In my early 20’s, I (Joel) received a simple, yet powerful revelation during a time of prayer and fasting. It’s been a guiding compass ever since. Here’s the gist of what I experienced:
In my mind, I saw a sports car racing up a freshly paved mountain road. The car quickly ascended the twisting highway with implausible ease. This went on for some time—the car always continuing to accelerate—until around one mountain curve the asphalt abruptly ended. The car was hurled into a gauntlet of jagged rocks and towering trees. The car was destroyed and engulfed in flame.
As I thought and prayed about what this mental picture meant, it became clear. It was an illustration. The car symbolized my capabilities (gifts and talents). The road represented my character; and both needed to be developed if I was going to successfully journey into the destiny God had purposed for me.
As the illustration vividly portrays, if your capability exceeds your character, you’re likely to “crash and burn.” Taking the time to build broad roads of character is essential if you are going to complete your God-given purpose. This lesson alone would have been good enough, yet I felt the illustration was stressing another lesson equally important. To reach your God-given potential you must also develop your capabilities.
Proverbs says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings…”
Getting “skilled” in your gifting is highly important. It will take you places—even “before kings.” If you never develop your capabilities—though you’ve built a whole interstate of character—you’re not likely to travel far.
Grow: (2 min. exercise)
Take 30 seconds and jot down 1 or 2 of your strongest “character” attributes. (Are you a good friend, self-disciplined, patient, have integrity, or speak the truth in love? Write down a few of your strengths now.) I’d love to hear what your greatest strengths are. If you’d like please post a few in the comments!
Take 30 seconds and jot down 1 or 2 of your strongest “capability” attributes. (Are you a great at communicating, relationships, facilitating small group discussions? Write down a few of your strengths now.)
What areas of your character need growth? Take 30 seconds and write them down.
What areas of your capability need growth? Take 30 seconds and write them down.
Now choose one character and one capability attribute that would yield the greatest result (fruit) in your life and ministry. Make a plan to develop those area over the next month.
(Next Level Growth: Ask a trusted friend, a pastor or spouse (if married), what areas of character or capability they think you could grow in — that would yield the greatest results in your life and ministry. Then make a plan to develop those areas over the next month.
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