Spiritual gifts! It’s a huge issue! But today I want to just throw a spanner into the engine of people’s thought processes. It is a spanner that will break up one’s thoughts, or like a good spanner, it should tighten the screws and make the thought engine run better.
Romans 12:6 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, let us use them. If prophecy, let us prophecy according to our faith”. So we all have gifts. The kind of gift that Paul is discussing is that which has been given by the Spirit of God to a person. There are gifts given according to the grace given us. This means that some people would have different gifts, or even more gifts than others. It is an individual thing, and everybody receives their gift or gifts differently, in different measures and in differing styles. God’s variety is utterly glorious.
These gifts as listed in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 are referred to as Spiritual gifts simply because they were given, prompted, imparted and planted by or through the Holy Spirit Himself. It is this writers conviction that the gifts referred to in 1 Corinthians 12 can only be accessed and activated through, or because of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. A gift of the Holy Spirit cannot be learned, studied for, or bought. They are simply given.
Study is good. But because I may have learned the Bible from cover to cover, and know all its history, and have also studied Greek and Hebrew so that I can speak both languages fluently does not even suggest that I am gifted of the Holy Spirit. I may be gifted to be an academic. I may be gifted to be practical. I may be gifted in many ways – but when the Bible refers to the spiritual gifts we are talking of gifts that facilitates the recipient to minister, shere, heal, exhort, give or serve by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit in order to edify other people’s faith and take them forward.
We are intended by God to serve Christ and His body with whatever gift is ours. We are not intended to interfere or criticise other people’s gifts, gifts that the complainer might not have. A gift is simply a packaged item that has been given to somebody.
We are intended to drink from the same Spirit. Every person has their form, their place, their gift and their use in the body of Christ. All Christians have different gifts, different insights, different degrees of power and different positions within the body of Christ. Whatever we have must be used to the best of our ability. Whatever we do must be done for the glory of God. Whatever purpose they are used for must be to the edifying of the saints.
For you and I, our destiny and our future is connected to people. Some of us are afraid to be connected to people. Some of us have been hurt and rejected, demeaned or abused. Those negative experiences lead many of us to ensure we never connect with people, but to connect with people, as a Christians is part of the cultural air that we breathe. Jesus was not a hermit in the build up to His Passion. He mixed with, talked to, dined with, healed and generally interacted with all kinds of people on every conceivable level.
Who are you connecting with? There are many people in our lives – those who subtract, those who divide, those who add and those who multiply. There are those who subtract from what God has given you, those who divide the whole thing, those who multiply and those who, when you meet them, will add with their counsel, words of faith and advice. These are the four kinds of people in your life. We cannot succeed alone. We are, in the body of Christ, each others strength. We all need a problem solver in our lives.
We all need to see beyond appearance and the way things look in our human way of thinking. We need to see things as God sees them. When we look beyond the physical, and transcend what we think we see in our human way of looking at things. We will become discerning and will lose ungodly naiveté. Discerning of Spirits is a gift from God that imparts to a person the ability to determine what is truth and what is error. Without this gift we easily lose direction. We should be able to judge the source of the messages we hear.
It needs to be understood that the gifts of the Spirit are no indicator of the spirituality, or the character of the person who exercises those gifts. A gift is that – a gift! If the gifts of the Spirit are only given to the Spiritual people in the body of Christ, then we need to stop calling them gifts, for we are teaching that one has to become a spiritual sort of person before they can receive those gifts. But if I have to earn them by my spirituality they are clearly no longer gifts. A true gift is given utterly regardless of the character or the deeds of the person receiving the gift.
We need to judge with righteous judgement.