Means of Grace- Spiritual Gifts
As I have traveled through this life of faith for over 30 years I have been privileged to see various aspects of the Christian Church. I began in the Lutheran Church, became very active in the Charismatic or Pentecostal movement, and have landed quite soundly in the Reformed perspective. There was an element of the spiritual gifts in all these views: some more, some less. I don’t have the space to explain each of the gifts, there are great websites for that, but only to touch on why they are given as a means of God blessing His beloved Church.
We begin in 1 Cor. 12 and 14 where Paul declares that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are important, should not be ignored, are uniquely different with each person, and work in unison within the Body of Christ. That is so important to remember. It’s not about the individual ability to speak in tongues, heal the sick, give mercy, or lead ministries, I think you understand where I’m going; it’s about being an integral part of the bigger picture. In Rom. 12 Paul again lists some of the varied gifts but what stands out to me as I read that passage is that we are to stay in a place of humility as God sovereignly chooses which gift to give to whomsoever He has decided. It’s not about you; it’s about Him. We are only channels through whom He distributes grace. The image of the body with Christ as the Head so beautifully pictures for us how the gifts of the Spirit should work together for the same good. Eph. 4 says it so beautifully:
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12 NLT)
As believers in Jesus Christ and an active part of the Church it is our responsibility to use our gifts to help our church family grow utilizing whatever spiritual strength God has given us. The gifts all look a little different because we are created quite unique, however, the spiritual growth of the church continues to depend on these gifts of grace.
And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. (1 Corinthians 14:12 NLT)
God is working through you to build up His body; don’t ignore the spiritual gifts. They are diverse (we are all about diversity, right?) and have many facets or perspectives but they are imperative to your church.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10 NLT)