September 15, 2018
Victory through the Gifts of the Spirit
1. Center Down
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Holy Spirit…” As you exhale whisper, “thank You for Your gifts…”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures: (Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, give thanks, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I [Paul,] encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one Spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, Who is over all, through all, and in all.
He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the Body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, who is the Head. The whole body grows from Him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part. (Ephesians 4:1-6; 11-16, CEB)
If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever. (1 Corinthians 13:1-4, CEB)
For further learning: Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Video: http://tiny.cc/KeenerGifts2
3. Concepts to Consider:
First things first. Let’s dispel two common, modern myths right out of the gate: 1. In the New Testament, there is no distinction made between “natural” and “supernatural” gifts (this is an artificial, extra-Biblical division); and, 2. The gifts of the Spirit are for the Church today, as much as they were for the Church in the Book of Acts. The historic, Biblical perspective is that everything we are and everything we have is from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes our very life possible, including any ability with which He has endowed us. The question is, are we allowing Him to use our gifts for His purposes? The gift lists we find in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and truncated version in Ephesians 4, are a sampling of how the Spirit can work through us for the building up of the Body of Christ and the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit desires to supercharge the abilities, gifts and graces that have been given to us. We are given gifts so that we might reflect the beauty of God’s character. We are, after all, made in His Image. The miraculous, therefore, in a general sense, is supposed to be ordinary in the Church. Sometimes we see God work in an amazing moment when faith needs to be built up and encouraged; other times, we see God appearing in the seldom-noticed nooks and crannies of our world. Whether the Lord acts in an instant, or He reveals Himself through processes, all of these manifestations are miraculous. And how does God often effect His work? Through His people! Us! He desires for us to become loving conduits of His grace by allowing Him to activate and enhance our abilities for the benefit of the people and spaces where He places us. When we have our eyes on Jesus, He will give us His vision for others and for our world.
Important Reminders: 1. It is God who works through and in us. Our Pharisaic, performance-based perfectionism (see: Colossians 2:20-23) is very different from surrendered excellence. We operate in excellence when we partner with our Creator, not when we grasp and control (Philippians 2:1-11). 2. God can use our “comfortable gifts” (the ones we most often operate in), and He can also endow us with gifts outside of our comfort zone for a period of time or in a specific situation as needs arise in the Body of Christ. 3. Nothing the Holy Spirit does or says will contradict the revealed Word of God. The canon of Scripture is closed. There is no new revelation that is outside of the scope of what God has already said. Therefore, we must be spiritually “on our guard,” and “test every spirit.” Just because it sounds good and is “the next new thing,” doesn’t mean it’s from the Lord.
“By His Divine Power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through the knowledge of the One who called us by His own honor and glory. Through His honor and glory, He has given us His precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the Divine Nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
This is why you must make every effort [grounded in His Divine Power] to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, Godliness; and to Godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever lacks these things is shortsighted and blind, forgetting that they were cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to confirm your call and election. Do this and you will never ever be lost. In this way, you will receive a rich welcome into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-11, CEB)
4. Reflection Questions:
(You are encouraged to write, draw, or respond however the Lord leads to the following inquiries. To share your musings in a public forum where others can dialog and process with you, please go to http://tiny.cc/victoryn30 ).
1. What abilities, gifts, and graces has God given you? What are some things you do that are life-giving for you, and equip, bring encouragement, loving exhortation and/or edification to the Body of Christ? (Examples: singing, sewing, exercising, visiting the sick, teaching, cooking, encouraging others, writing, listening, researching, discernment, prophesying, healing, etc.) Please write these things down:
2. One by one, take a moment to surrender (or re-dedicate) your abilities, gifts and graces to the Lord. Ask Him how He would have you use them. (It could be something totally “outside the box!”) Ask Him to give you Holy Spirit eyes to see people and spaces as He does. You may want to write down a short prayer of surrender here:
5. Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the many gifts, graces and abilities You have given us. Thank You, God, for guiding our feet into the way of peace and holy love. Thank You, Lord, for calling us to committed and dedicated work in Your Kingdom. Father, Your majestic Name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. Lord, You are such a faithful God. You are our rock, our deliverer, in Whom we trust. You are worthy to be praised.
Righteous Father, let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven through the gifts Your Spirit has made manifest in our lives. We declare that we will begin to understand the roles we play in partnering with Your plans for Your Kingdom. We desire the mind of Christ and hold the thoughts and purposes of His heart. We will hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering for You are faithful in fulfilling Your promises. We will be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. Fill us with joy to serve and not give in to discouragement, because we are rooted in Your truth and love.
Forgiving Father, forgive us for our acts of sinfulness. Forgive us for idolatry, dissension, strife, pride, rebellion, discord, jealousy, injustice, hatred and slander. Forgive us for sometimes having impure motives for serving. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show you names and faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He shows you, say aloud, “I forgive names of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Triumphant Lord, You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You created all things, and by Your will, they exist and were created. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture passages you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.
© Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. ©2017 Caldwell Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved — No reproduction of the material is permitted without the expressed permission of CMI.