ON THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Now to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.( 1 Corinthians 12: 7″
To exercise the Gifts, the most excellent way is in the way of LOVE (1 Corintians 13: 1-13)
In other words, everyone has at least a spiritual gift. Any believer and follower of Jesus Christ is given at least a gift. What then is your gift? Surely we have at least one in the HELP or SERVICE category, unles we want to bury our gift! BUT WE HAVE AT LEAST ONE!
SIX BLIND MEN AND AN ELEPHANT
I have heard of a group of people who does not allow others to pray with them, even if he is a pastor! In another case, unless you speak in tongues, you will not be included in their fellowship. PAUL ASKed, can everyone be an eye, or an hand? Every part of the body is as important as any other part. Suppose everyone is an eye, i suppose we will all be lying on the ground with no ability to move because we do not have legs or hands. The legs enable to eye to be carried around isn’t it.
Somebody once said that we should pray in the comfort of our own homes rather than in the jungles or even mountains where we meet all kinds of difficulty. My answer to that person was, “Brother, if someone give both of us a guitar, we can sing for hours and hours but if you ask me to pray, I will not be able to pray as long as those who are given the special gift of praying.These people will pray any where and for days or hours because that is their gift.We can pray but not that long. They can sing but not as long.
I find myself very close to God when I sing because that’s one of the gift God gave me. For those given the gift of praying, they find themselves very close to God because that’s their gift!
The main problem is, some people felt that theirs is the surest way to be close to God and therefore to them, what the others have are not that true.
I have read a story about 6 blind men and an Elephant. Their teacher wanted the six blind men to know how an elephant look like so he brought them near an elephant. One of the blindmen touched the tail, and exclaimed that an elephant is like a rope. Another touched the leg and said that an elephant is like a tree trunk. Yet another touched the ear, and he expressed that an elephant is like a winnowing implement. Another said an elephant is like a snake after he touched the trunk. The blindman who felt the body of the elephant with his hands insisted that an elephant is like a wall!The last one touched the tusk and said the elephant is very sharp at the end, like a spear. ( I cannot really remember how the story goes because i read the story some 35 years ago!)
These blind men are like us, because we cannot see the spiritual realms or things of the spirit with our physical eyes. We can only feel through the gift that God has given to each and everyone of us- and it is not very clear either!
There is truth in what each blindman said because he based it on his own personal experience. They can choose to quarrel to insist that theirs is right and they will certainly not give in.But if each one is able to try to touched what the others had touched, I believe they will be able to come with a better conclusion and they will agree that what they had felt earlier is not wrong. At least it was part of the whole!
The spiritual gifts that God has given to us is mean to help us be able to serve God and the body of Christ much better.It is not meant to separate or make us different.What the other has is also part of the whole and is from the same Spirit as what Paul said in his first letter to Corinthians. Noone can really claimed that his or hers is the only truth and therefore the surest way.
Once you know your gift, I believe you will find yourself very close to God and God very close to you when you practise it by serving others.
WHY SO MANY DIFFERENCES AMONG CHRISTIANS NOWADAYS?
Once, I was in a Christian meeting comprising of pastors and lay leaders and they were debating emotionally on a number of issues and none appear to give in and I felt that there will be a lot of discontentment. There will be an election for office bearers and before this election there were some campaigning and sadly some flying letters discrediting certain people. I stood up and told them, the problems with you pastors and leaders is, there is jealousies and envy among you.
When we talk about the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we are talking about knowing the truth and therefore unity in the Spirit. We need not quarrel because, surely the Holy Spirit who is in us will make all of us agree on the truth and not split.Unless of course the Holy Spirit is not really in us. But if He is really in us, we will think similarly and we will agree on what is good and true and acceptable. Do we need to campaign? Surely, the Holy Spirit will put in our heart the right person! So we don’t have to campaign who is better etc..
Many of us preach about the Holy Spirit but sadly, we are not aware of how He really operates in our everyday lives and how all Christians should be united because He is the only and the same Spirit in Christians.God, through The Holy Spirit also gives words of grace into our mouths to uplift others and to heal even if there is disagreement. Discords, disunity is not of the Holy Spirit but our own corrupted spirit complying with the desire of the natural man.
WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT?
A spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the body of Christ, according to God’s grace,
for use within the context of the Body.
The Greek word for spiritual gift is charisma, which comes from the root word CHARIS, which in Greek means grace.
Gifts are used within the context of the Body, which is congregational in nature.
Most spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are found in Romans 12, 1Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4.
1 CORINTHIANS 12
6.Discerning of spirits
8.Interpretation of tongues
OTHER GIFTS MENTIONED ELSEWHERE
1. Celibacy(1 Cor 7:7)
2. Voluntary poverty (1 cor 13:3)
3. Martyrdom(1 cor 13:3)
4. Hospitality (1Peter 4:9)
SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW
1. Natural talents are not spiritual gifts, for atheists do have natural talents too.
2. Spiritual gifts are reserved for Christians
3. Spiritual gifts are for some, fruits of the Spirit such as in Galatians 5:22,33 are for all.
4. Spiritual gifts are temporary but the fruits is eternal (1 Corinthians 13)
5. Gifts are task-oriented while fruits of the Spirit is God-oriented.
SINCE GOD WANTS EVERY BELIEVER TO DO SOMETHING FOR HIM, WHAT IS THE THING THAT YOU REALLY LOVE TO DO FOR THE CHURCH AND GOD? That is your gift!
REMEMBER THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO EVERYONE WHO BELEIVES IN HIM THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE!SO EVEN IF YOUR OTHER GIFTS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS, YOU KNOW THAT YOU STILL CAN MAKE IT TO HEAVEN.
WHO DO YOU WORSHIP?THE GIVER OR THE GIFTS?
Many people have forgotten about the Giver. They always talk about the gifts, and that is what is happening in the Christian church nowadays. The gifts is celebrated, talked about, and had become the cornerstone of many church activities. People were classified and divided along that line.Division appeared in the church because the gifts is placed higher than the Giver. The Holy Spirit is forgotten. The gifts, if not understood well, will bring a lot of disunity, BUT the HOLY SPIRIT will unite. So without the Holy Spirit, there will be disunity.
WHY IS THE GIFTS GIVEN TO US?
A famous evangelist wrote that the gifts is given to equip the Christians to destroy the work of evil.The gifts is a weapon- a very powerful weapon to help us.The gifts is not suppose to be hidden or be kept for our own use- it is for the body of Christ.That is why Paul told Timothy to stir the gifts that is in him.Our gifts might be dormant and not being used. Remember the talents given to one of the servants?That fellow hid his talents inside the ground and when the master asked for it to be given back.. it was taken away from him and he was thrown into the darkness!
We are stewards of the gifts God had bestowed upon us. Please refer to the parable of the Talents and the 10 Minas. We could be any one of the persons entrusted with the gift.
EXERCISING OUR GIFTS:
1. PRESENTING OUR BODY AS A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD.
In Romans Chapter 12, reminds us to be holy and acceptable to God so that we are fit for the Holy Spirit to use. How can we exercise our gift if we, the vessel is dirty and unfit for the Holy Spirit? If we are still conformed to the world, the Holy Spirit cannot use us.
2. STAY CONNECTED TO THE VINE. We cannot expect the Holy Spirit to work through us if we are detached from the source.
3. UNITY. The working of the Holy Spirit is diverse but from the same spirit. No one should think that he is more important than the other.
4. BY WAY OF LOVE. According to Paul, this is the most excellent way.(1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)
– He compares all the gifts with love and says they are nothing without love!
– Love is PATIENT. When we exercise our gift, patience is really needed. Not all have the same gift. Surely some will take time to understand or response. We tend to make mistake when we rush into things.
– Love is KIND. There are people who love to give more. Being kind really bring benefits to the body. Being kind in giving in kinds and in words work wonders in any church.
– Love is not jealous or boastful. The spirit of covetness cause jealousy in us. We want what others have for ourselves. We want someone else gifts because they seemed so popular or blessed. Because we covet the gift of others, we forgot that we also have a spiritual gift. We also have gift by the same Spirit and we are busy looking at others and forgot to exercise ours! Why should we boast if such gift does not belong to ourslves but a grace of God? So love is generous by letting the others have their gifts or by letting others get honoured or blessed more. We should be happy when others do their part well.
– Love is not arrogant or rude. We are used to keeping to ourselves and not wanting others to help or tell us. Remember the birds of the same feathers flocks together? we look down on others. The eyes say no to the foot. The hands say no to the head or legs? Those who has the gifts of tongues say we don’t need this pastor to follow us because he does not speak in tongues! If the legs don’t want the eyes to follow, chance is the leg will crash the body against the wall, or bring the whole body down into the drain, because the legs cannot see. Love is humility. When we exercise our gift with humility, God will lift us.
– Love does not insist on its own way. The eyes and the hand cannot force the legs to go if the legs is not well. He might break down along the way. If we push our members too much, he might collapse. He might leave the ship.
– Love is not irritable or resentful. Easily angry and full of disatisfaction is not a good character for ministry. You are sure to chase people away. But gentleness and kindness will attract.
– love does not keep records of wrong. There are gifts which enable us to see secrets. We have to be faithful and hopes of the best in any individual and not to gossips. We must be merciful and forgiving. Keeping grudge in ministry only breads quarrels because grudge kept in the heart is like keeping a poisonous substance.
– love rejoices in the right. Have you every rejoice when your rival falls or disgraced etc? When the people we dislike got hurt or destroyed? In ministry, we work for the same God. We walk for the same Spirit. There is no rival. Whoever does something good, we should rejoice, like the angels. When someone falls, we must be sympthatic.
Yes, as we exercise the spiritual gifts in us, remember this. Our gifts count for nothing without love.