Don’t Cheat Others of You
"There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 GW)
When you know what you're shaped to be, then you know what you ought to be, and you can start focusing on that and make better use of your life.
The moment you step across the line spiritually, you say, "I'm going to go God's way, not my own way. I'm going to let him direct my life. I want to follow God's purpose, not my purpose. I'm going to do what I was wired and made to do."
The moment you step across the line and put your faith in Christ, God also gives you four major gifts:
Forgiveness. Romans 5:15 says, "For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ" (NLT). The first thing Jesus did was wipe out everything you've ever done wrong. It's forgiven! There is no condemnation.
Eternal life. God has long-range plans for you. The Bible says in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV). You're never going to work your way or earn your way into Heaven. The only way you'll ever get into Heaven is by God's free gift that you accept by faith.
The Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 says, "God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." How do you know when you're letting God live through your life? When you embody the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Special abilities. In the Bible, these special abilities are called spiritual gifts, which makes them different from material or physical gifts. They are the abilities you need to get the job done that God wants you to do. Most people who are believers don't even know they've got them, much less know what they are. But you have them!
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, "There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person" (GW).
What is a spiritual gift? God has a purpose for your life, and your spiritual gifts are the equipment he gives you to do what he asks you to do. God will never ask you to do something he doesn't give you the ability to do. It's given to you the moment you accept Christ. You don't get to choose your gift. You don't earn your gift.
It's also not for your benefit. Your spiritual gifts are given to you to help other people. And other people in the church family are given their gifts to help you.
When I use my spiritual gift of teaching, you get blessed. When you use your spiritual gift, the people in your church get blessed. It's like a puzzle. If you have one jigsaw piece missing, what's the first thing you notice? The one missing piece. If you don't develop and use your spiritual gifts, then we all get cheated.
Talk It Over
- How are you fulfilling the role that God intended for you in your church using your spiritual gifts?
- If you are a Christian, have you received these four gifts? How have they made a difference in your life?