Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

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 Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,  5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Remember, as we press on here in Romans. This stuff is only for those who have committed their lives to Christ. If you haven’t taken that step off what I like to call “the cliff of commitment,” the free fall that comes with cutting all the strings of self and the world in order to simply trust and obey Jesus,  then don’t bother with the rest of this stuff, it won’t do you or the church any good.

 The committed Christian is to daily present his cleansed being to the Lord for service in His kingdom. He is not to be conformed to the world, but transformed by allowing the light of Christ (the Word of God) into His mind, yielding to it, and allowing it to shape his world view.

We are about to enter the realm of spiritual giftedness in the Body of Christ, and to bring an unyielded gift (one used for selfish purposes) or an uncommited gift (one used only when we feel like it) or a gift conformed to and tainted by the world’s way of thinking , would be like introducing disease  into the Body, thereby weakening it, and perhaps even dealing it a fatal blow.  

Having said that, let’s see what the Holy Spirit wishes to speak to us through the Apostle Paul.

Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me,” What a great way to start this section on gifts! Paul says “I am speaking to you because of one of the gifts that God has placed in me! I am speaking to you because God has gifted me to speak to you.

I am not bragging as if this gift is something of my own, I acknowledge that this gift has come to me by God’s grace alone.  I don’t flaunt it and I don’t deny it either. I say this ........

“to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

All believers are grace receivers, all of our faith and all of our talent is given to us solely by the grace of God. It’s His grace that saves and it’s His grace that empowers us or gifts us for our part in the work of the Body of Christ. When we know that and believe it, we cannot think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  It’s all God, not us!

To think too highly of ourselves is evidence of a mind that has not been transformed. For Christ Himself “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:7) He did not think so highly of Himself that He stayed in the glory of heaven.

At the same time, He did not think too lowly of Himself or His gifts as He used His divine power for the advancement of His kingdom, and neither should we think lowly of our giftedness. When you get right down to it, our spiritual giftedness is nothing but God’s divine power placed in us, for the building up of His  kingdom, for His glory, not ours!

Therefore we are to think soberly or realistically (how many know a drunk does not think realistically?) Think soberly about the measure of God’s gifts in us. If Paul fails to speak here, through the grace (the gift) given to him, he despises the gift that God gave Him.

He buries it in the back yard and will have to answer to the Father as all do who despise His grace. His grace is not limited to salvation you know, and His grace is not to be despised.

Peter speaks of the “manifold grace of God”   1Pe 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (NKJV)

I like that word manifold because it reminds me of those paper fans we use to make. Mani folds, one fan, bringing relief from the heat. So there are many facets to God’s grace, working together to bring relief from the fires of hell, working for the salvation and edification of souls. Grace is not just for our salvation!

One of our goals as a Christian is to allow God’s gracious gifts to surface in us, to be drawn out of us, as individuals. And we do that by paying attention to the first two verses of Romans 12.
We keep ourselves fit for service through daily confession, we allow for continual transformation of our mind to kingdom purposes rather than the purposes of the world, and we present ourselves living sacrifices. Looking for opportunities to believe and obey God in our every day activities.

I f you do these things, your spiritual gifts will surface. You don’t need a “spiritual gift assessment seminar.” (Not that they aren’t useful) But think about it, How did the church get along all those years without the spiritual gift assessment seminars?

I’ll tell you how. They lived Romans 12:1,2 and  Ec 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (NKJV)

It’s not by accident that spiritual gifts are brought up in this portion of Romans. They are tied directly to the idea of becoming a cleansed, and transformed living sacrifice.

 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

The human body. Great comparison, and one that is also used in greater depth in the letter to the Corinthians.  

 1Co 12:14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.  15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?  
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?  17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?  20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.  21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  (NKJV)

This underscores the point that no one should think of their function in the body as either superior or inferior to someone else’s. We all need each other if we are going to function as God intended.

Imagine someone who is not gifted in an area trying to function in that area. What if an ear would try to be an eye, while the body was trying to cross a railroad track. “What do you see? Wax, and some hair!” Meanwhile, the body is missing an ear. So they not only don’t see the train coming, they don’t even hear the whistle.

Again, the point of making us realize that we are like a human body is that no one dare think of themselves more highly than the other. Every part doing their function at the right time and we have a lean, well-oiled machine, engaged in ministry to each other and to the world. To the glory of the One who put the machine together!
Ever play the game Mousetrap. You build this gizmo with game pieces that all work together to trap the mouse. if any part of the gizmo fails the mouse gets away. Every piece is important and vital, and so it is with the Body of Christ. We need each other and we need  to be exercising our gifts together.  

Leave one part of the mousetrap out and you have a useless eyesore. Something for your opponent to laugh at. And quite frankly I think the devil is getting quite a few chuckles out of the malfunctioning of the Body of Christ these days as we continue to neglect these things spoken of in Romans 12.

One more important thing about the body. In order for it to perform at peak efficiency it needs daily maintenance. It needs to be kept in shape with proper diet and exercise. Same thing for the individual members of the Body of Christ. The individual parts need to be fed properly from the Word , and then we need to exercise properly to maintain good spiritual health. This applies first of all to individuals but also to the corporate body of believers.

That exercise is in the form of acting on God’s personal revelation to us in His Word. That action includes believing His promises or simply obeying His commands.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our search for our spiritual gift, we put action  aside, the very thing we need to discover it! And we suffer individually and as a church body.

God knows what He is doing in distributing gifts to His church. He knows where prophecy is needed, He knows where ministering is needed, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy.

He also knows the best body part for the job. So commit to Jesus, then read and believe His Word to the point of acting on it in your day to day circumstances. Your gift will surface!
Trust God to lead you to your proper function in the Body of Christ, then ask Him for the faith necessary to do the job!

Next Paul speaks a great fact.

5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

This is one of the greatest miracles of salvation.  A believer is automatically assimilated into the Body of Christ. Yet we maintain our individual identity as we become members of one another.

The indwelling Holy Spirit makes us family. We are spiritual brothers and sisters linked by the Blood of Christ into one body. As a committed believer, you cannot escape this truth! You are part of the Body of Christ, and as a part of the Body of Christ, you have a function or functions to perform.

If you choose not to perform your function, the entire body suffers, but I mean to tell you that you will suffer even more! You see the Body will adjust, it will make do, but you will miss the boat and the blessing of performing as God intended and created you to perform.

There is nothing greater in this life than to be functioning according to the way God has put you together and gifted you. I have been so blessed in my own life to have jobs that I absolutely loved, and part of the reason I loved them was that God gifted me in those areas.

Imagine going to work everyday and not once looking at the clock and saying, “O man, I still have seven hours to go!” I never had to do that! I always loved my work, and I was always amazed at how fast the time flew!

This is the way it should be for us as we plug our spiritual gifts into the Body of Christ! We should so enjoy what we are doing that when Jesus comes again, we’ll say, “Wow! Eternity is here already?” Time flies when you’re having fun!

Oh, how I love the gift of prophecy that the Lord in His grace has bestowed upon me.  I can’t wait to get into the Word of God and have the Holy Spirit unveil things so I can share them with others. What a thrill it is for me to have a Word from the Lord for you.  

But some of you get just as big a kick out of ministering to others, or teaching, or exhorting, or giving, or leading, or extending mercy! This is where we all need to be!  So joyously involved in kingdom work, so plugged in with our gift that when the Lord returns, we might ask, “Are You back already Lord? My, where did the time go?

Next week, we’ll start to look at these gifts that Paul mentions and define them for you. We define them only to let you know what’s out there. We put them out there only as showing you some possible slots that you could end up filling as you put yourself at His disposal.

Beloved, if you have committed your life to Christ, get started on the great adventure of serving the King of Kings!  Start slowly, allow His Word to transform you as you read it and believe it and act on it one promise and command at a time. If you do this, He will get you to the place where you were created to be.

For starters, take these following passages to heart and begin to act on them today!

 Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
 2 And do not be conformed to this world, (you won’t be of any use that way) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (For you)
  Ec 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (NKJV)

 Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, (make yourself pliable like putty in His hands) And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
 5 Commit your way to the LORD, (so it’s no longer your way, but His way) Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (NKJV):

You can’t get there without this last step, (committing to the Lord)and if you don’t get there, you have in effect buried your talent, you have buried the grace that God has given you, and woe unto you when the Lord returns, because faith without works is dead..