New Bible studies and devotionals sent to your email. The first one includes a free gift!
There are a lot of “spiritual gifts assessment” quizzes out there. People want to know what gifts the Holy Spirit has given them. But can these tests really tell us anything? And, what’s more important, why do we need to know?
So let’s talk about that first question. How do you know what gifts the Holy Spirit has given you?
2 Corinthians 12:28-30
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
From this passage alone we should know that we may have every single gift of the Spirit, as we have also already shown in this course. BUT WAIT! I used the words “may not have every single gift” on purpose, to make a point. The point is that this is a very WRONG way of saying this!
The truth is that all of the gifts of the Spirit come from Jesus (read about the trinity in unit 1). So if you have been born again, and have the Spirit of God in you, then you have the very one who GIVES the gifts in you. Therefore, you HAVE ALL of the gifts!
That doesn’t mean you OPERATE in all of them, though. So when someone asks the question, “What spiritual gift do you have?” what they are really asking is, “What gift have you operated in?”
So moving forward you will have to excuse me if I use the wrong wording.
You may have seen those “spiritual gifts assessment” quizzes. What you may not have noticed is that they ask questions about what you already do and experience. Therefore, they don’t reveal anything important.
You do not have to know what gift God has given you in order to operate in it! A teacher will teach, a preacher will preach, a healer will heal, and a prophet will prophesy. These things simply come naturally to those whom God has given to do these things.
That’s one good reason not to think higher of yourself, and others than you ought to. We all do what God has given us to do (or should). It is not by our own ability, talent, or closeness to God that we take these roles. It is by the giving of the Spirit of God Himself. So if anyone should be praised, let it be God alone.
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Again, you don’t have to know what your gifts are. You just have to be willing to please the Lord. Jeremiah knew that God had given him something to say, … but he tried to keep quiet. That didn’t last long. What is in you will eventually come out. So why should we focus on these things?
1 Timothy 4:14
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
2 Timothy 1:6
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
We will soon be covering the doctrine of laying on of hands, but first, let’s stay focused on the gifts. Paul tells Timothy not to “neglect” the gift that is in him. He goes so far as to tell Timothy to “stir” it up.
These would seem like good passages to show someone that they need to know what their gifts are. How can you stir it up if you don’t know what it is? How can you “not neglect it” if you don’t know what you are not supposed to neglect?
But think about this for a moment. What good is knowing your gift going to do for you if you don’t know HOW to stir it up, or not neglect it? The truth is that you can stir it up without even putting a name to it.
Look back on Jeremiah for a moment. He knew what God wanted him to do, but it meant he would have to get out of his comfort zone. So rather than speaking what God gave him (his gift), Jeremiah chose to keep his mouth shut. He tried to neglect it. He tried to put the fire out.
As Jeremiah found out, though, … you can’t stomp on a fire and not be burned. What Jeremiah had to do was only natural for him to do! Yet, he attempted to quench that natural gift of God that he had. In so doing, Jeremiah found himself fighting not only against God, … but himself as well.
Did Jeremiah need to know the name of the gift? Did he need to know that he was a prophet? Or did he just need to know that God said, “Tell my people,” and that he should obey?
And here is the point. Whatever your gift is, you can only neglect it if you refuse to obey God. Consider that what God has called you to do can only be done through Him anyway. You just have to be willing to follow Him. HE will be the one to bring the gift out of you.
1 Corinthians 12:31
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Yes, we are supposed to want the “best gifts”. But what are the best gifts? The gift of prophecy will do little good when people don’t understand your language. The gift of tongues will do little good if you prophesy to others without an interpreter. The best gifts are the ones you need at that very moment to honor God.
That is how you “stir up” the gift as well. You obey God. Remember that the gift is in the Holy Spirit, which is in you. So to stir up the gift you will need to stir up the Spirit! It’s that simple, … and yet so complicated to us.
What stirs God up? What is the more excellent way?
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
The word charity is the KJV word that we call “love” today. It’s love that stirs God up. Faith and hope aren’t even as strong as love. In fact, the Bible says this about it:
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Love comes first in everything pleasing to God. When we act in love we are acting in (stirring up) the Spirit of God. So the question then becomes, “How do I walk in love?”
1 Corinthians 13 gives some good examples of love. It tells us how love acts. But if we really want to understand, and walk in love, then we must walk closer to Jesus.
1 John 4:8
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
You know that Bible collecting dust on the coffee table in many people’s homes? That book contains the words, actions, and very thoughts of love itself. How would God speak? That’s how love would speak. How would God act? That’s how love would act. How would God think? That’s how love would think.
So if you really want to stir up the gift that is in you, the best of the gifts, then begin to be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus, … the image of love.
You will find that the closer you come to God in love, the stronger you will be in the Spirit. The Bible says Elijah was a man just like us. He had the same passions and desires. He was human. Yet he prayed and it didn’t rain for three years. It wasn’t because he was powerful, … it was because his love for God was powerful!
Can you and I see the dead raised up? Can we pray that it should not rain? The reality is that these things are not impossible to people like you and I. But we have to ask two questions first. The first question is, “Am I walking in love,” and the second question would be, “is this something that will bring honor to God, or me?”
The second question will correct you if you get the first one wrong. Because walking in love means you are only thinking of others and not at all for yourself.
This answers one of our original questions too. Why do we think we need to know what “our spiritual gifts” are? Is it so we can become more powerful in them? Is it so that we can practice? Is it just for our curiosity? Notice that every one of those things is about us? Love isn’t selfish.
So we need to stop this nonsense of making idols out of our “spiritual gifts” and begin walking in love. Because when we do that, God gets the honor and we will find that it has nothing to do with our ability to operate in a gift. It’s everything to do with our ability to walk in love, though.
October 30, 2016 at 2:13 am | | No comment