Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The one about: Spiritual Gifts

I heard a quote one time that said, "I'm not beautiful like you, I'm beautiful like me." Loved that quote so much, but how much it can also be said  in the body of Christ with, "I'm not gifted like you, I'm gifted like me." You know one thing I have been learning over the past few months, but seems so predominate and prevalent in my life in the last week or two (and just a side note I have to owe this to some of the incredible God fearing women that I look up to that are huge encouragers of the faith in my life and just His word too that shows us) is that in the body of Christ we are all gifted differently and uniquely in His kingdom. We all have different personalities, and unique abilities that God has given us to help the church function and carry out His plan and purposes in a world that needs to see Him. With that being said, we believers have to stop picking apart other believers, and I will be the first to admit I am guilty and have been convicted of this myself. We are all called differently, but equipped and live by the SAME SPIRIT. We serve differently, but serve the SAME LORD. Some of us are teachers, leaders, administrators, writers, organizers, have gifts of prophecy, and shepherding, musically inclined and I could go on, but we have to stop criticizing others in the church for not having the gifts you have or lets say maybe you do have the same gift, we still have to stop criticizing them for not using it the way you would. (preaching to the choir here).

Scripture tells us that they would know us in the world and ~know we are His disciples by our love for one another~ John 13:3, dang if we can't get along here as brothers and sisters in Christ, we got to remember we are going to be with each other throughout all eternity. That's a pretty dang on long time to be with someone! So we have to stop with the bashing of when we see another believer that is using their gifts and we feel that what they are saying or doing is not what we would do or not do or coming off too bold, or way too soft, or too truthful and not enough grace, or too traditional and too charismatic enough, or too convicting, or too strong for us or not strong enough. Because it all comes down to the heart condition of the gift user and the fruit they are producing with that gift and the spirit they are operating in. Of course we are going to prefer different styles and tastes, but if the person using the gift is being lead by the holy spirit to speak, to write, to defend, to proclaim then what are we getting upset about? Because it would not be the way we think we would use the gift? 

again...preaching to the choir here.

Now, don't take this as I'm not saying we should never rebuke, or train or correct or point out sin, because yes there are times when believers have not 100 % been good stewards of their gifts. Have used them sinfully and hurtfully to appeal to the flesh. So we definitely need to discern and as scripture would also tell us we need "to not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." So we def  to steer clear of those teachings and make others aware and we absolutely want to always discern and approach the fruit people are producing and the spirit they are operating in through the lens of Christ and test it to see if whether it is from God or not. But if its not...PRAY for them and then pray for yourself that God would reveal to you through His word and truth what He wants you to see or learn from this person and situation.

which leads me to....

 If we all didn't know this by now that SIN is sin. I mean lets just call it what is it. It's ugly. It is nasty, evil, stupid, and I HATE IT! We all hate it! God hates it! I hate my own sin! I really do. It disgusts me and I freaking hate it so much. It hurts me to see others sin, a believer, a non believer, whoever, and it hurts me when I sin, and it hurts God. Sin just hurts.

 So if someone gets fired up over sin and freaks out in their gifts and maybe lets just say starts flipping tables 
because they are just angry and upset over ungodliness can we just maybe give them a little room? (and as a woman sometimes when we are fired up over sin mixed with hormones oh lawdy, watch out now...because it might not just be a table). But just PRAY, PRAY PRAY for that person!!! Trust me the holy spirit will eventually convict. Been here and praise God for conviction, repentance, mercy and grace!

 As I am typing I'm starting to think about some of the most influential Christians in the public eye that have some amazing spiritual gifts and I have gleaned so much from in my walk. They all have something in common, other than the fact they are brothers and sisters in Christ, but that all have been criticized in their gifts for being just too whatever and honestly I have seen them flip tables and freak out a time or two in their walks and thought "WHOA" now. They be getting fired up, and I am sure being in the public eye doesn't help as they are more under scrutiny and their witnessing is heavily questioned. 

I am sure you have heard of them, but they all are coming to mind as I type and so I want to share.

 ie. John MacArthur. He is one incredible bible teacher, author and pastor. If you ever get a chance to listen to his sermons or read his blog check it out sometime. ( He seriously is like the Paul of today and has often been referred to that. He is so bold. SO BOLD. It is so inspiring to be that bold in the faith! He has such a heart for his flock knowing the truth of God's word and also warning them of the dangers of false prophets and exhorting his flock to be made aware of false teachings, but I can not tell you how many times I have heard other Christians say he's too judgmental and too bible thumpy, and too harsh etc. He truly cares about his flock and wanting to equip and guide his sheep and he is doing what God has called him to do with his unique gifts. 

Then there is Joyce Meyer! Love her! She has such a powerful testimony! She is such an encourager of God's word and truly wants to see captives set free in Christ from a life of bondage. But, she has been referred to as a false prophet, criticized for being a woman and preaching to men by other Christians and too much of a charismatic for her to come speak at "their" church.

You got pastors like John Hagee (may not be some peoples cup of tea, but man he be on fire for the Lord now...that is for sure). Definitely a John the Baptist of today! He is passionate about end times and about people getting ready for the coming of the Lord. He preaches with conviction and authority. Repent...repent!! (def a John the Baptist move) But look at the fruit he produces. People have been radically changed and set free and saved under his ministry!

You got writers like Jen Hatmaker! So thankful to a couple girlfriends who turned me on to her because I seriously can not get enough of her. She is hysterical, and blunt and straight forward and a no nonsense type of woman. You might be offended if you read some of her books because she kind of just tells it like it is, but this woman is passionate and relentless and gung-ho about going into the dark and ugly places of the world and seeing the lost saved in Jesus name!! Love her!

You got soft spoken people like Charles Stanley who is your traditional preacher that bring so much joy when he preaches. You can't not sit through one of his sermons and not smile. He reminds me of my grandfather Herb, just a little bit taller and slimmer and doesn't wear cowboy boots. :) I know he has been told in his ministry a time or two that he is too narrow minded or that he is too black and white and not enough gray. Needs to be more like his son Andy Stanley, who also has been criticized for too much grace and not enough truth on certain doctrines.

Then there is Ann Voskamp! Such a beautiful writer. So gifted with her words and the way she can melt your heart for the Lord and make you just fall in love with Jesus, but she too has been criticized from the church for being just too much. Too mystical, too wordy and just too.....

There are so many other's I can list in the public eye who are such bold proclaimers of the truth or maybe gentle quite spirits, who have produced GOOD fruit and whose hearts are sold out for Jesus and making Him known, but that have been attacked and criticized for being too forward, or too bold, or being judgmental
or too soft or not enough this and not enough that....

Then I think about those that are unseen, but seen in our lives. Those that we actually do or have done life with, and who have been huge influences in our walks and journeys in Christ.

Johnnie Laye, a beautiful God fearing woman who was an amazing bible teacher. She recently passed last year, and no doubt that this woman is not wearing many crowns and will be sitting next to Billy Graham. I had such the privilege to be my Sunday school teacher growing up and about 2 years before she passed I had the honor of sitting under again one of her bible studies on Revelations and let me just tell you should could teach revelations like no bodies business. You will walk out of her bible study just desperately waiting to see the Lord coming through the clouds and hearing the trumpet sound. But, I am sure she has felt attacked and persecuted at some point in her walk too.

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim 3:12

Then I think about such fierce women like my grandmother, Louise. Man, she a straight up spit fire, but she LOVES Jesus and she loves people. She was my mentor when I came to Christ back in my early twenties and she poured so much of Gods word in me and instilled in me a passion to know Him and make Him known and to love music and His word. She is such a lover of His word and has taught many of women in her walk in His word. She also has an incredible voice, so musically gifted and I just know she will be conducting the angels choir for Jesus one day in glory, but she is no different. She has been attacked and criticized for being holier than thou and judgmental, and the more older she get's the more blunt she gets but we love her. ;)

So many others I could type here but this would turn into a book, and I already need a trusted editor and I am not sure you would even read it all......

My point to all of this is we all have different spiritual gifts and abilities, and personalities and just uniqueness about us and it's time we start encouraging one another and spurring each other in love to good works in Jesus name instead of criticizing each other for not being more like the gifts each other have or desire to have. Not everyone will be a street evangelist (I know that is not my calling. I can see someone straight up telling me to just go on somewhere and sit down.) but lets not criticize others for doing it, and
saying they are hurting the church or giving us a bad rap (yes... I have heard this recently...from other Christians) If at least one person comes to Christ was it not worth it? Not everyone will be a bold proclamier some will be quiet in spirit, but let's not criticize them for being Pauls or John the Baptists'.

 Some of us do not know what gifts we have and still trying to figure out the gifts we do have or desire to have. Some of us may be operating in the wrong gifts or still trying to see how God wants them to use them based on their personalities or unique abilities, so as brothers and sisters in Christ, let's all commit to encourage each other in our spiritual gifts and abilities and spur it to good works in Jesus name!!!

REMEMBER: You are doing great Saint! Keep your eyes focused on the Cross. Keep running the race! Keep shining His light in dark places. Keep boldly proclaiming or quietly praying. Keep trusting. Keep loving. Keeping going. Keep running. Keep pressing on toward the prize! Just keep doing and being all He has called you to do and be....

~We got one life to use them, there is one Church to use them in, and one Kingdom to advance. We may have many different spiritual gifts, but there is one Gospel, and one God!!! ~