on discipleshipFAITH

April 18, 2012

Your Spiritual Gift is Not your Strength

1 Corinthians 12

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 

I am very careful to use the word strengths when it comes to the giftings God has given us. The Scripture is very clear that spiritual gifts are gifts and not strength. Apart from Christ, there is no power in what we do.

Anyway as I was walking to church I felt like God speaking to me regarding spiritual gifts. God in His sovereignty and power endowed the body of Christ with different spiritual gifts. Some have the gift of teaching, some leadership, some healing, some prophecy, some deliverance, some encouragement and some for charity. There are other gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11 to 13.

I felt like the Holy Spirit was teaching me something about spiritual gifts during my five minute walk to the church. “SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE NOT STRENGTHS, THEY ARE GIFTS.” In fact some people use spiritual gifts not to strengthen the body but to divide the body.

I said, “Lord what do you mean?”, how can something that comes from God be a detriment to the church?

It is when an individual highlights the spiritual gifts God has given him/her above God. It is when an individual would move outside the authority of the local church he/she is involved in which God has instituted and cause confusion to a body. It is when a person treats the gifts as if it is his strength and takes pride in it.

I remember almost 15 years ago when I did a stupid thing. I was so pumped with the manifest gifts of the Spirit and my new found gift of speaking in tongues that I would be showing off my gift by speaking in tongues insensitively in a church where they don’t practice it. The gift of tongues was not the problem – I was.

I remember the Holy Spirit rebuking me that time. “Dennis, if you really want to show the whole world that you are speaking in tongues and brag about this gift that I HAVE GIVEN you – then you can either do two things. FIND A CHURCH THAT PRACTICES THAT GIFT or respect your home church and your pastor who finds it uneasy that you do speak in tongues.” I was SMACKED DOWN by the Holy Spirit. I knew I was moving in spiritual pride. I had to repent.

Here are some tips and reminders ( not law) that I think would help you as you practice the spiritual gifts God has given you.

1. Make sure to be under spiritual covering by the pastors and elders of your local church especially if you are called into the gift of prophecy, teaching/preaching, and deliverance. This is a good safeguard to guard yourself against spiritual pride and error.To move without pastoral covering is to go against scriptural principle.

We have numerous cases of people who would prophesy to anyone they meet and would scare off church members. Others would teach a different gospel/heresy that would cause people to be blinded by the truth.

2. Remember that spiritual gifts is to help strengthen the body of Christ in which you are a part of.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

I remember having a meeting with a so called prophet who ordained some of our members to be pastors. I was surprised because the person she ordained was not even qualified for ministry. I respectfully told her that what she was doing (ordaining people she likes) without any witness and covering was really dangerous and had no biblical basis. I asked her now that she is an ordained pastor, where is her flock?

3. Always ask can this be backed up by SCRIPTURE?

It scares me to hear some pastors take EXPERIENCE ABOVE SCRIPTURE. Not because you had an experience means it is dogma. Most cults were born out of this mindset. It was what we call EXISTENTIALISM.

Teachings that some lost letters or lost portions in Scriptures that MIGHT validate the practices and experimentation we have with the supernatural world is dangerous and is like a man walking in thin ice.

4. Always point them back to the gospel.

Don’t just cast out demons – present that only Jesus can fill them and satisfy them.

Don’t just give a moving speech – preach Christ and Him crucified.

Don’t just feed the poor – touch their soul by sharing the gospel.

Don’t just lead with effectively – lead with love that is rooted in Christ.

Don’t just prophesy – speak hope and life that is found in Christ.

5. Make Disciples.

At the end of the day, are we fulfilling the great commission or are we just doing a holy huddle.

Luke 10:20 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Go and make disciples. Occupy till Jesus comes.



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