Don’t Leave Your Gifts Behind!
God has provided spiritual gifts for you, and they are waiting to be picked up! There are valuable gifts for everyone but many have been left unwanted and forgotten! Each of Gods ‘children is promised some gifts! No one goes empty handed! (Romans 12:6-8) According to Scripture there are good gifts for each person who believes in Christ. All kinds of gifts: some helpful and practical, some exciting and glittery, and some healing and restoring. Many different kinds of spiritual gifts all given by the same Holy Spirit. All these gifts are given for the common good - so we can bless and help each other. All spiritual gifts are for our life in the Spirit.
We need the gifts to do the work God has planned for us. These gifts are described in the Bible as (1) the word of wisdom, (2) the word of knowledge, (3) faith, (4) gifts of healing, (5) miracles, (6) prophecy, (7) discerning of spirits, (8) diverse kinds of tongues and (9) the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) The Bible clearly teaches that God has one or more of these gifts for each of us. These gifts are abilities or endowments of supernatural power making it possible for the child of God (you and me) to accomplish something beyond our natural ability. Let’s look at each gift.
First let’s consider the word of wisdom. Scripture says: “To one is given through the Holy Spirit a message of wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 12:8) The “word of wisdom” gift is different from natural wisdom that can be learned from experience or attained intellectually by study and learning. The Bible tells us that “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask for it from God, who gives generously” (James 1:5) but this “word of wisdom” gift is different because we don’t study or do anything to get it. Instead it is a form of spiritual guidance and comes directly from God. The “word of wisdom” happens when a person knows supernaturally by the Holy Spirit how to take care of a problem.
We all may have been given the “word of wisdom” and not realized it. Years ago I had what may have been a word of wisdom. I was suffering from what I thought was an allergy on my hands. Both hands began to crack and bleed. Often there were thirty or forty small bleeding cracks covering both hands. This went on for four or five years. I went to several doctors and each doctor told me that I had an allergy. They gave me lotions and salves for my hands to ease the pain and they told me I would just have to live with the allergy. Several years passed and my cracked hands only seemed to get worse.
One morning when I was driving to town, my hands hurt so badly that I could hardly bend my bleeding fingers around the steering wheel of the car. I pulled over to the side of the road and prayed about the problem. Holding my cracked and bleeding hands up before God I begged for an answer to the problem. I pleaded for healing for my hands. Before I could start the car again a strong urge came over me. I felt that I should go right away to a drugstore down the street and buy a tube of fungal medicine to cure fungus infections.
I started the car again, stopped at the drug store and bought the fungal meds and rubbed the fungal medication all over my cracked and bleeding hands. My hands began to feel better almost immediately. It took several months using the medication to clear the fungal infection on my hands but finally they were completely healed. I had gotten so accustomed to my cracked and bleeding hands that now my healthy hands seemed like a marvelous miracle and I spent time just looking in wonder at my healthy hands and thanking God! I believe that God answered my prayer with a “word of wisdom” as to what was needed for healing my hands.
The second gift is the “word of knowledge.” “And to another a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:8) The gift of knowledge is in operation when God reveals something to an individual about what He is doing in a situation. This “knowledge” is something that we would have no natural way of knowing. I believe that the Lord wants us to operate naturally in these supernatural gifts.
Some years ago my husband, Brendan had what we think was a “word of knowledge”. His mother – my mother-in-law, was very ill and dying in the hospital and she had not had the opportunity to accept Jesus as her personal Savior. Time was running out and my mother-in-law had problems hearing about Jesus from her son. So Brendan prayed and asked God to show him a way to get through to his mother about her need for the Savior.
Shortly after as Brendan was walking down the halls of the hospital, a man in a blue suit walked by. Suddenly a strong urge came over Brendan and a voice inside his head seemed to urgently say, “Speak to the man in the blue suit about your mother.” My husband felt silly but he turned and ran down the hall after the man in the blue suit. Catching up with him and feeling embarrassed, Brendan grabbed this mans’ arm and asked him if he was a Christian. The surprised man turned around and stood there for a minute and then said: “Well, yes, actually I am a chaplain from a nearby church.” My husband was surprised that he was a chaplain and then asked him if he would be willing to visit his mother in her hospital room. This chaplain promised Brendan that he would be happy to visit his mother and speak to her about her need for Jesus as her Savior.
Soon after the chaplain did indeed visit my husband’s mother and he led her to the Lord there in her hospital room just before she died. We always thought that the little voice in my husband’s head telling him to ask a stranger to visit his mother was indeed the Holy Spirit guiding him, a word of knowledge perhaps. But my husband had to be willing to perhaps look foolish by chasing a stranger down the hospital halls and asking a question that might have been misunderstood. When God gives us a gift we need to be ready to use it even if some people think we look foolish!
When we start using our spiritual gifts it is exciting to know that God is working through us and using us for His glory. If we receive some spiritual guidance in the form of a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge we are not to draw attention to ourselves. We are to remain humble. We are vessels only! These are power gifts and we must remember that all the power comes from God.
Many good churches today never teach about the spiritual gifts! Or when they do, they teach that God gave these gifts to the early Christians but they are not meant for us today. Why do many good Christian churches leave this important doctrine out? Why would we miss out on gifts and power that God would have for us to use in our lives and in our churches? I believe one reason is that some charismatic Christians who claim to have these gifts have forgotten to be humble and have caused trouble in church meetings by misusing the gifts and showing off.
Next week we will discuss the other seven spiritual gifts since we are running out of room here. We will cover the gift of tongues and prophecy and the gifts of healing and miracles– gifts that can sometimes be “messy” and cause disruption in churches whose leaders may want tighter control of what happens in their congregations. Allowing the gifts of the Spirit to work through us helps us in our everyday life. And it demonstrates to unbelievers the power and the goodness of Jesus who lives within us. Let’s not sit back and miss out on what God wants us to do just so we can keep our lives predictable and controlled. Let’s ask God to give us whichever gift or gifts He has for us, even if that means we have to step out of our comfort zone sometimes.
Some of the ideas in this blog came from Joyce Meyer’s book, “Knowing God Intimately”. Pages 257-288.