Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: Identifying Spiritual Gifts
By Doug Laird
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This is what our Lord meant when He said that the truth sets you free (1). Yet, many Christians are so shackled by religious bondage that they are afraid to live and afraid to die. Equally detrimental is the concept that this freedom is a license to sin.
Falling from grace is not a reference to losing salvation, but losing the confidence found in the knowledge of the security of one’s salvation.
At the same time, salvation is not a license to sin. Divine discipline here on earth (2) and loss the loss of additional rewards and accompanying privileges in Heaven (3) await born again believers who refuse to learn/apply Biblical principles for the development and execution of the true post salvation spiritual life.
As a believer increases his Biblical knowledge, the disciple becomes more and more aware of what sin actually consists of, according to divine viewpoint, through the discovery of the more than 300 Commandments of the New Testament that apply to the Church-age believer. This knowledge, however, is for conviction, edification, and experiential sanctification, not condemnation.
One might ask why does Satan and his “religious” spokespersons keep pounding away on the status of one’s salvation, if salvation cannot be lost?
Satan knows that “religion” appeals to the pride in Man. Religion appears to provide the means for Man to do (or to refrain from doing) something in order to retain salvation. As long as Satan can distract believers by having them remain focused on the means or the permanency of their salvation, they are not likely to advance in the post salvation spiritual life (4).
Impeding spiritual maturity of believers denies God the resulting glory that He would otherwise receive. This is the only objective Satan has left, having lost the battle for the soul, once an individual is born again.
A significant part of the post salvation spiritual life is the identification, development, and exercising of the specific spiritual gift that God (5), not we, has chosen for each and every born again believer.
As a believer learns and applies the principles of Scripture to his/her daily life with the filling of God the Holy Spirit, the believer’s overt life will reflect the mind, priorities, and behaviors of our Lord (6).
Personal evangelism, practical service, and contributing to the spiritual edification of others will become second nature.
Such things, common to all true disciples, are not to be confused with the specific, individual, spiritual gift and accompanying ministry that God has chosen for us.
Many believers make the mistake of choosing a gift or ministry of their own liking and then seek God’s blessing and/or the approval of other people.
God is not interested, nor will He endorse, any alternative plan(s). Remember, Satan’s desire was to be like God and accomplish many of the same things that God did, but independently so, and for his own glory (7).
Paul was given an immediate revelation of his calling shortly after his salvation experience, but God usually does not reveal His choice of gift to most believers until they have been prepared through a relatively long period of Biblical study, coupled with them allowing God to smash their self will, self plans, self interests. A disciple must learn the futility of trying to accomplish spiritual goals via human talent and abilities. They must learn and carry out His will, not their own.
Our gift is not something that we squeeze in between other activities that will compete for our time and resources (8).
Our gift, once discovered, will permeate much of our spiritual life, but in doing so, we must remember not to neglect our own fellowship with the Giver.
The exercising of our gift will not be a burden, but a privilege accompanied by a strong desire and the Spirit-filled energy to fulfill it.
The gift is not primarily for the benefit of the one who receives it. It is for the spiritual development and/or service of others (9).
(1) John 8: 32 (2) Hebrews 12: 6 (3) 1Cor. 3: 15 (4) Hebrews 5: 12 – Hebrews 6: 3 (5) 1Cor. 12: 11 (6) Romans 8: 29 (7) Isa.14: 13, 14 (8) Luke 14: 26 (9) 1Cor. 12: 7
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