Being a woman with the spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership, when the Lord called me into ministry I ran into Christian leaders who believed the Bible confined women to the nursery or the kitchen. Worse, as a counselor, I met women whose pastors stood behind their abusive husbands. Such misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Scripture has harmed many in the body of Christ, and not just women. Continue Reading
Doing Spiritual Gifts the Right Way
What is your spiritual gift? Do you like it?
I enjoy learning about spiritual gifts and how our bents influence our approach to life and each other. Understanding our differences has helped me appreciate those who approach situations differently than I would. God has wired some to be direct and others to be gentle. Understanding our differences have a purpose fosters harmony and effectiveness in a team, family, and church. But there is something more important than understanding the nuances of our individual gifts.
The focus of spiritual gifts isn’t on individuals. The focus is on Christ and His body of believers. The Apostle Paul mentions the Holy Spirit at least eleven times in one discussion on gifts (1 Corinthians 12). The Holy Spirit chooses who gets which gifts and ministries. He energizes our gifts to accomplish His purpose. When we don’t appreciate our or someone else’s abilities we insult Him.
Paul uses the analogy of a human body to describe the role of gifts. While we may exalt certain gifts, Paul makes it clear that a body made of only one or two organs would be a freak, not super special! Imagine your baby having five eyes. Or worse, it being one big ear on top of a large mouth. One body with many functioning parts is a healthy body. Listen to Paul’s words:
“4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NASB).
There are varieties of gifts.
Spiritual gifts include, among many others, prophesy, teaching, leading, mercy, giving, serving, encouragement, and evangelism. The body needs all of these gifts just as our physical body needs kidneys, lungs, a mouth, a liver, and a nose. The whole body thrives when each one operates as it should. It suffers when members compete or don’t fulfill their roles.