November 18, 2020
Thank you for taking this Wednesday to pray for revival and for our prodigals. Today we’ll talk about spiritual gifts, but you don’t need a gift to pray. What you need is commitment, focus, faith, and a true heart of love.
As we continue in Romans twelve, Paul says,
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:3-8).
There are five truths from this section that impact your effectiveness in your spiritual gifting:
First is humility. It is fundamentally important, like a house built upon a rock. If humility is not present and real, then all your efforts will be futile. Humility is the bedrock in spiritual life. It allows you to take what God has given you and use it for His purposes. It turns our self-focused or self-serving hearts into those filled with gratefulness and gentleness. Let’s seek to serve humbly.
Second is honesty. You need to be honest before God and with yourself. The NLT makes it clear, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” For a gift to operate effectively, the enabling must come from God and not self. We cannot lie to ourselves and lay hold of a gift that God has not given us. And if we try to, our actions will not be infused with God’s strength, but weakened by our own. God provides the spiritual gift and the exact amount of faith we need to follow him. And If we think we don’t have enough, then we must take stock of ourselves because it is possible that we are not adequately drawing upon God’s strength. Let’s be honest before God.
Third is unity. While the whole church (comprised of each one who has trusted Christ) is called His “body,” the local church is also like a body (1 Cor. 12:27, Col. 1:24). Each member of the body is unique and has a specific function, and the body cannot operate properly if the parts don’t work together as one. As each member cares for the other members, the body operates efficiently and effectively. But if, for example, the eye decides not to cooperate with the hands and feet while driving a car, a crash will no doubt result. If the eye decides to wander and doesn’t care about the other members, everyone suffers. If, purposely, it looks skyward and the hands and feet are left to fend for themselves, chaos ensues. Why? The members were not operating for the benefit of the whole body. They were not loving each other. They were not loving God. I’m being facetious, but you get the point. God wants us to be united in our planning, operation, and goals. Let’s strive for true unity.
Fourth is diversity. This reminds us that each of us is unique and has a special function to perform. With the body analogy, it is easy to understand that the ear and the mouth are both important, but each have different functions. And if we tried to reverse these functions, conversations would be very interesting to say the least.
This is why it is vital for each of us, both male and female, and to determine what our gifting is. Romans twelve is a shortlist of seven of the gifts such as prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and acts of mercy. Do you see yourself being used by God in any of those areas? Do God’s people encourage you to pursue any of these gifts? Are you seeing positive results as you use your gift? These are a few questions that may help you in the direction God wants. Let’s rejoice in the wonder of God’s gifting and not fear our own inadequacies. Let’s praise God and help our brothers and sisters by blessing them with God’s gift to us.
Fifth is activity. A gift is not to be placed on the shelf. It is meant to be used. Well, unless it’s a candle, and then it’s meant to be used on the shelf. Yet Paul reminds Timothy twice: “Do not neglect the gift you have” (1 Tim. 4:14), and “Fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim. 1:6). While these gifts are given and enabled by God, they are developed by us. If for some reason we fail to use our gifts, they will be wasted. The blessing squandered. It will put more pressure and stress on other members to take up the slack, and the body will simply suffer. Let’s be active in what God has for us to do.
Be encouraged! God is at work!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel