A few years ago, it was all the rage to find out what your spiritual gifts are. There are tests you can take to find out, but I want you to consider something. If first and foremost we realize that spiritual gifts are beyond the natural – characterized by the spirit – then our focus as we deal with the gifts shouldn’t necessarily be the gifts but should instead follow what Paul said when he said, “Walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
In other words, walk by the Spirit and what will flow from you are characteristics of the spirit – the spiritual gifts. If I’m walking in the spirit it doesn’t matter what I’m doing because whatever I’m doing will be characterized by the spirit whether I’m singing, preaching, teaching, cooking a meal, etc. – if I’m under His control, those gifts will be flowing out to other people.
Walk with Christ and Just Be Who You Are
In light of that, I think one of the things we need to do is just start living our lives under the control of the spirit doing what we do, and as we look back we’ll see all sorts of impact, and all sorts of results because of our gifts.
I don’t think I need to spend a lot of energy finding out what my gifts are, but rather walking with Christ, doing what I do, being who I am – and the gifts will be there. You can see what flows from your life, and how God is using you. Remember the key word – spiritual. Spiritual. Spiritual.
God’s Gifts and Graces
The second word I want to look at is in 1 Corinthians 12:4a, “There are different kinds of gifts.” The reason I want to focus on that is because of what that word means. “Gifts” really means “graces.”
That means every gift you have, and every way God uses you, however that may be, is something completely of His empowering presence. You didn’t earn it, or work for it, or didn’t even necessarily ask for it. It’s something God has given to you as a gift. And how God uses you is by grace – by His empowering presence to be who He created you to be and to do all He’s called you to do. That’s what the gifts are really all about – it’s what HE’S doing. Not us.
My redemption is a gift. The way He loves me is a gift, the way He accepts, fills, and trains me is a gift. It’s all by grace. And to top all of that off, He enables me to serve Him and that’s a gift too.
God Even Uses the Weird Ones
When I think of the grace that’s involved with how God uses us, one of the things that dawns on me is being aware of how weird I can be. Occasionally, I will be in contact with friends that knew me way back when. They get really blessed seeing what the Lord is doing, not because it’s so great, but because they realize, “there really is a God – that guy was such a ding-a-ling – I can hardly believe that God would use a guy like that!”
That is very encouraging to people who feel like God could never use them. I got told all kinds of things when I was first moving to Wyoming to start my first church: “You’re crazy,” “You’ll never make it,” and some dear soul was so encouraging, “You’ll come back in a pine box!” I don’t know, I guess they thought I would die of starvation or exposure when the wagon train got stuck.
I have this theory now that weird people ought to go into the ministry – you know why? Because it becomes a demonstration of God’s grace!
That God uses any of us is all grace – all the gift of His empowering presence as He shapes us and ministers through us.