Faith Fix: Don’t Open Until… (ATP)
How do I know what my spiritual gifts are?
Romans 12:6 (NKJV)
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…
It’s not long when immersed in churches like ours before one starts having the question, how will God use me? In fact, I believe that this should be the heart of every believer. Now you may notice (or maybe not) that I cut the above verse off. I did so purposely, and I think this a good jumping off point to build our answer upon.
A minister once answered me when I asked him about what “office or offices” he stands in, “I prefer to focus on the office that’s needed in the moment.” This spoke to me and still does today. The office or the giftings are important, however sometimes we place way too much emphasis on how we are gifted rather than why.
I am not suggesting that the person who asked this question is focused on the wrong thing, but this is a great opportunity to make sure to help keep a heart, or even all of our hearts right. What we are called to and what giftings we have to accomplish, are all important things, however it is really easy to start exalting man when we discover them. We shouldn’t start off seeking what God has empowered us with, but in the knowing that He has, and that in the right time we will start to understand.
When I first came into the Family Churches, I had a lot of wrong thinking. I was pretty sure I was a prophet, however I could barely tie my shoes. When we are young in the faith, these things, especially as we watch others operate in them, can be very enticing. If we don’t think right, we easily slip into error. Have you noticed when you first become aware that God has a plan for you it’s exciting, but it generally is also not revealed to you what that plan is? I think everyone reading this would say yes. Well God isn’t a fool. In 1 Timothy 5:22 Paul instructs Timothy, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily…” What he is referring to is to not lay hands on someone putting them in the ministry. In 1 Timothy 3:6 concerning a pastor, Paul says they should “not (be) a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” These are strong warnings that should be heeded carefully.
Whenever I hear of someone who God has revealed to them the fullness of His plan right up front and then they immediately go out and start prophesying great things trying to draw crowds, I have serious doubts to their “calling”. Why, you may ask? Because it’s clear according to scripture, God doesn’t do things that way. Even Jesus had to be proven!
We encourage every believer to serve in their local church and to do it with their whole heart. Don’t just simply give God a little bit when you have time, but seek out places where you can do more. If you really want to grow, look for places in your life where you can sacrifice in order to bless God’s church and His people. I have heard many “novices” over the years believe that they were called to ministry, yet they show up to church late, don’t show up at all, or have no desire to really promote God’s ministry. They generally won’t even faithfully serve where they are given opportunity. Do you want to know when you have served in “lesser” areas long enough? When you start in a place you don’t like but grow to the place where you would be sad to leave it! I always take note of how people serve. When I knew I was called to something (not even realizing what) I couldn’t stop being at church. I wanted to be a part of everything God was doing. My heart was for God’s work, where He called me to grow. If someone does not have this drive, I question whether there is even a call there or not.
Remember what Jesus said in Luke 16:12, “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” This is a profound statement, worthy of much consideration. Now, I am certainly not trying to discourage anyone, but this brings me to my point. God has a plan for each of us, and that plan is fulfilled by His grace and our willingness. Both work together, for we are co-laborers with Him. The fullness of that plan will only be discovered as you walk it out.
As a faithful believer does even the most menial things, the Holy Spirit will speak to them. As we walk out the early stages of our faith faithfully, God will reveal greater things in every believer. One of the most wonderful things about it is this, it will become evident to all. In fact, I have learned this, in the faithful, as a pastor, I will typically see people’s giftings before they do. Is this scriptural? It certainly is! Again we look to Timothy. 1 Timothy 4:15 says, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”
So if you’re seeking what God wills to do through you, this is a good thing. Give yourself entirely to the place where God has planted you because that is the beginning of the plan. Just as you wouldn’t read a novel starting at the end, begin at the beginning. All His spiritual gifts grow out of this very place