farther, faster and longer than I ever imagined.
As Christians, I believe we often underestimate the potential of our spiritual capacity. We incorrectly believe that we’ll never be good enough to do what God desires. We’ll never find consistent spiritual disciplines in prayer and reading God’s Word. We’ll never be able to control our tongue, stop lusting, beat addictions, drop the worldly attitudes or ever become Christ-like.
The truth is, without Christ we can’t. But once we come to an authentic faith in Jesus Christ, we become children of God with unbelievable spiritual capacity. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we have “His divine power” which has given us “everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Jesus did the work on the cross, and through his life, death and resurrection, we have Christ-like potential.
When God calls you to radical change, He knows the power of the Holy Spirit has given you everything you need to change. When you think you can’t give anything more, God will continue to equip you. When there doesn’t seem to be a way out, He will provide a way.
You have more spiritual capacity than you know. Will you partner with your Savior to go discover it?
This writing is part of a devotional I wrote for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You can view the complete devotional here