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HAVING GIFTS THAT DIFFER

Romans 12:6 – We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.

The promise of the Father as recorded in Luke 24:49 was that the Holy Spirit would be given to everyone who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we speak of grace, we are speaking of God’s gift. We receive the grace of God when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings with Him everything the Father has made available in Christ. Paul is helping us understand that we are given different gifts according to the grace in our life. Romans 12:6 list some of those gifts. Each gift operates according to the measure of grace the Holy Spirit gives to an individual believer.

As we develop our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we should become increasingly aware of how the Spirit of God chooses to use our lives. We should become aware of the individual grace given to us to help others in their need. The Holy Spirit desires for us to receive His grace that has been freely made available to each believer. Some think, when the grace of God is given to a believer, the gift operating in and through them is complete and fully developed. Grace is simply God’s gift, whether it is our initial salvation, the receiving of the Holy Spirit in power, or one of the gifts of the Spirit spoken of here in the Romans passage and throughout 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Each gift of the Spirit must be nurtured and developed. We grow in our salvation, learning how to apply what the Lord gives us on a daily basis. A particular gift such as prophecy must be exercised in order for us to learn how to become effective in the gift’s operation. The gifts of healing are another example. One must begin to pray for the sick in order for the gift to be imparted.  The more people for whom we pray, the more experience we will gain in exercising this beautiful grace of God. Our daily walk with the Lord should be one of learning and growing in His grace.

Ask the Lord to make clear to you the grace He has and wants to give you. Ask Him to guide you in the operation of His gifts. Ask Him to help you grow in the application of His grace in your life. Pray to become increasingly effective in ministering His power to those in need of His wonderful grace.

A MORE EXCELLENT WAY

1 Corinthians 12:31 – Earnestly desire the greater gifts. And yet I show you a still more excellent way.

All that God has done for us comes from His attribute of love, for God is love! Any gift He imparts to a believer comes from a motivation of His love. He expects His children to be operating with the same motivation as His. Desire for spiritual gifts is good and proper. The question becomes, “What is our motivation?” For some, it may be a need to feel accepted by God. For others, it may be the need for attention, and for others perhaps a sense of power. Our motivations must be measured up against the love of God.

Paul the apostle spent a great deal of time addressing the use of spiritual gifts. The subject is not a small one, nor should it be quickly glossed over. He bridges the believers’ instructions in 1 Corinthians twelve and fourteen with chapter thirteen. This chapter is known as the “love chapter.” We must be careful not to make the mistake so many have made setting the subject of love against the gifts of the Spirit or thinking that love is superior to the gifts, thus dismissing the need for these gifts. That view completely misses Paul’s point of writing these chapters. The gifts are an important part of our relationship to Christ. They are also our resource to more effectively share the good news of the kingdom. When our motivation is born out of love, the gifts become what God intended, conduits of His love. The same Holy Spirit who imparts His gifts to believers is the One who supplies the love of God through every believer.

Allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Ask the Lord to reveal your true motivation.  Ask the Holy Spirit to make your motivation pure. Ask for His supply of grace to move you into greater degrees of His love for others. 

THE LORD’S ONE BODY HAS MANY MEMBERS

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 – Even as the body is one and yet has many members, by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The Apostle Paul uses the illustration of the human body to illustrate Christ’s spiritual body. The human body is one, but it has many members. Paul is saying that by one Spirit we have all been baptized into Christ’s body. He expands his thought by mentioning Jews, Greeks, slaves, and free men. Every person that has put his or her trust in Christ is drinking of the one Holy Spirit. Our unity is not by all having the same understanding, nor is it in our form of worship, but in the fact that we are all drinking of the same Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the unifying factor in the body of Christ.

Are you drinking of the one Spirit the Father and the Son have given? He is the Spirit of the Father and He is the Spirit of the Son. The Godhead remains a mystery because we are speaking of God. All we know and experience of God is through the Holy Spirit. In Corinthians, Paul spoke of the water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness. He called it “a spiritual drink” which was Christ. Paul taught that our spiritual drink is the Holy Spirit through Christ our Rock. The Holy Spirit ministers all that Christ has provided for us. Drink deeply of the spiritual water that you have been given! Receive all that the Holy Spirit has for you! Remember, it is spiritual, but it becomes manifested in tangible ways. Whether it is righteousness, peace, joy, or a particular gift that the Holy Spirit chooses to release, it all comes from Him.

Today, drink of the Spirit! The Lord Jesus, by His sacrifice, has made it possible for us to receive all that the Holy Spirit has to give. Receive your portion today.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AT WORK DISTRIBUTING HIS GIFTS

1 Corinthians 12:11 – One and the self-same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

We have spent a number of days in our devotion considering the work of the Holy Spirit. We have especially considered His work as it relates to the gifts He gives in the body of Christ. Paul wrote that the one Spirit works everything according to what He wills. As believers, it is not necessary to strive over the gifts the Holy Spirit distributes. We must learn how to rest in His provisions. As our relationship with the Holy Spirit matures, we will become more available for Him to work through us for the sake of others.

A considerable challenge for a believer is to traverse the relationship between the spirit and the soul. The spirit of a person is drawn to the mystical side. This embraces areas outside the natural realm and focuses on the unseen realm. Paul calls this “spiritual” and not natural. At the same time, it is important that we do not throw our reasoning out the door. A key is to consistently bring our natural thought process to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to affect how we reason. This means that we need to study the Word of God. The Word of God reveals God’s viewpoints. The Spirit of God will help affect our reasoning through His Word. At the same time, be bold to ask the Holy Spirit to allow His supernatural gifts to be given to you as He wills. I have prayed for over forty years, “Lord, give me heaven’s point of view, and help me see things from Your perspective.” I have asked many times for the Holy Spirit to help me by giving me an operation of His gifts. He has been so faithful to help!

Father, I surrender my natural mind to the Holy Spirit. I ask You to open my understanding of Your Word and freely distribute Your gifts through my life as You choose. Holy Spirit, I give You complete control of my life. I pray that I may be a faithful steward of what You entrust to me.

INTERPRETATION OF VARIOUS KINDS OF TONGUES

1 Corinthians 12:10 – To another, the interpretation of tongues.

The gift of interpretation was very important in the early church. There were many languages spoken throughout the Roman Empire. In Acts 2, we read about all those from around the empire that had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. They spoke the language of their homeland. Those speaking in tongues were speaking of the kingdom of God in the many languages represented. Tongues were a sign gift to the Jews that the Spirit had come and the Kingdom was being established. In Acts 10, we see this sign gift of tongues given to the Gentiles. As the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues, it was a sign to the Jews that God had accepted the Gentiles in His kingdom. Supernaturally, the message of the Gospel was given in an understood tongue by some but needed interpreting for those who did not understand the language by which the Spirit was speaking.

Today, the gift of interpretation is still relevant. There are testimonies from the mission field of tongues and interpretations being helpful in the sharing of the Gospel. From time to time, a message in tongues will come in a gathering of believers. If only the gift of tongues is exercised, there will be no edification for those who do not understand the language spoken. Interpretation provides others an opportunity to be encouraged as understanding is brought to the hearers. Paul encouraged tongues in the corporate gathering, but only if the gift of interpretation is exercised. Paul went on to say, some speak in tongues, some interpret, but all can prophesy. The Holy Spirit has made provision for the many languages spoken in the nations to hear the Gospel and has given an opportunity to receive Christ’s offer of forgiveness and life.

Rejoice today in your time of devotion with the Lord, in how He has made provision for all people to hear and understand the good news of the Kingdom of God. If the gift of tongues is exercised in a public meeting, maybe the Lord would use you to interpret what was spoken for the edifying of the body of Christ. 

TO ANOTHER, THE DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS

1 Corinthians12:10 – To another, the distinguishing of spirits.

The Bible reveals four areas relating to the subject of “spirit.” The first is the Holy Spirit, for whom this devotional is dedicated. Next, the human spirit, which becomes regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit when one repents and is converted. The third is angels, who are called ministering spirits. The fourth is demonic spirits, who are associated with the realm of darkness.

In the Gospels, these spirits of darkness are referred to in a number of ways. They are called devils, evil spirits, and unclean spirits. The gift of discernment, translated in the NASB as “distinguishing of spirits,” is a gift the Holy Spirit gives so the body of Christ knows with what realm of the spirit world it is dealing. This is a necessary gift in helping to bring freedom to those bound by evil spirits. It is also beneficial to help an individual find God’s eternal purpose for their lives as they learn to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Because of the influence of the occult in society, both in Bible days and in ours, the problem of spirits is a real issue. Many people come to Jesus, but have not received ministry regarding their past, when evil spirits attached to their lives. The early church understood the spiritual battle in which they were engaged and ministered “deliverance” from evil or unclean spirits so that the new believers could walk in freedom in their new faith in Christ.

The gift of discernment is a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit wants to impart to willing believers. It can be used to discern spiritual realms in the corporate gathering, in times of ministry to an individual, and in our personal walk with the Lord. God wants us to know how the enemy is battling against our success in Christ. The Bible is clear about our warfare not being with flesh and blood. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Ask the Holy Spirit today to heighten your discernment of the enemy’s territories. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to show you the battle in which you are engaged.  Ask for discernment as you minister to others. Father, I thank You for Your Word that tells of our spiritual battles. Cause me to be discerning as I fight the good fight of faith.