November 4, 2018

Power through gifts

The Bible says that God is in the work of transforming His people to be like Jesus. However, this is not intended to produce clones. We are not the same and sameness is not His intention. In producing Christ-likeness, there is a sense of being united in love yet Christians have distinct personalities, interests, and ways of doing thing. This is because the Lord intends unity in diversity to make His Spirit and His life evident in the entire church. While He does not ignore our differences, our greatest power is in the life He gives us:

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)

The life of the Holy Spirit is made evident in several ways. Spiritual fruit is one example. No matter how different my personality is from the Christian next door, both of us can demonstrate the love, peace and joy of God.

Another example is spiritual gifts, but instead of being similar (like the fruit) our spiritual gifts bring out different aspects of what God is like and His power. From the list in Romans 12, it can be seen how He motivates some to be leaders, teachers, discerning prophets, servers, etc. Each of us can have all these motivations at times, but one or two are dominant and that makes us different from each other yet still like Him.

Another way the Spirit gifts His people is for service with whatever is needed at the moment. These vary as does their timing and usefulness, but all are from the Holy Spirit and all are for the common good:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:4–12)

In this way, the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed to a needy world. He does it collectively through the church for a full picture even though this requires individual cooperation. As Tozer says, “There is no divine incoming until there is the human emptying.” I cannot be filled with the Spirit and demonstrate what Jesus is like unless I am first emptied of myself. Otherwise, when people look at me, they see only me (the old fleshy nature) instead of getting even the smallest glimpse of what God is like.

The process is simple and simply stated:

“Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight my paths. Be not wise in my own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to my flesh and refreshment to my bones. (Proverbs 3:5–8 personalized)  

Jesus, each day is filled with choices. Will I trust You or go my own way? Will I turn to You and follow You as You direct my paths? Will I allow Your Spirit to fill me and gift me and use me? Or will I do my own thing? To me, being part of what You are doing in this world is greater than anything else I could put on my to-do list, yet I realize that I cannot make up Your to-do list and need to trust You with all my heart.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

I can see Proverbs 3:5–8 is very important to you!