In the past week I have gained new understanding on a subject that is so crucial to the matter of Christian harmony. It centers over this matter of Spiritual gifts. It is very important to understand how my gift works but I must also recognize the importance of diversity in the gifts of others. We are not islands unto ourselves but the gifts of others helps us to develop and appreciate the effect that the difference plays in giving us new understanding from different perspectives.
Allow me to share some recent experiences that has confirmed the importance that diversity plays on our understanding. My Gift is Prophecy. It can be summarized in two words; declaring truth. In declaring truth I must know how to understand truth and allow it to change me.(not necessarily others. Only God can convince others through the message He gives to me). In presenting truth I am careful to avoid controversies and keep everything as simple as possible. My method of studying scripture is through meditation, on the main idea, giving the intended meaning as I understand it at the time. When approaching controversial issues I leave some latitude for clearer understanding later and usually say “this is how I understand it.” I recently wrote my book on Revelation and told others that I would be criticized for what I do not say rather than what I do say.
Recently a friend of mine wrote a paper on Matthew 24 to clarify my understanding on this matter. He has the gift of teaching. Teachers do a lot of research to verify the truth that they understand. Usually it is very detailed and hard for simple folks like me to fully understand. The purpose of the teacher is to verify and confirm truth through research. Teachers do that sort of thing. Research is important but my purpose as a prophet in researching truth is to be sure that I am understanding and declaring truth . Other persons opinions are not as important as discovering these gems for myself. I can appreciate the teacher as he is a valuable source for information that I didn't see.
If a teacher wrote a book on Revelation, He probably would come up with a 500 page commentary. By weeding out certain elements I try to cut to the chase and deal with essentials the motivate others. A person with the gift of Exhortation would give steps of action. A person with gift of Mercy would see God's acts of mercy in the bowl judgments. A person with the gift of service would find something to emphasize the importance of practical ministries. It would be extremely interesting the spin that each gift would play in a study of Leviticus. I'm not ready for that one I'll leave that for the teacher.
My point in all of this is to look beyond differences in the matter of points of view and appreciate the value of their gift in operation. All of us are different for a purpose and our life experiences and Spiritual gifts together make us all unique and beneficial to others.
Although we may be determined to defend our position as being right, we must always be open to the possibility that my understanding is not yet perfect and may need to be changed. Remember that truth changes us if we are wrong (first we need to be honest enough to admit it.) For most people this is difficult) and if we are right it will confirm and make us wiser. If you have a conflict with another believer, be patient and give truth a chance to work. Henry