At my church we are studying the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12, 13 and14). Each member is to take a spiritual gifts test, get their results, and then speak with one of our associate pastors about those results. (http://www.churchgrowth.org/analysis/intro.php
) My pastor wants us to be as effective as we can as Christians. Additionally a website has been built inviting people all over the world to pray for revival(www.worldrevival.org
).Knowing our gifts is to prepare us for when God answers these prayers.
As a counselor I am aware of how many of us don't claim all that God has given us.Spiritual gifts are often not taught. How effective can we be if we don't even know what our spiritual gifts are? 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy:" and 1 Corinthians 12:1 states, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant." Now that is a pretty clear statement concerning God's intentions for us regarding His gifts.
Because I test people's natural God-given aptitudes (non-learned abilities) that give career and/or volunteer direction to their lives, I know how much being aware of our gifts gives critical information regarding what we were created for: our ministry if you will.(www.highlandsco.com
) Some people believe we operate out of one gift, others believe we operate out of a number of gifts. My first teachings on the gifts indicated that we each have one major gift. This gift can be funneled through one of the five fold ministries as mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers).Our gifts are then distributed as the Holy Spirit directs to the people involved in whatever you are doing. For instance, a person may have the gift of teaching that is funneled through one of the five fold ministry gifts, say, the ministry of pastor. This gift of teaching is received by others listening to him, possibly as encouragement to one, to another a word of knowledge and to another faith. There are numerous combinations that can be formed by the Holy Spirit.
Others believe we have several spiritual gifts. I am not sure which one of the two views I side with. Regardless, spiritual gifts are given to us for the purpose of ministering to others as 1Corinthians14:12 states, we are to, "try to excel in the spiritual gifts that build up the church."If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us He will direct our spiritual gifts in helping others.
My spiritual gift test results are exhortation, wisdom, teaching and leadership. I enjoy my gifts because the Holy Spirit gave them to me, but better yet, I love to see how God uses them in people's lives. They are not given because we are special. Iam often amazed and humbled when people tell me how much what I said changed their lives. I ask, "What did I say?” When they tell me what I said I don't remember ever saying it, and if I did, it was just teaching to me but to them the Holy Spirit made it life changing. Twice I prayed with people and they exclaimed, "What did you do to me?" I am thinking, "I didn't do anything but pray." Both of these people reported feeling a heat rush through their bodies from head to toe. I am baffled as to what happened, other than it being the Holy Spirit. Both of these people later reported accounts of emotional healing in certain areas they had struggled with for a long time.
I just want to praise the Lord for being used by God without me even knowing. I was born again as a woman was speaking about how her expectations of life always seem to crash and burn. I identified. When she came to the invitation I prayed with her because I heard, "Invite Jesus into your life. Let Him use your hands, your mouth, your feet to walk around the streets of Atlanta and be Jesus to hurting people." I had struggled with the "I can't live the Christian life syndrome" for so many years and beat myself up for being such a failure. I was instantly drawn to the Lord, hearing Jesus would live His resurrected life in and through me. I was overjoyed and prayed to receive Christ. I bought the tape of her talk and looked forward to hearing it again, especially the part that explained the “how to” of Christianity. I never found it. I rewound it and listened again and again. Did the Holy Spirit take her teaching gift and manifest to me the way I needed to hear it? I think so.
I received an e-mail today I would like to share with you. It is from Os Hillman who speaks indirectly about spiritual gifts. His interesting title Jesus Could Not Heal the Sick reminds me of what Billy Graham once said. I was taken back when Dr. Graham said, "I have never saved anyone." I thought, "What does he mean? He has held hundreds of worldwide evangelical campaigns and hundreds of thousands of people were saved." What, of course, he meant was God saves people. People do not save people. As you read the article think about how God can use your spiritual gift(s).
Jesus Could Not Heal the Sick TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know" (Acts 2:22). In his book, When Heaven Invades Earth, Pastor Bill Johnson makes an insightful observation about Jesus. "He could not heal the sick. Neither could He deliver the tormented from demons or raise the dead. To believe otherwise is to ignore what He said about Himself, and more importantly, to miss the purpose of His self-imposed restriction to live as a man." Jesus Christ said of Himself, "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing" (John 5:19). In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning - it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While He is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God - not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything - and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church.
What were the distinctions of Jesus' humanity?
1. He had no sin to separate Him from the Father.
2. He was completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
What are the distinctions of our humanity?
1. We are sinners cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Through His sacrifice He has successfully dealt with the power and effect of sin for all who believe. Now nothing separates us from the Father.
2. There remains only one unsettled issue - how dependent on the Holy Spirit are we willing to live?
You too might want to take the free Spiritual Gifts test I took and experience the miraculous. You can find it at http://www.churchgrowth.org/analysis/intro.php