Gifts Of Grace Pt 2 (ATP)
How do I know what my spiritual gifts are?
Romans 12:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
For the second part of this Faith Fix, I want to focus on discovering our giftings. If you truly grasped Pt 1, then you are qualified to move on. If not, go back until you do because none of this will apply to you.
The gifts God gives us are important and I do not want to take away from that. The problem I find sometimes in our reading of scripture is when we filter certain things through our own understanding and not His. For example, I constantly remind my people that the word “hope” in scripture is not what we usually consider the word to mean. Hope in scripture means expectation and not knowing this will throw your understanding of the Word off when you come across it. The word “gifts” is similar. It isn’t a gift for you but for the Kingdom of God. If it is used in anyway to inflate oneself it is being misused. I believe the best way to approach a gift is when one gets to the point where they truly feel, “Lord, if you can use anyone else, please do, but I will be obedient to You!”
That said, there are two words that go quite well with gift, I’d say are the keys to discovering them, and those words are submission and humility. Our perfect example of this is Jesus Hmself. Philippians 2:5, 7-9 says, “Let this mind be in you… but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” There are some key things I want the readers to focus on in these passages. The words: made Himself of no reputation, became like a bond servant, humbled Himself, was obedient to death, God exalted Him. Out of all the things that transpired exaltation was God’s part ONLY AFTER Jesus did His. Yes, even Jesus was in complete submission and humility.
The first step to discovering our gifts is to get our mind right. In 2021, I have probably used Romans 12:2 in almost every service. We have to think right before we can embrace what God has for us to do. God’s way is to lower ourselves SO THAT, He can do the exalting. When you get to the point where you utilize the gifts God gives, there will be a level of exaltation. The person ministering therefore must have a certain character already established in them before they can be used or they will fall victim of pride.
The next step in the process is to bring what you have before the Lord. How do we do that? We submit in the place that God has placed us. A person who doesn’t serve or rarely serves in the local church will never enter a God ordained ministry of any kind. Jesus did it, the apostles did it, and all effective disciples did and do it. The Lord brings us to a local church and a pastor in order for us to serve. 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?” Serving faithfully is a requirement of God and also a requirement in our churches. No person will ever be promoted, no matter how “gifted” without proven faithfulness and submission in the local church.
I want to address something here, because I know some will not like the idea of submission to a pastor. Let’s keep our thinking right. Pastors are instructed to lead and feed without being lords (1 Peter 5:3) over people’s lives. Submission doesn’t mean a pastor tells you how to live your life specifically and you do everything said. A true pastor is doing the Lord’s work but cannot do so alone. They rely on others for the ministry. Jesus likewise, did not work alone but took twelve with Him. A pastor will receive direction for a local body of believers and it is their job to help carry out the work given. You cannot have a bus full of bus drivers and expect to get anywhere!
There were many times over the years that I had to learn new things, sometimes things I never thought I’d be able to do, as I served in the local church. These were things that needed to be done but no one qualified was around to do them. I made myself valuable to both God and my pastor because of my willingness. My calling is to pastor, but I didn’t start off there. I didn’t first hone my speaking skills or even an overly in-depth knowledge of the Word. That is not to say that I was not learning the Word, but I couldn’t necessarily prepare sermons. I did “menial” tasks such as church maintenance, ushering, shoveling snow, cleaning toilets, laying in the mud in the pouring rain to work on things, canceling often our own plans so I could take care of what was needed. I proved to my pastor that I could be trusted and relied upon over and over again. When a person is called out into a greater thing, whatever it is, there should be a tangible absence. The one leaving should learn to love where they serve so greatly, that when they are called on it’s with tears as they go. There are still days where I’d give anything to go back and have one of those days. This is not because I don’t want to be where I’m at but because I have so much love for all that God put into me in that time.
Remember, above everything God wants our heart. It’s not what we say, it’s what we do. Many people say they love God and would do anything for Him but then refuse to do things because they seem beneath them or they flat out. don’t want to. God only desires someone who wants to please Him. This is faith, and this blesses God.
To end this part, I want to encourage you all because I know the things I’ve said seem like a tall order. The best experiences I’ve had with God, and the times I’ve heard His voice the most clear were when I was serving by doing things that at times seemed insignificant. These places were also where I learned the most about myself. God showed me things about me while serving I could have never realized. These things continue to bless me and will so all the more. I am convinced they will with you too. Follow Him, serve God, serve the people of God. When you do, God will take you places you never imagined!