Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 12
- List all of the spiritual gifts mentioned in these verses
- Count how many times these verses use words such as “one,” “unity,” “same,” “common,” and other words that are similar.
- What gifts do you think you have been given by God to be used?
- What people in your life have helped you discover your gifts or have spoken encouragement into your life regarding your gifts?
Last week we talked about how we are all created for a purpose. What was that purpose?
God’s purpose for you and me is that we would be holy and blameless in His sight, united with all believers under Christ, so that we may reveal the glory and grace of God through Jesus.
Now, we need to zoom into our specific role in accomplishing this purpose. As we read in Ephesians 2:10 last week, we have all been created for good works which God has already prepared for us to do before we were born. We all play a very specific role in accomplishing this purpose, and it is important that we strive to embrace our God-given gifts so that we can live in this purpose the way we were created to live. We are all a part of the body of Christ and each of us is essentially a different body part.
One of the most incredible parts of being pregnant right now is learning about the baby’s little body developing every week. I have an app and a pregnancy book where I can follow updates about what is happening in my body and what is developing in the baby. If a certain part of her body wasn’t developing correctly it could end up being devastating to her birth and even her life. Each part of the body is designed to do a very specific job in order for the whole body to function well.
Do we treat each other with the same care? Do we see ourselves in this way?
Often we do what 1 Corinthians 12:15-21 talks about. We see the gifts of others and say, “I want to be like that.” Or “I should be better at that.” We even look at others and say, “Wow, I’m so much better than she is.” Or “Why can’t he be better at that?”
We get caught up in the comparison game to our own detriment and to the detriment of the whole body. What if your lungs decided to stop trying to be lungs anymore because they wanted to be the liver? You would quite literally die. It sounds ridiculous, but why isn’t it just as ridiculous when we don’t embrace our own job and gifts that God has given us and, instead, desire to be someone else? It should be completely ridiculous for us to forfeit our own gifts for the sake of trying to be like someone else. You were created to fulfill a purpose and you were given specific gifts “for the common good.” When you don’t live in those gifts or you don’t let others flourish in their gifts, you can hurt the whole body as it strives for unity under one God.
Now, these passages speak specifically to spiritual gifts willingly given out according to God’s desires for his purpose in us and in the world. So while you may be good at skateboarding and can use that talent for the glory of God, let’s focus on spiritual gifts today. God absolutely wants us to use all parts of our lives for his purpose, but we cannot neglect the spiritual gifts he has handed out to us very intentionally.
And we must remember that our gifts are only given to use for the success and unity of all believers. Your gifts have not been given to you so that you can succeed and make a name for yourself. Your gifts have been given to you so that you can play a vital role in the building up of the Body so that all believers can grasp the height, width, length and depth of the love of God (Eph. 3:18).
We need each other. I need you to embrace the gifts you’ve been given. You need me to embrace mine. And that way we can all flourish together. Our gifts can only be fully lived out in the context of community with each other and God.
So how do you find those gifts? Don’t worry. You don’t have to discover those gifts immediately and then live in them perfectly. Remember, your gifts are given to you by God, according to His purpose, to be used in His kingdom. It’s not about you. Most of the time when we stress about perfection it’s because we are making it all about ourselves and whether or not we are good enough. But when we work for a God who rules in grace and love, we can rest in the fact that he will surely work through us. The gifts are part of who he is anyways. Only he can live those gifts perfectly. So all we need to do is rely on Him.
Today and this week as you respond to what you’ve studied, take time to discover your own gifts by implementing some of these practices throughout your days and weeks. Be rest assured that God will, in fact, use your entire life to grow your gifts. You will not be perfect, so you can freely embrace the messiness of discovering the ways God has so graciously gifted you.
- Click here to take a spiritual gifts survey created by LifeWay. This is a great way to start to discover some of your spiritual gifts that God may have given you.
- Spend time getting to know God every day by reading His word. We cannot grow in spiritual gifts without getting to know the Spirit who distributes them willingly
- Take some time to journal about the times in your life where you have “felt most alive” and “felt the most joy and satisfaction.” These may be pointing to your spiritual gifts. God gives us joy and satisfaction in what he has created us to do.
- Pray every day and ask God to reveal the part in the Body of Christ that you play. Ask him how he has gifted you specifically.
- Ask friends and family who know you well to share where they see your gifted-ness playing out. Many times our friends and families can see in us what we’ve been blind to see.
- Notice the gifts God has given your friends and find ways to not only encourage them in those gifts, but find a way to let them live out those gifts in your friendship.