“For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
We discussed last time the five wrong attitudes toward spiritual gifts. Review the last study if you have not seen them. Of course there are certain right attitudes toward spiritual gifts. First, as alluded to in the previous discussion, humility would lead us to conclude that the Lord God knows what He is doing; He knows what He wants to accomplish and how to do it. He could easily do it Himself, but He has chosen fallible human beings to help Him reach His divine goals.
“…we must acknowledge that the Lord Himself provides exactly what He wants for us and everything we need to serve Him according to His will, just ‘as He has allotted to each a measure of faith.’” (Mac. p. 161) Each believer has his own set of operating capabilities. To try to manipulate or change this, for whatever reason, and to do what we were never meant to do will only produce “frustration, discouragement, guilt feelings, mediocrity, and ultimate defeat. We fulfill our calling when we function according to God’s sovereign design for us,” (Mac. P. 161).
Mac lists 9 Scriptural guidelines to help us to fulfill our calling regarding spiritual gifts. We should give ourselves as a living sacrifice (Ro. 12:1); recognize that all believers are gifted, ourselves included (Ro. 12:3); pray for wisdom, seek for nothing (humility) (Acts 8:18,24); examine our heart’s desire (1 Tim. 3:1); seek conformation; look for the blessing of God; wholeheartedly serve Him; and cultivate the gift as it becomes obvious, (Mac. P. 162).
Even after all of this it can become an easy temptation to regiment this whole thing. Relax. Let God lead you. The New Testament does not precisely identify the gift of any believer. It doesn’t come in a box with nice wrapping. We live by faith, so we must use faith eyes and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. It requires a close and healthy relationship with the Spirit of Christ, who comes along side us and helps us find our way.
There are many combinations and degrees of giftedness. MacArthur uses the idea of an artist painting with a full palette of colors to mix any way he chooses to arrive at an unnumbered array of tones and colors. The Holy Spirit, who is God, does the same thing with us. Be open to however He chooses to lead you. Don’t be dogmatic or stubborn. Let the Artist work through your unique life to edify the church and glorify the Lord!
1 Peter 4:10a says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it…” As noted, each believer is given at least one gift, and that gift is unique in the individual person because that person is already unique. It is some combination of…” the manifold and multicolored categories of speaking and serving giftedness (vv. 10b-11) from which the Spirit colors the believer, and which are then blended with the uniqueness of the mind, the training, the experience, and the effort of the individual- the result being that every Christian is like a snowflake, with no other having the same pattern,” (Mac. P. 163).
Romans 12 and 1 Corinthian 12 are the two central passages in Scripture concerning spiritual gifts. Important to note: “…it is not on a believer’s precisely identifying his gifts but on his faithfully using them,” (Mac. P. 163).
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose,” (Phil. 2:13). The Lord has given believers the wonderful opportunity to work in partnership with Him to complete His body, to build up and edify that for which Christ died.
In our next study, our good Lord willing, we will discuss proper relationships in the body: unity in diversity. Until then, God bless you all richly with His manifest love…your brother, mike.