Just going to give you fair warning, I'm going to be walking on some toes, and if you aren't wearing your big girl panties, you need to get 'em on. The reason I can walk on toes is because these are some lessons I had to learn the hard way about spiritual gifts, and if you can learn from my mistakes, more power to you.
- I have to admit that I really didn't know what my spiritual gift was until about twelve years ago. I had been using it pretty much since high school. It was one of many things that made me stand out or different. But I don't recall anyone ever sitting down and teaching me anything about spiritual gifts, and Baptists really seemed to shy away from talking about the gift of prophecy and discernment.
There was a time that I asked God to take away His gift of prophecy. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. He would put me in some crunchy situations, and people would wonder how I knew things that very few else did. I was given messages for people I didn't really know very well. I was given words for leadership in my church, and most frequently He did it at 3 AM in the morning. Please don't call me and ask me to give you the lottery numbers because it doesn't work like that. There were times the word I was given was hard to deliver. I just wanted out. I told God I'd take any of the other gifts other than mercy – no offense to my mercy friends; I just know mercy isn't me. But how vain was that? Have you ever tried to bargain with God? Do you see how ridiculous my request was? I might as well have asked God to make me naturally tan (not that He couldn't
mind you. And for those who don't know me, I'm pigment challenged, critically Caucasian).
- I was also given the gift of leadership. I was disappointed with the results of some of the things I lead though. One of the things I felt lead to do no one even showed up! I wanted to be this dynamic, charismatic leader that people were drawn to. I wanted to lead wherever He wanted us to go. I'd charge hell with a water gun if He wanted me too, but I had a lot of maturing in my faith to do. I know God has called me to Women's Ministry. Even though it makes no sense to me why He would choose me to do so, I know He has. This time my age, experience, maturity in my faith, and truly seeking God's heart has given me a new perspective. I don't set expectations. Churches have to be run like a business, but God's work does not. If 10 women showed up, then God knew those were the women who needed to be there, and there is a reason for them being there. He has led me to do a few things around my church with the women, and I have been surprised by the number of women showing up because it has exceeded what I thought might happen. Not only did the number exceed my expectation, but the Holy Spirit moving has been phenomenal!
- And recently, I've been asked to meet other Christians at the homes of those who are sick or have difficult decisions or situations ahead in order to pray for them. There are other ladies there, and when they pray there is POWER! WOOOWEEEE, there's power, and if I'm not careful, I find myself thinking that I sure wish I could pray like her in the manner and conviction of those ladies. Ladies, if I ever get sick I have a list of ladies who I want to come and pray over me.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Or have I just exposed myself and my vanity?
In preparing for this study two of the books I read were Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow and You Are Gifted. He addressed my hang-ups, and I'd like to pass that on to you.
- To be the person God designed you to be. 2 Tim 3:16-17
God doesn't want us to be ignorant, yet we have A LOT of ignorant Christians running around today. They don't even know they are given a spiritual gift. They aren't growing in their faith. It's frustrating to me sometimes. There are so many with poor self-esteem and are down-trodden because of choices they have made, but if they only took that same amount of time getting to know their Savior on an intimate level they would realize just how valuable they are to Christ.
One Sunday morning, I took my son's elephant to class or small group with me. I asked his permission to borrow "Blue" for an example. "Blue" the elephant has been with Pearce since he was an infant. "Blue" goes everywhere. All the workers in the nursery at church and at day care know who Blue belongs to. If I were to put Blue in a garage sell, I might get 10 cents…maybe, but to my son, he is priceless. Blue got left once at church, and we didn't sleep for two nights! Blue has value because my son loves him, and the thought of putting him away to save will not even be considered by my son. Do you realize that God loves you like that? You are priceless. He loves you. He cherishes you. He wants a relationship with you. Consider this – 1. He loves you so much He has the numbers of your hair numbered. 2. He loves you so much that before you were born He ordained your footsteps and numbered your days knowing what you are capable of doing in each. 3. He loves you so much that before the world was created He knew you would screw up and make mistakes, so He sent His only, perfect Son to die for us so we can be adopted by Him. He is where we need to get our value. And He is the one who knows what we are designed to be.
- "He is the source of results, not us." Pg 37 This means that no matter how things may turn out if you are following where He leads then the results will be what He wants them to be which may not be exactly what we had in mind. He sees the big picture, the end picture where we only see a snapshot in time. So, you feel no one sees you using your spiritual gift and that it is not of importance, Sista, think again! The Bible says what we do of our own spirit and ability will be like wood, hay and stubble when it comes to judgment day, but the things we do in His name, in His power will be as gold and fine jewels (1Cor 3:10-15). So whether you are behind the scenes, helping the down and out, serving, or using any other gift you think is not important, you need to remember who gave you your gift. You need to remember God doesn't make junk. He doesn't make any mistakes, and He not only sees you using your gift but He knows your heart. And ladies, when our heart and mind are right in our service it is a sweet aroma to our Lord and Savior (2 Cor 2:15).
- "Understanding that my ministry is received from the Lord eliminates competition." Pg 37
"Our reward is not based on the effect of our service, but on the source of it." Pg 39 WOW! What would church be like if every Christian who attended church used their spiritual gift in service to our Heavenly Father in the body of Christ? What would it be like if every Christian behaved as if they understood this principle when exercising that spiritual gift? Churches would be radically different. Our society would be different.
Ladies, we get so distracted, and our eyes move off of our Savior onto what others are doing and onto ourselves that our relationship with Christ Jesus suffers. We need to allow Him to lead us in the direction we need to go using the gifts He has given us to further His kingdom – that is why He gave us those unique gifts after all.