"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)
I never have been a good dancer. Look up "Two Left Feet" in the dictionary, and you'll find my picture! On the other hand, my brain is wired for logic, and I have always been good at math. My dad told me one time I should consider a career as an accountant because I always did well in math at school. But my Father in heaven had other ideas for my life.
God created each of us to be unique, and wonderfully complex. And the way we are shaped by God is perfect for His purposes for our lives. We are SHAPED for Significance.
In 2002, Pastor Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life, and laid out the idea that God has SHAPEd each of us for a purpose. SHAPE stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart's Desires, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. I believe Warren is right on target, and these five vital areas of the way we are created give us major clues into God's purposes for our lives to be lives of significance.
Today we begin a Worship Series at Dayton UM Church on being Shaped for Significance. Today we consider our Spiritual Gifts.
Spiritual Gifts are listed in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 12, in Romans 12:1-8, and in Ephesians 4:7-12. These gifts are not natural abilities we have at birth and learn to use throughout our lives. My logical mind and math skills are not Spiritual Gifts, they are natural abilities (which is another way we are Shaped for Significance).
Spiritual Gifts are supernatural. They are beyond nature. The Holy Spirit brings them along when He enters our lives, and He manifests them in our lives in the times and places and ways He sees fit. He stirs up these gifts in us for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV), not as badges of honor so we will get a pat on the back.
The Spiritual Gifts include wisdom and knowledge and faith and healing. They include prophecy and discerning of spirits and speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. These are the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us these and other gifts beyond our natural giftedness and education. And they are given to empower us to minister to others. Yes, I said minister. Not every Christ follower is called to the office of Pastor of a church, but every Christ follower is called to do ministry that encourages and blesses others, and points them to Jesus.
How does one know which Spiritual Gifts are the primary ones operating in our lives? We can begin to serve in various ministries and watch for the gifts that operate as we serve and encourage others. We can ask God to show us our Spiritual Gifts and to stir them up in our lives. We can take a Spiritual Gifts Survey that can point us in the right direction.
One of the most important steps in the activation of our Spiritual Gifts is to believe we are intended by God to spend our lives for Him in service and ministry. My life is not an accident. My life is not a mistake. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My life has a purpose from God, and living out that purpose brings peace and joy like nothing else can!
Believing that it is God's intention that I live for others, another thing that invites the activation of Spiritual Gifts in our lives is to ask God to give them. When I give God permission to work in my life in any way He chooses and ask Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit and ask Him to manifest the Gifts of the Spirit in my life, He is pleased to respond. God can do amazing ministry through each of our lives, far beyond our own efforts and abilities.
So grow deeper in Jesus. Make Him ever more completely the Lord of your life. Invite His Holy Spirit to do His work in your life and through you life. Watch for opportunities to love and serve others. The Gifts of the Spirit will flow in and through your life as He chooses to manifest them. And God's highest purpose for your life will begin to be accomplished, bringing you peace and joy.