The area of Spiritual gifts is one the holds great interest for me. The thought that The different areas of effectiveness and skills are from God is interesting. I grew up with the teaching that we had God given abilities but never equated these with “spiritual gifts”. They were just skill that we had been born with. I felt that our genetics and social conditioning had as much to do with these “gifts” as the Holy spirit did.
Since there are non-Christians who exhibit these same abilities and gifts and when I was not a Christian I still had the desire to encourage others (encouragement is my spiritual gift). So I guess that I just never thought of these as spiritual gifts. I have been wondering for a few years now about what my spiritual gifts are. Although I have been intrigued by them, I was unsure of the method to use to discover them. The truth is, the thought that I did not know never really concerned me. The lack of understanding my spiritual gifts did not keep me from ministering.
In a way I guess that they were already evident to me. The only thing I was missing was the “Christian” terminology for them. I would still be content not to know what the spiritual gifts I have are, but the elective I took gave me the opportunity to explore and discover the spiritual gifts I possess. My involvement in the discovering of my spiritual gifts is purely by God’s design, so I assume that the time is right for me to be aware of them. The class module has been informative and interesting, and has revealed to me the gifts that God has blessed me with.
The biggest concern I have regarding knowledge of our spiritual gifts is the temptation to misuse them and to a smaller degree to let ourselves be constricted in what we do in our spiritual lives because the task may lie outside of our “gifts”. The thought that people use this as an excuse is disappointing to me. That tells me that they do not have a full understanding of who our God is. To limit oneself to the spiritual gifts that are evident is in a sense limiting God. When We become Christians is purely because of what God has worked in us.
Throughout the life of the believer the continuing work of the Spirit is evident in our lives, or should be if the believer’s relationship with God is healthy. The believer is continually growing and developing as the “new creation” Christ allowed us to become through the power of His resurrection. Therefore, there is nothing to say that what gifts we have now will always be there and in use, and likewise, there is nothing to say that gifts that we do not have now will not become evident in our lives at some time.
Those who are involved in the search to discover their spiritual gifts seem to be at risk of feeling disappointment when they do not see how the gifts they have could be of use to them. There is also the inherent risk of misunderstanding their gifts and how to use them the most effectively. Those who are made aware of their spiritual gifts need to be educated in the use of their gifts and the usefulness of the gifts. So the most evident need of those who have had their gifts revealed to them is discipleship. They need to have education and training.
In class there seems to be several students who have a hard time grasping the concept of spiritual gifts. They seem to be wanting “special revelation” in regards to their gifts. I think that they had in mind where their gifts were and when the tests revealed gifts that they were unaware of or uninterested in they are disappointed. These people need more information and the Spirit needs to open their eyes to the subject and reveal these things to them. They are now aware of what the gifts are and they need to have guidance regarding the use and development of those gifts.
The concept of the church and the purpose of the body of Christ makes understanding and using the spiritual gifts much easier. I want to explore the role and purpose of the church on earth. In order to have the proper use of spiritual gifts There must be a proper understanding of what the role of the church is. I feel that this has far more importance over what gifts there may be. For while gifts will change and develop, and we will discover new ones throughout our lives, the church is something that has to be set and established.
The church as found in the New Testament is the assembly of those who believe in Jesus Christ and profess a saving faith in His through His resurrection. The word ekklesia is what is often translated “church” into English, This word means literally “assembly”. The church is Jesus’ body on earth. Being so, we have a responsibility to fulfill. What is our reason for being on this earth? what is our purpose? The following paragraphs will hopefully give us some insight into what the purpose of the church actually is.
Our purpose is fulfilled in six ways, there are specific areas that the church has to meet in order to be considered truly functioning. Without any of these the church is lacking and the impact of this will be felt throughout everything that the church does. The six areas that the church has to fulfill can be easily seen in the acrostic W. I. F. E. E. From this acrostic we can see the areas that the church is to minister to in order to serve its purpose on this earth. How we fulfill these areas will differ from one congregation to another.
As each grouping of believers will have a different focus. e priorities will differ from Christian to Christian, but as long as basic Christian community is there churches will be efficient. The next few paragraphs will be used to explain more in depth the words in the acrostic. Starting with W. Worship, it is our most important work on earth. To bring glory to God to show him worship. There are many ways in which we can worship God , we worship Him through obedience, through song, through prayer, our daily lives are to be an example of the difference God can make in our lives when one is willing to concede control of it to God.
Intercession, this is standing in the gap and lifting up our pleas and requests to God. It is coming to God through the blood of Christ and lifting up ourselves and others to God. Just as Christ makes intercession for us to the Father we to are to do for others. Fellowship, this is one that everyone is ready to engage in until you look at the Greek text. The word for fellowship in Greek is koinania and the general idea behind it is to “hold everything in common”.
This means that we must be willing to share all that we have with those fellow believers who are in need around us, The New Testament tells us in the book of Acts that believers held everything in common and would give to each as there was need. Edification, this is pertaining to the building up of the body of Christ. What ever happens in the church must edify others, this includes encouraging, strengthening, teaching, and other adverbs that relate to this. The dictionary describes edification this way,” instruction and improvement.
We must always be aware of how our actions are affecting others and must also be careful to build up rather that destroy. Evangelism, some have said that this should be our focus, but I have put it last for a reason. If we as Christians are not fulfilling and meeting the needs of those who are already in the body of Christ with us how can we reasonably expect to meet the needs of those who are still outside of the body? Everyone knows that evangelism is spreading the good news. Yet what kind of example will we be if those who are our own are hurting and we do nothing about it.
Not that I want to downplay the importance of evangelism, it is just that I want to make sure that when those on the outside come in they will come into a healthy body. But we must reach out to those who are not Christians so that all may have the opportunity to know the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. With these things in mind, the role of spiritual gifts in the believers life takes on new purpose. We are here to lift up and edify the body of Christ which is us who are believers.
Spiritual gifts are useless unless they are used in the proper context. Churches today often go to extremes regarding spiritual gifts and their application and use in believers lives. There needs to be found a balance in this area. For to place to much importance on the gift is to risk not giving the proper credit to the provider of the gifts. Then at the other end of the perspective are those who ignore spiritual gifts and those people are at risk of taking the credit due to the Spirit for themselves. That is the problem, finding balance within this area.