October 23, 2016

The Spirit Who Gifts Us

Last time we considered how the Wisdom, the Holy Spirit, of God helps us to discern our path by guiding us when we ask. When we are directed by God’s Spirit, we will be given gifts to help us do the work of God and bring about the Kingdom. Jesus tells his disciples that “I do not call you servants…I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. So whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.” (John 15: 15-16)
As descendants of the disciples, we are inheritors of that same promise. You see lots of commercials on TV about getting your DNA tested to find out what ethnic background you are from. Our spiritual ethnic background is clear. We have the same DNA as our Father and Brother. That means we are royalty, and we have spiritual gifts. In fairy tales, often the hero or heroine is given something special which they must not lose. We also have been given something extra special, and we cannot lose it because it is an eternal gift from our loving God.
We are gifted by the Spirit in precisely the right way for our situation. The Holy Spirit gives us exactly the right gifts to do the service and act in the way that God created us for. As the 1 Corinthians citation notes, “All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” Furthermore, the gifts we have right now are the ones we need right now! That’s a helpful thing to remember when it seems like we are in over our head or asked to do something we don’t think we can do.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we are told, “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 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 discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” (I Corinthians 12:3-11)
Matthew Fox in his book Original Blessing reminds us that we are queens and kings in the Kingdom of God. We are direct heirs of the King of kings. Therefore, as Madeline L’Engle says, we are ‘co-creators with God’. It is the Spirit that works in us so that we are aware and so we can participate in the work of God. Recently I read Believing God by Beth Moore. She suggests that we remember 5 important things about God’s work in our lives:
God is who He says He is. 
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God’s Word is alive and active in me.

When we remember that we are daughters and sons of God, and that we are meant to work with God to bring about the Kingdom, it can change our attitude. If we are prophets, priests, royalty (and we are) then we ought to act in that way. We need not fear because God is in charge. The words of Jesus in Luke 12, “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father’s is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourself with purses that will not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven” (Luke 12:31-33) take on a deeper meaning. Our Father is pleased to give us the kingdom. Therefore, we can work for the good of the Kingdom without worrying about what ‘people might think’, or that we could fail. We are assured that we have the Gifts necessary for doing the work right now!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by what you feel God is asking you to do? Is it reassuring to know that the Holy Spirit has given you just the right gifts for the job?
How does the idea of being a co-creator with God to bring about the Kingdom make you feel?

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a brief break to look at the way culture and the church honor the saints, those who live and use their gifts, before concluding this series by considering some of the specific spiritual gifts and why they are needed in the church. 

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