ENJOYING LIFE IN THE NEW YEAR PART 2
An essential part of enjoying life in the new year is finding out and using our spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are special talents, skills and abilities that people didn’t have BEFORE they were “born again”. They are given by the Holy Spirit to each person at the moment they become believers.
Romans 12:6-8 talks about this.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 is a companion passage which also talks about this.
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
So, how do we find out our spiritual gifts? We have a self-test that can help you find out. It’s called, “How God Has Formed Me”. If you want a copy, send us an email, and we will send it to you.
Once you have completed the test, you will have a reasonable idea of how God has gifted you, and you can start using your gifts. The best way to do that is by simply trying things out. It’s basically a trial and error system.
For example, if you think you have the gift of teaching, find opportunities to teach, and then go ahead and do it.
If you think you have the gift of encouragement, find people to encourage. It’s not that hard to find them.
If you are successful in using your gifts — and it seems easy to do — chances are they are legitimate gifts — and that will show you the kind of works that you will most enjoy doing.
It’s important to understand that as we step out in faith and use our gifts — we will not always use them perfectly. The reason is because we are not perfect – even though God’s gifts are perfect. We still have sin natures, and our sin natures influence our efforts. However, we must not let this discourage us. God wants us to use our gifts, and He wants us to keep on using them. He will strengthen us and empower us as we do. In Philippians 4:13 Paul says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
One day we’re going to stand before God to give an account of how of how we lived our lives. The first question God may ask us is, “Are you ‘born again’”? “Did you let me create you anew in Christ Jesus?” “Did you develop a relationship with Him and get to know Him?”
A second question God may ask is, “What did you do with the spiritual gifts I gave you?” “Did you ignore them, or did you find out what they are?” “Did you use them, or did you get discouraged and quit?” “Did you say, ‘I’m not good at this, or I’m not as good as that person over there,’ so you stopped.” “Or did you depend on my power to use them anyway.” These are important questions, and we must be ready to answer them …