Before we decide to run our first marathon, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. The doctor can check our heart to make sure a marathon is a realistic goal.
Before we use our spiritual gifts, we also need a heart check. Pride can render our spiritual heart insensitive. It pollutes our gifts and makes their use more damaging than helpful.
Pride can make us overrate ourselves (Romans 12:3). That inevitably causes conflict. When we, like porcupines, puff up our quills, we jag one another.
Pride can make us underrate ourselves. Humble Christians don’t evaluate themselves based on looks, intelligence or wealth. They focus on their God-given abilities to carry out spiritual ministry. They don’t stoop to seem smaller. They’re comfortable in their own skin.
Humility reduces conflict. Other churches don’t have to be just like ours. God emphasizes unity despite great diversity in the body of Christ (Romans 12:4–5). He uses a variety of tools. Our goal isn’t to be “hammer of the month.” We’re all part of one tool chest. We have different God-given abilities. Let’s give other believers the freedom to be all God created them to be.
Verses 6–8 describe seven specific abilities God’s Spirit gives. There are others. Exercising our gifts benefits God and other believers (verse 7). So, what are the seven gifts?
Prophecy can include predictions for the future. But generally, it’s communicating revealed truth which convicts and builds up the hearers. It must include only what God has revealed and be spoken in entire dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Serving is meeting the material needs of believers. It equips them to carry out their own divine assignments.
Teaching is instructing others in Christian doctrine in a way they understand. It includes living in harmony with that teaching. It’s both show and tell.
Encouraging urges other believers on to patience and perseverance by appealing to their heart and will. It might include clapping and cheering for them as necessary to bring out the best in them.
Giving is spontaneously contributing to the needs of others. It must be done with singleness of heart and pure motives. Givers don’t expect to receive anything in return.
Leading is the ability to govern the affairs of the church. Such leaders are vigilant over the flock. They don’t seek to elevate themselves.
Showing mercy is ministering to the sick and needy. It must be carried out cheerfully and spontaneously.
On February 9, 1941, at the end of his speech, Winston Churchill said, “Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job.”1 God has given us the tools. Our purpose on earth is to use them to carry out our assignments. To discover your gifts search “Church Effectiveness Nuggets: Volume 24.”
I invite you to check out my book, His Power for Your Weakness, a devotional discipleship resource and to share it with others: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B09NZG9W7L&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_FSRD4SGCXC35KMZ6ED5R
See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
You can find this blog at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/post/god-s-toolbox