Your Incredible Potential
God wants you to have a glow in your life that will last forever!

The great novelist Joseph Conrad said that many young people begin life with a glow in their hearts, but that glow often expires long before they die. Why? Why do young people have so many of their dreams shattered? Why does life never seem to work out quite the way they expected it would?

Did you know that the United States’ suicide rate for young people has tripled since 1960? What happened to the glow in their hearts? What happened to their great plans about doing tremendous things in the world? That statistic is a terrible indictment against our leaders. Something has gone terribly wrong.

Playwright William Shakespeare had a glow in his heart for quite a while. Hermann Sinsheimer wrote of him: “There was not room enough for him in the island of Britain. He had to roam far and wide in order to keep his genius supplied with raw material. Like Drake and Raleigh, he discovered and held as booty the material which set his imagination on fire” (Shylock: The History of a Character). He’d travel around the world, and that would set his imagination on fire; then he would write about it. Nobody has ever equaled William Shakespeare as a poet, and perhaps nobody ever will.

“By so doing, he gained space and time for the British nation. The fact that, except for The Merry Wives of Windsor, he did not set any contemporary plays on English soil finds its ultimate explanation in the mission of a national poet to enrich from outside sources, from every corner of space and time, a nation that is just struggling into her proper, uninsular shape [meaning, it was soon to become a worldwide empire]. Between the lines and between the characters, one may read the legend: Our island is too small; our kingdom is the world!” (ibid). The British kingdom did end up extending all over the world. It’s like Shakespeare, in the realm of poetry, was one of the founders of British imperialism. His vision stirred his imagination to do great things!

Look at the world today: Half of the people are illiterate. Our number one problem is human survival. Why? Why have things gone so badly in this world? With conditions like these, could this really be God’s world?

The baseball player Mickey Mantle was once a great star. Yet later in life he became very discouraged. An article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 24, 1979, stated: “‘I can imagine a beautiful actress when she finally gets old, and nobody wants her,’ said Mickey Mantle, who is finding that his New York Yankee superstar days are hard to get out of his system. …

“‘You’d get so used to being pampered and applauded all your life, and all of a sudden you’re in your own living room watching somebody else get all that. Once you’ve had it, it’s hard to forget. It’s tough to realize you’re through.’”

This was a man saying he was through. That glow was turning to darkness at a young age. And he had been a baseball superstar! “‘I don’t think anybody ever gets over it. I can see how it can kill somebody,’ Mantle said. The famed No. 7, three-time Most Valuable Player, won a Triple Crown and finished with 536 homers and 1,509 rbi for 18 seasons. He was probably the most idolized player of the ’50s and ’60s. … ‘I still dream almost every night that I’m trying to make a comeback. … I can see how a guy can commit suicide.’”

God has a tremendous goal for you. You can have a little fame and glory in this world for a short time, but it will fade quickly. God wants you to have a glow in your life that will last forever. It can last forever. In fact, it should last forever!

The Universe—Waiting for You!

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” That was written by an apostle who spent many years of his life in jail. You can find it in Romans 8:19 in your Bible (Revised Standard Version). Other translations actually state that the “whole creation”—or the whole universe—is eagerly longing for the sons of God. What does that mean? It’s a vision far beyond what Shakespeare had. It’s the vision God wants you to have.

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children [or the sons] of God” (verses 20-21; rsv). The glorious liberty of the sons of God.

This universe now is in a state of decay—in bondage. When astronauts journey into space or when scientists send a probe deep into the solar system, they send images back showing a state of decay. Every planet they see is the same way.

But God didn’t create them that way. What happened?

This great decay set in after Lucifer (who became Satan) said, I will ascend up to heaven and be like the Most High God (Isaiah 14:13-14). This vain angel actually thought he could rule better than his Creator. And the destruction he, along with one third of the angels, brought about put this universe in subjection to futility, decay and bondage.

But the Bible says it will be set free from that bondage. That is why the universe is waiting for you!

Romans 8:22 (rsv) states, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now,” like a woman in childbirth. It’s waiting for the sons of God. Our whole universe is in agony and hopelessness.

Mickey Mantle, at some point after his career ended, lost hope. He could see why people would commit suicide. Something is tragically and desperately wrong when young people want to end their lives before they really begin. Our leaders are misleading these young people.

This universe is groaning because Lucifer and one third of the angels rebelled. Iniquity, or lawlessness, was found in them. They quit keeping God’s law, and something terrible happened: They wrecked the universe! “[N]ot only the creation, but we ourselves … groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (verse 23; rsv). It says “adoption,” but that’s an inaccurate translation. The original text actually says we will be born sons of God. Look it up yourself. Even Bible translators cannot see themselves as actually being sons of God. They can’t believe their magnificent potential!

Ask yourself: Would the great God, who created the universe and you and your mind, have some insignificant, trivial goal for you?

You have an incredible human potential. It’s incredible because it’s hard to believe, and most refuse to believe it. But it’s true, and if you grasp it, it will set your imagination on fire and build a glow in your life where you are excited about living and excited about what is going to happen beyond this Earth.

Paul wrote in verse 23 that we all groan. Why? Because the same being who wrecked the universe now rules this Earth (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). That’s why young people commit suicide.

Life is not always easy for God’s people either. That’s the way God intended it to be, so that we can build the character that Lucifer and one third of the angels lacked. It’s through much tribulation that we enter into eternal life (Acts 14:22).

But Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (rsv). The problems we go through today, Paul said, are not worth comparing to the hope God has given us.

Understand what God wants to give you. Get it deeply embedded in your mind! This is what should fill the minds of every young person on this Earth. This is the only hope that will sustain you. Everything else is merely temporary. You can have fun for a few days or months, but God is offering you fun forever. And it is fun that won’t kick back on you—fun that will reap every good and precious gift. That’s the only hope there is in this world.

The Beginning

Many believe that the beginning of the Bible, in time order, is Genesis 1:1. But another verse talks of a time that long precedes that—a time even before the angels were created. It is John 1:1, where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God ….” There were two Beings—the one who became the Father, and the one (the Word) who became the Son. At that time there weren’t any angels or planets or any universe. Just God and the Word.

These great Beings first created angels. God says in Job 38:4-7 that when He created the universe and the Earth, the angels were there, singing and shouting for joy. God was giving them a home—a place they could work on and beautify. The angels were thrilled! And as long as they kept God’s law, they were full of joy.

But something went wrong. After some time, one third of the angels rebelled against God. They got away from the law, and they became the most miserable beings in the entire universe. They were so unhappy—no more singing, no more shouting for joy—because they now wanted to fight God.

These angels became demons, and now they rule this Earth, spreading their doom and gloom. That’s why teenagers are more depressed than ever and commit suicide more than ever.

The law of God makes you happy. That’s the lesson that youth today have not yet learned and a third of the angels refused to learn. They didn’t want to live God’s way. Thus, they are the epitome of misery, and they want you to follow them. They’d like you to believe that they can give you “freedom.” They say you can do whatever you want and call that freedom. They say to do whatever your heart tells you. And that’s what the experts often advise young people to do. Young people who follow this advice become suicidal. They become greatly depressed because they do what their heart tells them to do—not what God tells them to do.

That kind of “freedom” is really bondage! If you disobey the law of God, you are guaranteed unhappiness. God is offering you real joy: It comes automatically if you obey Him.

It all boils down to one vital ingredient—one thing God wants to build within you that the angels didn’t have.

Character to Rule the Universe

The angels were to go out and beautify the unfinished universe, but one-third of them rebelled. God had to use an alternate plan. He realized that the angels lacked the character to do the job.

So God had to have a fail-safe plan—as does an airplane: In case one system goes out, another kicks in to prevent a crash. That fail-safe plan is where you come into the picture.

God chose to create man with the ability to develop the very character that God Himself possesses—the character to rule the universe! He wants you to have the character to go into the universe and make it the most beautiful place you can imagine. Does that sound unreal? It’s very biblical. The human potential—is it ever incredible!

The lesson man should learn from Lucifer’s rebellion is this: We first have to do things right on Earth—as Lucifer and his angels should have done. They should have beautified this planet and made it lawful; then they would have moved into the universe. But they couldn’t get beyond Earth. If you don’t get it right on the Earth, this is where you will die forever!

Remember, the angels lacked character. They couldn’t go on to greater jobs because one third of them couldn’t even do the work God had given them on Earth. (The other two-thirds are still building character, and they’ll be assisting us greatly in restoring the universe, but they will not be in charge of it.)

An Endless Universe

Notice Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heaven[s] [plural in the Hebrew] and the earth.” The heavens means the whole universe. This indicates that the universe and the Earth were created at the same time.

Verse 2: “And the earth was [or became]without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Now, the time between verses 1 and 2—from the creation of the universe to the renewing of the Earth—could have been any amount of time—maybe a billion years. God doesn’t tell us. Verse 2 to the end of the chapter shows how God renewed the face of the Earth (Psalm 104:30) because it had become without form and void when Lucifer and the angels rebelled and destroyed everything. God decided to deal only with the Earth, leaving the universe alone for a while. He renewed the Earth in preparation for man’s creation.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Incredible Human Potential: “So the angel potential was to take over the entire universe—to improve and finish the billions of physical planets surrounding the uncountable stars, many of which are suns. … Our solar system, vast beyond the imagination of most minds, is only a part of our galaxy, and there are many galaxies!” How many? Scientists estimate there are 100 billion galaxies, and every galaxy has 100 billion stars. You can’t fathom that. That’s 10,000 million million million stars!

What kind of a job is out there awaiting us? All those stars and all those galaxies are “groaning” for someone to set them right, to make them beautiful, and to correct the waste and thedecay.

Mr. Armstrong continued: “In other words, the physical universe which the mighty God created is vast beyond imagination! How great is the great God! He intended angels, and now man,to have a vital part in the final creation of the endless universe!” Read that again!

The universe is endless, and God knows those 10,000 million million million stars by name (Psalm 147:4). What kind of a mind does God have? Is a little human being wise enough to challenge God? David said only a fool says there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). And only a fool will actually fight against God; Lucifer proved that. Many men have also proved it.

Think of the mind God has. And He wants to give you that mind. He wants you to rule the universe with Him for all eternity.

Made in God’s Image

When God made all the animals, the Bible says they were each made “after their kind” (Genesis 1:24-25). But there’s a great difference between animals and man. Man was different: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (verse 26). We weren’t made after the animal kind. We were made after the GOD kind!

God has shape and form, like you. We look like God! And yet science says we’re an animal. How diabolically wrong that is! You came from God, not an animal—not from evolution. “Let us make man in our image”! How much clearer could that be? Evolution is a satanic view of life. Satan loves to destroy our incredible human potential, and what a masterful job he has done in doing just that. How ridiculous is the theory of evolution! It has never been proved because there’s no evidence. But scholars have many people believing it—often by intellectual intimidation. They don’t intimidate God. And they shouldn’t intimidate you.

God created you in His likeness, and now He wants to create you in His image—or put His character in you. Why? So you can renew the whole universe. You can’t do that without character. The desolation and decay that has been wrought upon this universe came because of a lack of character. You must be building God’s character in your life if you’re to fulfill God’s potential for you.

The Incredible Human Potential states, “Few people realize that human reproduction has a sacred and God-plane meaning not applicable to any other kind of life. Human reproduction pictures spiritual salvation—which is actually God the Father reproducing Himself in the God Family.” Did you get that? Read that 20 times if you have to. The physical family is a type of the God Family and should be building the character of the God Family.

“And remember God intended human reproduction to be a family matter,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “It adds human children to the human family. The human family is the exact type of the God Family. God has bestowed marriage and family life on no other form of life except on humans, whose potential it is to enter the Family of God!” Did you ever hear of two tigers marrying? No, because God never gave marriage to them. Why? Because they don’t have this incredible human potential. Even angels don’t have the potential to enter God’s Family—they cannot marry (Matthew 22:30). God decided to re-create Himself, to bring sons into His Family, and it starts with building God’s character in you.

Mr. Armstrong defined character as knowing right from wrong and, when there’s a pull to disobey, having the will to go the right way. Yet so many tell you to do whatever your heart tells you. That will wreck your life. Do they know better than God?

If you are going to build this character, you have to want it. That’s the only way character can be built. God can’t force it on you. You must go after it and build it if you want to be like God, if you want to be in His Family, and if you want to become a master builder out in the universe.

“Let us make man in our image,” God said. You are not an animal. Your potential is so far above theirs, and even that of angels—those great, fiery spirit beings that have caused men to almost drop dead upon seeing them. We even have potential far beyond that—to be actual members of God’s Family.

How about that for a future?

God wants to give you the greatest opportunity that could ever be given to any people on this Earth—the chance to help Jesus Christ rule and beautify this Earth, make the people happy, and then move on to the universe to even greater things. God will only give it to you if you build the character.

Can anyone rule this Earth without godly character? Look at what has happened around you. Look at what happened in World War ii when Adolf Hitler almost got control of all the Earth: Look at the destruction! That’s the way men rule without character.

Thus, the supreme goal for man is to build holy, righteous character. In Matthew 5:48, Christ said, Become perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. That takes a lot of character. Of course we fall short; we sin. Even King David failed at times. But still, God pays for those sins; Christ’s blood covers them if we repent. We can move on and be more perfect in attitude—more like our Father.

God cannot sin, because He will not. And He’s building within us the same character—where we can’t sin because we won’t.

Sons and Daughters of God

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). God and the Word became Father and Son because God wants a family.

If you are disappointed with who you are or what you represent, notice: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (verse 5). God has never called those great spirit beings—who once were chosen to rule the whole universe—sons in the sense of really being family. Angels are after the angel kind—they’re not like God. Yet to us, He says, You can be sons and daughters of mine. How sad that people want to believe in evolution.

“But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Hebrews 2:6). David kept asking God, What is man that you are so concerned with him, God? What is he that you look after him? God looks after man because He is looking after His Family.

“Thou madest him [man] a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou has put all things [the universe] in subjection under his feet …” (verses 7-8). The whole universe has been put in subjection under man’s feet. “… For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

The whole universe will be put under man. But not yet. If we don’t develop the character first, we won’t inherit the universe. If we do, God says, It’s all yours; I’ve already given it to you.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (verses 9-10). Yes, there will be suffering, but it’s because God is bringing many sons into His Family.

A youth wrote this years ago to the Church that Mr. Armstrong was head of: “I’m 22 years old and I’ve been to the bottom of life. I am like so many other kids my age in America—given everything but given nothing. I was never told anything as a child. There was no right or wrong. You had to find out everything for yourself. My parents would never believe there was anything wrong with me. I don’t mean to be critical of them. They just didn’t know any better. My father always felt all he had to do was to supply the money and the rest of growing up was left to me. I can’t describe how horrible this has been for me.”

How many examples like this do we have to hear about before we stop listening to the “experts” who tell us to do whatever is in our hearts? This magazine doesn’t tell you that. We tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, taken from the Bible. And what a wonderful, inspiring and beautiful life it produces. Absolutely nothing compares to it. Don’t listen to experts unless they tell you what God says. You can replace any hopelessness with an attitude even more passionate than Shakespeare’s: This world is too small—our kingdom is the universe!

Isaiah 11:9 states, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” One day soon, this truth is going to fill the Earth, like the ocean beds are full of water. That means God wants help filling this world with knowledge and filling young people with a glow in their hearts and a joy in their lives that will last forever. A glow as endless as the universe they will inherit.

Why did God create the universe? Originally, He created it for the angels. Now it is there for mankind—for you.

So tonight when it gets dark, go outside and, if you can, look up at the beautiful stars and realize that they are part of billions of galaxies that are a part of this vast universe. Will you reach for those stars? This is as real as it gets. Realize and never ever forget that there is a connection between that universe and you! God help us never to lose sight of that connection!