Expository Study Of The Word of God
DEVELOPING AND ACTING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
I Cor.12:1-11, 28-31; Eph.4:11-12; Rom.12:6-8.
Contrary to the belief and understanding of many Christians, spiritual gifts are not just nine, they are many.
From our text, I Cor.12:4-8. There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit (verse 4). These are the gifts of the Spirit, nine in number (I Cor.12:8-10); there are differences of administrations or ministries from the same Lord (verse 5). These are ministering gifts (Eph.4:11-12); Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. There are diversities of operations or effects from the same God i.e. God the Father (Rom.8:3-8). These are so many. These are all called spiritual gifts, given to everyone to profit withal (I Cor.12:7).
However, before we can develop our spiritual gifts and act them, we must first and foremost, discover them. Paul the Apostle started by saying, concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant (I Cor.12:1).
The subject of the gifts of the Spirit is of paramount importance to all Bible-believing Christians. The need for a thorough understanding of the subject cannot be over-emphasized. We need to be thoroughly enlightened in the things which are freely given to us by God.
In the Old Testament, there are sons of prophets. They followed the prophets in their time and were taught the things of the Lord including gifts of the Spirit, impartation, etc. Joshua followed Moses everywhere, learning under him (Exd.24:12-13; 33:11). Gideon was trained through the angel of God sent to him to make him discover he had something in him that can deliver Israel (Judg.6:11-16). Elisha followed Elijah and we found the sons of the prophets in Bethel and Jericho (2 Kg.2:1-7). Paul the apostles warned the Church against ignorance and underscored the importance of gifts of the Spirit (I Cor.14:1, 24 and 25).
The scriptural teaching on the gifts of the Spirit will encourage us to plunge into them and receive while the right knowledge will help us to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit gifts, make the church grow as needs are met. Believers are able to demonstrate the multifaceted nature of God’s power through spiritual gifts. The operations of the gifts will also enhance our individual ministries.
Many Christians and ministers find it difficult to know their ministries and the gifts that go with them. Sincerely speaking, until we discover our gifting and ministries, our lives and ministries may not be impactful. We will not be touching lives. This is one of the reasons many believers ministers and ministries are not blessed today. We are just doing competition, breaking ranks (Joel 2:7); doing copycat because we don’t know what God has called us to do.
Why are many not discovering their ministries?
(i) Unfaithfulness in the little they are doing presently. In the parable of the unfaithful stewards, note the comment of Jesus “If you have not been faithful in unrighteous mammon (money) and in that which is another man’s that which is given to you, who shall give you that which is your own (your own ministry)?” (Lk.16:11-12).
(ii) Lack of interest in evangelism – no passion for souls. Nehemiah was concerned about Jerusalem and the Jews (Neh.1:1-4), then the burden came.
(iii) Inability to entirely dedicate or consecrate our lives – time, talent, treasures, surrendered to God. Whatever is not given to God, He will not use.
(iv) Prayerlessness – God speaks, reveals our ministries, and gives us gifts at the peak of our Christian lives, not when you are dull, weak, and backsliding. Today, prayers are selfish, carnal and survival prayers, no revival prayers.
(v) Disobedience to God – In tithing, regular attendance to meetings, etc. How can God reward disobedience? He will only reward those who are faithful with gifts and ministries.
Having prayed and done the above, how can we know our gifting and ministries?
(a) Through burden – Nehemiah did not have any vision or dream, it was a burden. Burden in any area is an indication God wants you there and the gift He will give you is to help you accomplish it (Neh.1:1-4). It may be burden for youth, women, children, hospitals, marriage, counseling, etc.
(b) Take note of the area you are a blessing to people more than other areas – deliverance and healing, counseling, working with youth, etc. (c) What are your area of interests, desires, etc. (I Tim.3:1). (d) By impression on your heart, with Scriptures that are too powerful to be ignored. (e) By prophesy or revelation (Acts 13:1-2).
(i) They help in the growth of the church.
(ii) They reveal the presence of God.
(iii) The supernatural power of God will be demonstrated.
(iv) The secret of the enemy will be revealed.
(v) Miracles will be a daily occurrence.
(vi) The believers will be edified and Christ glorified.
(vii) It will lead to kingdom expansion
(viii) It will help the one operating the gifts to be more effective in his/her ministry.
(ix) It will make counterfeit gifts to be exposed and disgraced as it happened in Egypt between Moses rod that turned to snake and the magicians’ rod that turned to snakes, Moses’ snake swallowed up their snakes.
(x) The gifts will flow more rather than occasional.
Steps To Developing Our Spiritual Gifts:
Having discovered our gifts, we must develop them so as to maximize them. The following will help us to develop them.
(a) Personal Growth: Personal growth is the mother of all growth. Our daily devotional life, regular study of the word of God will make us grow (2 Pet.1:5-11; Heb.5:12-14; I Cor.14:20). We should also read more edifying books by true servants of God.
(b) Waiting Upon the Lord: Isa.40:28-31. We must practice self-denial, prayer, and fasting to subdue the flesh and increase in faith (Gal.5:24).
(c) Fellowship With The Holy Spirit: We must walk in the Spirit, fellowship with the Holy Spirit, yield to Him so that He can fully control our lives (Gal.5:16, 25).
(d) Entire Consecration: The more we surrender our lives to God, the more He will control us as He wills (Rom.12:1-2).
(e) Moving With Those Who Operate The Gifts To Learn More From Them: Knowing the pitfalls and the way to operate them (Lk.2:46-47; Gal.2:1-12).
(f) Spiritual Thirst and Hunger: Mat.5:6; Psa.63:1-2; Philip.3:10-14. The more we thirst and hunger for more spiritual things, the more we are filled. The challenge of some problems we cannot proffer solutions to should make us desire the best gifts (I Cor.12:31a).
(g) Operate In Your Ministry: This enables us to pray for the corresponding and commensurate gifts (I Cor.12:31a).
(h) Regular Prayer For Refilling: Spending time in prayer will increase the hand of God upon our lives (Acts 4:31).
(i) Praying In The Spirit: (Jude 20). Praying in the Spirit or our prayer languages helps us to plunge ourselves into more of the Spirit’s power, grace, and gifts (I Cor.14:39); don’t forbid to speak in tongues.
(j) Develop Your Spiritual Senses: As we have physical senses, so we have spiritual senses (Heb.15:14).
In the story in John 5, the pool must be stirred before it can minister healing to people. In the same way, you must stir up the gift in you. Paul wrote to Timothy to stir the gift in him, which fear was already covering up.
BECOMING A NEW SHARP INSTRUMENT
Text: Isa.41:15; Jer.51:20 with Eccl.10:10
The above Bible references show God’s intention in raising us up. We are His weapons of war, the instrument to break down all opposing forces and Kingdoms and establish His kingdom everywhere until the Kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of Christ. Right now, Satan, the usurper is in control of many places. Our Father’s territory has been encroached upon; we must rise up, fight, and recover it back to God.
This generation of Christians is only interested in results but not in the cost or paying the price.
After a long time of working, the instrument will get blunt. There is a need for sharpening. This is why a retreat is needed. After we have been laboring for long, we can become blunt, weak, tired, and ineffective. One of the servants of Elisha was very honest. They were doing the work of God when the iron head fell inside water. He could pretend if he wanted to be hypocritical and be making noise – wood knocking wood, but there will be no progress. Some of us have lost our axe head. We are no longer cutting.
What then are the causes?
When we are blunt, the evidence will be visible in our lives and ministries:
The simple truth is that we need revival and renewal. Some who have lost their experiences need a renewal of salvation, sanctification, consecration, commitment, Holy Ghost baptism, prayer life, etc.
There is a need for repentance and restitution to God and men. We must rededicate our lives and service to God again. We need a new beginning. We must pray until our fallow ground is broken and God begins to rain righteousness upon us – Hosea 10:12.
When we are sharpened, what shall we become?
How then can we sharpen our blunt instrument? – Through prayer. Using the acronym for the word prayer, let us see how to sharpen our blunt instruments.