One of the biggest inward struggles a Christian can face is this question: What is my spiritual gift and how should I use it?
There are two extremes you could take with this issue. One is to search obsessively for your gift, and then focus so much on using this gift that you forget to take time to tend to your own relationships, including your relationship with God. God becomes more about how He will use you and your gift instead of how you will deepen your relationship with Him. The other extreme is to be so full of doubt that you decide you don’t have a gift or anything to offer. You become so frustrated at how to use your gift that you even become angry with God for not showing you or using you enough.
The problem with both of these mentalities is that sometimes we view God has a human boss and we want Him to give us clear, black and white descriptions of what we have been given, how we are to use it, and what our rewards will be as a result.
However, God is not human and therefore He does not operate as a human. So, let’s look at the big picture and break down what we do know and what we don’t know:
What we Know:
1. God will use us: Whether a person’s heart is for God or against Him, He will use each person according to His own purposes and plan. Look at the story of Moses. Moses’ heart was for God and God used Him to lead His people closer to God and His will. Pharoah’s heart was against God, but God still used Him as part of His plan to free His people and illustrate the destruction of what happens when a person turns against God.
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)
2. If we are believers in Christ we have a spiritual gift: Jesus has every spiritual gift in Him. He has shared these gifts with you. It would be wise to draw closer to Jesus and allow Him to transform your heart to become more like His, then obsessively searching for what your exact gift is. The closer you become to Jesus, the more your gift will be revealed through you.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
(1 Peter 4:10)
3. Our obedience matters: When we are obedient to God in our thoughts, words, and actions we open the door for God to use us in a good way. When we disobey God we open the door for God to use us in ways we would probably rather not be used. Again, God will use us…our obedience to His will may determine how He will use us.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
What we Don’t Know:
1. How God will use us and our gifts: We like to plan and control, so our thought process about our spiritual gifts naturally goes into wanting to plan what they are and how they will be used. However, God’s thoughts and ways are much bigger and deeper than ours, so we really have no way to understand how He will use us. Could Paul have imagined that Christians would still be reading his letters thousands of years later? Could a woman who simply smiles as a stranger understand what that smile has meant?
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
2. What kind of fruit we will bear: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is the type of fruit we need to look for in ourselves, however we can’t understand how God will transform and change our hearts over time. Hope for and search for all of these fruits to bear within your heart as you serve.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
3. How much reward we will see: Many of the rewards from our earthly efforts will be eternal; meaning we won’t see the result of our efforts until we reach heaven.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.
(1 Corinthians 3:11-14)
Looking at the big picture we see that God has given each of us a gift that can be used to help, encourage, and serve other people. Remember it’s about just that – helping people. Your gift is to be shared to build other people up, not to build yourself up. Stay close to Jesus, draw near to Him, and He will bear much good fruit from you. That…we know.
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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a New Goal
Knowing and Understanding Your Spiritual Gift
A Practical Way to Hear God’s Voice