{Guest Post} participating with the Spirit–a healthy Body, Gifts of the Spirit #2

{There is a younger generation rising up. And with all force of the Holy Spirit they speak boldly. This post is one of those voices crying from the wilderness. To keep from focusing on the writer, this person prefered a new name for the blog. Paz, who is born the first time somewhat reserved; born again as a dedicated temple of an outspoken Holy Spirit. A guest post from Paz}

We opened up the topic of the gifts of the Spirit by looking at exactly what their purpose is and why we as the Body should walk in them.

In our scripture passage of 1 Corinthians 12 Paul lists some of the different gifts available, and includes some general information about the operation of the gifts.

Paul starts out the gift list by first emphasizing that each person in the Body of Christ is given gifts by the Holy SpiritHe closes the list by again emphasizing how everyone gets a gift, everyone is expected to participate in the functioning of the Body.

Too many church members read only half of Paul’s verses: “He (Holy Spirit) alone decides” and, the Spirit distributes gifts “as He wishes”. 

They use their half-verses as excuses not only for why it is perfectly OK that they don’t practice any gifts, but even why they really are (probably) more holy than you are, seeing how they have just “submitted” themselves to the Spirit’s will; and surely He knows where to find them if He ever has a gift He wants to give them.

They choose to ignore the very next words after their “half-verses”, where Paul clearly indicates that every individual can expect to receive something.  This makes it their responsibility to seek the Lord on this issue and pursue a direction they may not be comfortable taking. 

If God expects everyone to work in His kingdom, then it is only fair that we can expect Him to be willing to equip everyone.

On the flip side, there are other members who read only the other half of Paul’s verses.  They label everything as a “gift” and service to the Body.  Mowing the church lawn all summer?  It is your gifting.  Cooking for all the gatherings?  Your calling.  Providing childcare during service each week?  Your ministry.

Now, I do not disparage anyone who is working for the kingdom and for the King with a whole heart.  There are many different true callings and works assigned by the Lord,  but we are talking about spiritual gifts here.  And the key thing about spiritual gifts?  They are spiritual!

Spiritual gifts impact the spirit realm, not the natural only. 

And real spiritual gifts only operate where the Spirit is.

It is relatively easy to know whether the Holy Spirit is in a place or not, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” – every  time.  If there seem to be spiritual gifts operating where there is no Holy Spirit you can be sure that at best these gifts are fake replicas of the real thing, and at worse, they are being operated by spirits that are not the Holy One.  This is why we are repeatedly admonished to “check the spirits”.

This open, “freedom atmosphere” that is one mark of the Holy Spirit’s presence and a necessary attribute of a place where gifts can routinely operate, is often a stumbling point for churches. 

It feels too dangerous, too uncertain.  “With only the Holy Spirit in charge”, they ask, “how do we control things?”

While some church leaders worry that such a “non-leading” approach would simply lead to chaos within a group, I would ask them: “Do you have chaos in your own physical body?” 

Do not confuse compromise with unity.  While many church members live only in a state of tenuous compromise with one another, the members of my physical body live in perfect unity.  And my human body is the pattern of the spiritual Body of Christ.

My eye does not fight with my hand over where my hand reaches.  Neither does my eye tell my hand what to do.  And they do not work so smoothly together because they have mastered the art of compromise despite their extreme differences.  They just both do as they are instructed by my head.

This is unity.  That my legs may simply take off walking some day and drag me with them to places I don’t want to go is the least of my worries when I wake up in the morning.  Why?  My legs are in submission to my head, of course!

The only time I would run into trouble is if somehow communication from my head going to my legs were interrupted, say if my spinal cord were severed.  If that happens, my legs immediately become powerless, useless for what they were created to do.

My head directs, coordinates, and orders all activities; it makes all decisions; it guides all actions of the body to benefit, preserve, and care for the body. 

In fact, no member of my body is independent!  My body is one entity made up of many, extremely varied parts.  “For in fact the body is not one member but many.”  No member of my body can survive without the other members.  And no member can function, or even survive, separated from my head.  Does this sound familiar?

If there is a lack of unity in a church, there is a lack of communication between a member or members and the Head (that is Jesus, not lead Pastors).  It is a “vertical” problem (with Jesus), not only (and sometimes not at all) a “lateral” one (with people).

If spiritual gifts (members of the body) are missing entirely, only the Holy Spirit can provide them.  They cannot be “assigned” or drafted into service.  The good news is, the Lord is building up a whole body, full, complete, and equipped for every good work.  So if there are parts missing where you fellowship, He is capable, ready, and willing to provide them.   Maybe through you!

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About Geneva

The road in my rear view mirror is marked by hard places. My Guide has been faithful. He came into my life and I was branded. Marked. Labeled. Ridiculed. Judged. Stoned. But the road ahead always looks grand and full of light! The furnaces from the past have only caused the fire of His Spirit to burn hotter. The edicts of man have tried many times to make me bend in worship to him, yet I have met the true Flame who delivers me in every furnace!
This entry was posted in church and the Holy Spirit, encouragement for the Body, Guest post, institutionalizing the church, kingdom principles, liberty and sacrifice, the younger generation speaks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to {Guest Post} participating with the Spirit–a healthy Body, Gifts of the Spirit #2

  1. Pingback: How to Get Closer to God - Journeys of the Spirit

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