#562 (22/3/22) DO I HAVE GIFTS AND HOW DO I DISCOVER THEM?
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
i) AS PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST WE ALL HAVE GIFTS
If we are Christians, the Spirit has united us with Christ and are therefore a part of His body,
’Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.’ (1 Corinthians 12:12-15)
Paul is correcting disunity and lack of love, in the use of gifts, in the Corinthian church. Rather than deter this church from the use of gifts, he corrects and encourages them to use the gifts properly - the answer to bad use is not no use it’s proper use! Paul doesn’t, like many Christians, treat unity and love as an end in themselves; rather, he speaks of unity and love so as to use and benefit from gifts. Being part of the body speaks of purpose and action – He gifts us so that, together, we can mature, grow and impact the world for the glory of God! As Paul says,
‘From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ (Ephesians 4:16)
‘Each part’ must do its work. As in a body, there are no redundant members!
ii) HOW DO I DISCOVER MY PART IN THE BODY?
Paul understood that, like the parts of a body, each of us important and different,
‘And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.’ (1 Corinthians 12:16-18)
i) Firstly, study and pray out of God's word. We must build our use of gifts of convictions from scripture. This is about faith. We will not pursue the using gifts if we are not theologically convinced in the empowering and the gifting of the Holy Spirit.
ii) Secondly, to discover your gifts, get serving and try things out. Gifts of administration, teaching, leadership… will emerge as we get involved in things. Finding your gifts is like finding out what the different parts of your body do. As you learn to walk, for example, you soon discover that your face is not a foot!
iii) Thirdly, ask more mature Christians what gifts they see in you. We may think that we are something, but the objective perspective of others is helpful.
iv) Finally, consider what you enjoy and what you are good at. We will be fruitful in the areas in which we are gifted.
Imagine that you were stuck on a sailing ship on a long voyage. Imagine you had no training and so were clueless on what to do. I guess that you might go to the captain and ask if there’s anything that needed doing; you might see someone struggling and so help out; you might see a mess and clear it up… but, inevitably, if you get stuck in, you will find your ‘gifts’. You’ll come to realise that you are no good at navigation but you are great at cooking!
Finding your spiritual gifts is like a bit like this – you seek to serve and love people in word and deed and in so doing you discover who God has made you to be. We find and develop our spiritual gifts primarily through being prepared to serve a need - discovering and developing our gifts as we serve.
Do you need to start believing that you have an important contribution to building God’s church? Do you need to start serving in some way so as to find and develop your gifts? Here’s a quote to inspire you,
‘If we spend less time searching to identify our spiritual gift(s) and more time actually praying and giving and helping and teaching and serving and exhorting those around us, the likelihood greatly increases that we will walk headlong into our gifting without ever knowing what happened. God will more likely meet us with His gifts in the midst of trying to help His children than He ever would while we’re taking a spiritual gifts analysis test.’ (Sam Storms, Spiritual Gifts)