August 2018 – Controlled by the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Spiritual Gifts

“12 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”

Read Matthew 25:14-30; the parable of the three servants is easily understood.  Use your talents, your gifts, or lose them.   The goal is to hear our master say, “well done!”  But well done for what?  It’s important to realize what gifts the Spirit has given to each of us.

So…have you yet realized what your gifts are?  Unless you are not a member of the Lord’s body, the church, you have at least one spiritual gift, probably more than one.  Even those who are not members of the Lord’s body have talents, but spiritual gifts are more than a tendency to do something well.  Our spiritual gifts can be recognized if we take the time to look at ourselves honestly; and those gifts are given to each of us so we can help each other.  See verse 7 above.

There are some actions to which each of us gravitates.

Who is supposed to encourage others?  Everybody.

But some are GIFTED to encourage.

Who is supposed to give to others?  Everybody.

But some are GIFTED to give.

Who is supposed to serve others?  Everybody.

But some are GIFTED to serve.

Who is supposed to teach others about Jesus?  Everybody.

But some are GIFTED to teach.

We are drawn to our gifts through our temperament, but we are also drawn by obedience, and so we try to stretch and reach past the things that are easy for us, and tackle some things that are not so easy for us.

Look at some of the more difficult actions…

Is it difficult to keep your spiritual fervor or love your enemies?  Is it difficult for you to live at peace with everyone?  Some things are harder than others.

What do you struggle with?

Many times, our struggle with the “well done” is tainted with our selfishness.  I want the well done now AND then.  I want the praise of people now, but our audience of ONE is the one who counts.

Well done for what?  I want to come to the end of this year here, or in heaven, knowing the answer to that question.

If there are changes that need to be made in our lives so that the Lord can say “well done,” we need to make those changes, because the only things that will count are those things that are eternal…what we do for Jesus.   And if we are not doing the things that come easy for us, how can we expect to ever do the things that are hard for us?

The time comes when you have to step up to the plate and use your gifts!!  The time comes when you’ve got to do what you were born to do!

C.S. Lewis said, “If it’s not eternal, it is eternally useless.”

Ephesians 3:14-21 – Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth 

(And mine for you who are reading this blog)

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!”