Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1Corinthians 12:1,4-7)
For far too long now we have thought that Spiritual Gifts were only for the Super Spiritual. We’ve let the working of the Spirit pass us by over and over again because we’ve thought ourselves unqualified. We’ve wondered if maybe one day we will reach a level of spiritual holiness that will be pleasing enough to God, He will finally find us worthy. But, in the end, it’s been no use! We fall, make mistakes, come up short on our promises to God, and we finally settle for, “it’s never going to happen to me, I’ll never be used in the Gifts of the Spirit.”
I’m here to tell you, YOU’RE WRONG!! God can and will use YOU! In fact, he desires you to ask Him to be used in the gifts. Paul said it this way, “So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts”… 1Corinthians 12:31 NLT. Not only does God want you to want the gifts, He wants you to “earnestly desire” them! The truth of it is, he’s already given you a gift, the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:38). Along with that gift He’s given you Power! God wouldn’t have given YOU power if He didn’t plan on you using it. “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you“… Acts 1:8
The real question isn’t whether or not God is going to use you, it’s How can you Get used! It starts with love! You MUST love the sinner and the saint. I think it goes without saying, it’s God’s disciples that do his most powerful work! So how do you BECOME one of His disciples? Lots of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading? Never make any big mistakes? Be the best at everything? No, not that complicated! In fact, it’s really very simple. Jesus said this, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT. You want to make a difference in this world, love the people of this world. You can give every excuse under the sun as to why you are holding on to unforgiveness, but it’s no use, you must forgive. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13.
Most people allow fear to stand in the way. I remember myself when I was asking God to use me in the Gifts of the Spirit. God would move on me to talk to someone, and immediately I would tense up and tell myself, “that wasn’t God, that was just me.” Later, I would beat myself up over it for not listening to the voice of God. I would say to myself, “who am I kidding, God has much better people out there to call on! Why would He want me?” I would deal with fears on getting the message right. I would ask God, “what if I mess it up and end up turning people further away from you?” All these fears were keeping me from truly being used by God in a powerful way.
While I’ve become no expert on being used in the Gifts of the Spirit, I have learned something I didn’t understand at the time. I was making it more about me, and less about others! I cared more about how I would look as a failure, than how they would be ministered to by the Gift God was trying to use me in. God began to show me that I have to be driven by love, and the desire to see people touched. In doing so, my fear of rejection and failure would become less and less.
This scripture has helped me to let go of my fear, and to understand how God works through me. “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:17-18
Isn’t it truly amazing how love is the main ingredient to all of the work of God? When we read about the Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, we think, “Wow, I want to be used in at least just one of those gifts!” But than we fail to see what Paul says just a few scripture later in chapter 13:1-3. “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.“ Wow! Now that is Powerful!!
You may be thinking, “No, it’s got to be more complex than that! God has made it much more complicated than just, ‘Love one another’.” I can tell you, it is just that simple. The best example is Jesus; why He came and how He ministered.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him“ John 3:16-17 NLT. Now if that’s not simple, I don’t know what is. Everything He did was motivated by His love for us! So our work for Him also has to be motivated by the same love for one another.
One last thought. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 when Paul is talking about the Gifts of the Spirit, he keeps repeating one very important thing, “By the same spirit.” The “Spirit” he’s referring to is love! How can I be so sure? Well, keep reading! Paul goes on to talk about how we are ALL part of ONE BODY. If any part of “our” body hurts, we minister to it. Why? Because we love our “own” body. Paul said this in Ephesians 5:29-30, “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.” We are all in this body together, and the spirit that holds it together is LOVE!
You will hear me speak more about “one body” in future posts, because it’s this understanding that will be the main catalyst of the ever mounting storm of revival God is preparing us for. And make no mistake, this storm is about to be unleashed!