You Are Gifted
Identifying and exercising your spiritual gifts isn’t something just between you and God; it’s between you, God, and His people. The purpose of exercising your gifts is not for a mystical, spiritual experience with God’s Spirit on your own. It’s not only about feeling fulfilled as a Christian. It’s about fulfilling your role in the larger body of Christ.
According to Romans 12:4-5, this is the reason why God has given us different gifts:
Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.”
If receiving spiritual gifts were only for our personal benefit, then it wouldn’t matter if God gave us all the same gift. But since God has granted us different gifts, we know that His purpose for them is church-directed.
The Spirit gives His gifts to you for His people. Don’t get so excited about the gifts He has given to you that you forget who they are for—the building up of the church.
Imagine a scenario in which you are part of a team that is constructing a home. All the materials were divvied out at the start of construction. Different people have different responsibilities. One person is trained to handle the chainsaw. Another person is stacking two-by-fours and plywood. Someone is laying down a concrete foundation. Someone else has a pouch with hammers, nails, screws, and screwdrivers.
What if one of the team members was so enthralled with what they’d received that they went off to the side and used the materials for their own benefit? For example, the guy with the chainsaw starts sawing off branches of trees instead of cutting the wood for the new home. Or the person with the hammer and nails randomly targets two-by-fours regardless of where the nails are necessary. The home won’t get built because the workers see the materials as for their own personal use and benefit and not for the construction process. They need to remember: The materials have been given to them, but they’re for the home. Likewise, spiritual gifts are given to individual believers, but they’re for the whole body of Christ, not just for you.
Excerpted from Jesus, Continued © 2015 J.D. Greear. Published by Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
J.D. Greear is the pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013). Two main things characterize The Summit Church: its gospel focus and sending culture. J.D. has also led The Summit to further the kingdom of God by pursuing a bold vision to plant one thousand new churches by the year 2050. In the last ten years, the church has sent out more than 300 people to serve on church planting teams, both domestically and internationally. J.D. completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is also a faculty member, writing on the correlations between early church presentations of the gospel and Islamic theology. Having lived serving among Muslims, he has a burden to see them, as well as every nation on earth, come to know and love the salvation of God in Christ. He and his beautiful wife Veronica live in Raleigh, NC, and are raising four ridiculously cute kids: Kharis, Alethia, Ryah, and Adon.