If God gave you a responsibility, what would you do with it? What is the best way to honor God with the power He gave you? As we look in Genesis 42, we see the right way to use authority as Joseph faces his brothers for the first time since they sold him to slavery.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
Every believer has one primary motivational gift
According to the above passage, the seven motivational gifts are:
- Prophecy – Communication of revealed truth that builds up believers
- Service – Practical service to help others
- Teaching – To provide guidance and moral instruction
- Encouragement – Encouraging, comforting, and exhorting others
- Giving – Cheerfully contributing to the needs of others
- Leadership – Service carried out for the benefit of others
- Mercy – Helpful activities such as feeding the hungry, caring of the sick and aging
Not only does the Bible command the church to lovingly exercise all seven of these motivational gifts, but every believer also needs these seven areas in order to grow as God desires.
Do you know your primary motivational gift? It’s our job to discover what that gift is. Spiritual gift inventories may be helpful, but I’ve found the best way is to jump in and try an area of service that seems fitting, (see God’s Masterpiece & Sublime Design).
Taking a class at church and/or talking to someone who knows you well will also help you discover your primary gift. I really like how our church encourages and gives people permission to volunteer for 90 days in an area of service. By the end of three months, the individual has a pretty good idea if he/she has that particular gift. If it’s not a good fit, we’re encouraged to try another area of ministry.
We are most effective for Christ when we lovingly use the gift(s) He has given us, (see 1 Corinthians 13). But this shouldn’t be an excuse for not occasionally taking out the trash, or lending a helping hand for someone whose primary gift isn’t service.
I love that God shapes us uniquely. Our gifts will look differently in the way they are expressed through a variety of ministry. When we exercise our gifts through ministry, the Holy Spirit is the One who determines what impact another believer will receive (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).
How do you know what your primary gift is?
Joy and fruitfulness are often the results when exercising your primary gift.
You are a paintbrush. God uses the paintbrush in your hand (your gifts) to help change and transform others in the body of Christ. And God uses others in your life to make you like Christ.” – Chip Ingram
God’s ultimate makeover is to produce the life of Christ
I found Chip Ingram’s analogy of spiritual gifts and paintbrushes interesting (Your Divine Design). This is my paraphrase:
- Some believers’ gifts are like a paint roller. Although they may not be as personal, they are more effective in a large group setting with their broad paint strokes.
- Some believers’ spiritual gifts are more like a refined artist, patiently painting detailed color and techniques on an individual’s canvas/heart.
You get the picture . . . . There are different paintbrushes for specific jobs; God uses different spiritual gifts for His specific purposes.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV) says: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Where does God do His extreme makeover?
- In His people—the church (Ephesians 2:18-22)
- In the believer’s heart (Ephesians 3:14-19)
How does God do His extreme makeover?
Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and Satan is witnessed through spiritual gifts in His church (Ephesians 4:7-13).
10 Principles for Understanding Spiritual Gifts
(Source: Chip Ingram)
- Every Christian has one or more spiritual gifts.
- Many believers have received more than one spiritual gift.
- Spiritual gifts are given the moment of regeneration, but they may lie undiscovered and dormant for a long period of time.
- Spiritual gifts can be abused and neglected, but if they are received at regeneration, it would appear that they cannot be lost.
- Spiritual gifts are not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Spiritual gifts are not the same as the fruit of the Spirit.
- Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents.
- Some spiritual gifts are more useful in local churches than others because they result in greater edification of the body.
- Charismata literally means “grace gifts”. These gifts are sovereignly and undeservedly given by the Holy Spirit.
- Gifts are God’s spiritual equipment for effective service and edification of the body [church].
Do any of these 10 principles surprise you? If so, which ones? Why?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
God—master artist, architect, builder, designer—knows exactly where and how to apply His creative techniques on us, His canvas. I like Chip Ingram’s analogy (Your Divine Design, Living on the Edge): “Believers [in Christ] are in process . . . process of an extreme makeover.”
In order to understand God’s plan/purpose in giving believers spiritual gifts, we need to first understand the context.
Ephesians 2:1-3 explains who we used to be:
- As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts [prisoners of the world system]. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Ephesians 2:4-6 explains who we are now in Christ:
- But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Why an extreme makeover?
Ephesians 2:7-10 explains God’s purpose:
- . . . in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
- For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (vs. 10)
Is your life different now because of Jesus? How?
What work is God doing in you?
More to come: “Where and how does God do extreme makeovers?”
School is out and for the summer. My kids are electrified.
Wish I felt the same. Actually, I am excited to go biking and camping with Eric and the kids, and visit relatives. With baseball season extending through June, then swim lessons and basketball camp, summer will come and go all too soon. I began planning my next posts, afraid my writing will become jumbled with my kids being home. (My desk is the kitchen table. Sigh.) So please be patient if I become more scattered—makes for a good excuse anyway! 🙂
Since I haven’t written much about “Service,” I thought I would explore there. And I am, but not sharing what I envisioned in terms of hands-on ministry ideas and examples, at least not yet. The Lord keeps reminding me of the following passage:
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – John 6:28-29
In this passage, pisteuō is the Greek word for believe. It means not just to credit as real: “Even the demons believe (in one God)—and shudder,” James 2:19. But this term also means to trust; be persuaded of; place confidence in. It implies reliance upon.
God’s satisfaction with us is based on our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, not on the works we do.
Yes, “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26), but our service, obedience, and following God are not substitutions for salvation or earning God’s favor. Rather, our service to God verifies our faith in Christ.
My next few posts will center on God’s saving faith through Jesus, the eternal God.
I have been blessed and challenged in sharing God’s truths here, as well as encouraged by reading several others’ posts. THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged me in this pursuit. The Lord laid this blogging thing on my heart when my husband was sick in the hospital last winter. After some prayer, He made it clear what I should write—which I’m thankful. (Trust me, you don’t want to read about my daily tasks or what we ate for dinner.) 🙂 Anyway, I enjoy digging into God’s Word. I love how the Holy Spirit speaks personally to the sincere seeker.
Is there a topic you are interested in? What are your summer plans? Anyone planning a vacation? Camping? New job? New hobby? Old hobby? Any prayer requests? I would love to hear from you!