Ever since birth, we look forward to birthdays. Right after the clock strikes 12am and it’s the next day, we wait another year for another birthday. Birthdays are special because of the anticipation of receiving gifts.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;one Lord, one faith, one baptism;one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.””
Every believer is saved by the same grace, through the same faith, provided by the same saviour. For this reason, God gives gifts to each and every one of us, and not just a few of us. These spiritual gifts are not “one size fits all”, these are designed by God specifically for each and everyone, to serve His purpose. Being members of the body of Christ, He serves as the head, some of us serve as the eyes, some as ears, and some as hands. Although our functions aren’t the same, the body can only operate when all of us work in sync. His grace is essential for us to function properly and contribute to His kingdom.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
Spiritual gifts are something only God can provide. These are not from the flesh, but exclusively from God. Although our gifts are different, we can only receive these IF the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Besides, we can use these gifts only through the grace He has imparted.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God is a giver of gifts. His gifts will not change or disappear like how materialistic gifts do. These are the only gifts that will remain constant in a life full of changes.
1 Peter 4:10-11
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Gifts are given to be used. When gifts are given but unused, it defeats the purpose of receiving a gift that is designed according to God’s expectations from you. Materialistic gifts are used for our own benefit, while spiritual gifts are used to benefit and help others. We will only be capable of bringing glory to God and His kingdom when we use these. To use these gifts, our words and actions must reflect godliness; our life should speak volumes about the God we serve. Only then, will the purpose be fulfilled and His name be glorified. But what are these gifts?
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”
“So, Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.”
God has given the church gifts of 1) administration (captain steers the ship); 2) leadership/pastorship (to direct people to a goal); 3) apostleship (plant and spread the seeds of the Word to inaccessible people); 4) discernment (recognise and distinguish between the voice of God, Satan, world, and the flesh); 5) evangelism (reach out to the lost); 6) exhortation (encouragement); 7) faith; 8) giving; 9) healing; 10) tongues; 11) interpretation of tongues (revelatory); 12) knowledge; 13) mercy; 14) miracles; and 15) prophecy
Fear of rejection and “what ifs” obstruct us from reaching out to people and talking about the Word and God. Those who have received the gift of faith firmly believe that God will create miracles. All gifts are exercised through faith, but gifts of healing and miracle are at the sovereign will of God; only if God wills, these gifts can be exercised. Miracles reveal the presence, glory, and power of God. Why gift of healing? It is meant to draw people who do not know God to Him, so that they may experience and see the power of God. Those who receive the gift of mercy will be merciful to those around them.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.”
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.”
Only when all these gifts are used, will the church be able to grow. Many of us attend Sunday services without using our gifts. To discover our gifts, Holy Spirit should dwell in us, and we must have a close relationship with God. Upon receiving our gifts, we should nurture it and pray for His wisdom to use it. We must look at the giver of gifts, and not the gifts; our words and actions must give glory to Him. As believers, we must bear the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).