Discovering God's Gifts Lead to a Healthy Life
An old saying suggests that “Ignorance is bliss”. That might be true when it comes to quantum physics, nuclear disarmament talks, what your children ate in the yard yesterday, the complexities of teenage driving or a variety of other subjects. But it is not true of other dimensions of life.
We would not say that someone ignorant of love, of tenderness, or of joy is blissful. Sometimes ignorance simply means missing the experience of something that can bring meaning and value to life. The Apostle Paul, the greatest leader of the church in the first century, felt that way about our topic today.
“Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant” (I Corinthians 12:1).
Definition: “A spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to do something that builds up God’s family, encourages others, and glorifies God beyond a believer’s natural ability”
If you are here today checking out Christianity, this is important for you to know. Many people mistakenly think that Christianity is about saying a prayer for God to be in your life, and then pretty much living how you please. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christianity is about living in dynamic relationship with the Creator of the Universe in such a way as to be part of His kingdom game plan. It means getting on the playing field of spiritual life and being part of the game. Spiritual gifts are an important aspect of what it means to be a Christ follower and you should know about it even before you make your decision about stepping across the line of faith.
If you are a Christ follower here today, this is important stuff. The whole subject of spiritual gifts helps put to rest the deception that many people buy about spirituality. Spiritual life is not all about an inward journey that brings you to cosmic consciousness. It is about being rightly related to the Creator of the Universe and then discovering His game plan for your part in His work in the world and in other people! Spiritual gifts then are a vital part of health in a way that goes beyond what you may have ever thought of before. It is one of the five dimensions of health.
A healthy life discovers God’s gifts and searches for their unique part in God’s kingdom game plan
Gifts: We believe that God has uniquely gifted and shaped every Christian. Spiritual gifts are entrusted to believers for effective service of Christ in the world and in the church. Discovery and use of spiritual gifts is an essential dimension in the life of a disciple.
Have you seen the commercial with Shaq doing ballet? Even if you’re great in one area, it doesn’t mean that you can master another area!
Let’s get to Paul’s teaching about spiritual gifts. He was writing to a group of people in Corinth who were living a pretty bizarre life. On the one hand, lots of miracles were taking place (they had the equivalent of a 24-hour, non-stop televangelist show going on!). On the other hand, there were all kinds of moral and relationship problems happening there as well. So Paul writes them about a number of subjects including spiritual gifts. Here’s what he had to say in the most basic NT passage on this issue:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (I Corinthians 12:4-7, 11).
Six Baseline Truths about Spiritual Gifts:
- Different gifts, same Spirit
- Different ministries, same Spirit
- Different effects, same spirit
- Everyone has one
- Given for the common good
- God’s Spirit distributes as He wills
Story of the Animals in Africa
Well, if I buy into the idea that spiritual gifts are important, how do I go about discovering my spiritual gift or gifts? Here are five basic steps to discovering your spiritual gift and finding God’s spot for you on the playing field of spiritual life:
How to Discover Your Spiritual Gift(s)(Romans 12:1-8)
1) Dedicate Yourself
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”(vs. 1)
2) Eliminate Wrong Thinking
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”(vs. 2)
3) Evaluate Realistically
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (vs.3)
4) Connect with the Team
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (vss 4-5)
Spiritual life is a team sport!
5) Activate Your Gifts
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (vss 6-8)
Do you really want to be happy? Do you really want to raise your self-esteem? Do you want to feel like you’re making a significant difference with your life? Then you need to find a place and start making an unselfish contribution with your life on a volunteer basis.
Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you.” All the other things that you’re worried about He’ll take care of them. It doesn’t says, “Seek second, third... fourth... fifth... finish your To Do list and then see if you’ve got anytime for ministry.” It doesn’t say, “Fill your schedule up and fulfill it and then see if you’ve got anytime for unselfish service” No, put it first. Think of somebody else first. And God says, “When you do that, I’ll take care of you.”
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