16 Oct 2013 by Jason Law CM-
Every one of us has God-given talents, whether we are Christians or not. These include the creative abilities like a natural ability to act, sing, or write well. Some other talents may be a keener mind than others in solving a practical problem. Yet others may have a talent in leading a huge corporation or organization. What differentiates talents from spiritual gifts is that spiritual gifts are bestowed by God through the Holy Spirit directly onto a believer’s life the moment they accept Christ as their savior. It has a deeper supernatural element to it, and is meant to empower Christians for their calling in this world. As such, it has a higher purposefulness to it that may be absent from the normal types of talent. As Christians, to be effective people of God, we should have the confidence and security to utilize these gifts for the glory of God.
Most Christians are familiar with the spiritual gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. Not many know, however, what it means in their lives or how to utilize these gifts. This is the aim of a set of classes conducted by Sister Ai Lin of Charis Christian Center; to educate Christians about this.
Taught in a down-to-earth, relational, and relaxed way, the first class on Saturday covered four topics:
- Know Your Gifts & Discover Your Calling
- Embrace Your Calling
- Live a Transformed Life
- Live Free of Shame
Romans 12: 6-8
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
#1 KNOW YOUR GIFTS & DISCOVER YOUR CALLING
Sis Ai Lin opened the class, and the topic of ‘Know Your Gifts & Discover Your Calling’ with a discussion on differences and roles of talents and spiritual gifts. The attendees were encouraged to share about some of the natural talents that each person think they were born with, and some of the abilities they think they have developed since they’ve become a Christian. Through this discussion, many shared about Christ taking away their insecurity. One sister, Josephine, shared about an increase in boldness while another, Ashley shared about a new-found self-confidence and freedom from fear of spooky things. One of the primary purposes of spiritual gifts is that through it, God will help us to strip away all former boundaries and fears.
Sis Ai Lin shared that some gifts are a perfect fit for our personality, and that the terms ‘gifts’, ‘service’ and ‘working’ in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 in connection with spiritual gifts is an indication that the same gifts can be used in a variety of ways, and is to be used for a common good. Jeremiah 1:5 indicates that our spiritual gifts are not by accident but was divinely appointed by God.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Our loving God gave us specific spiritual gifts at the time of our salvation, just as He gave us the marvelous potential of many talents and abilities at our birth. Our Savior loves to create and He loves His creation. When we were created, He already has a plan for us.
While some gifts are a natural fit for our personalities, for many others they may be a surprise. This is where we see people who were formerly struggling with low self-confidence suddenly share the Word of God with boldness. Some of the challenges or things that we fear formerly suddenly becomes humdrum and ordinary because of the newfound faith, strength, and gifts that God gives a person. The Bible is full of stories of people who experienced this, such as Moses and Gideon.
Another type of gift we ask for as we face the challenges of life. An example in the Bible is Solomon. Because Solomon knew how to ask for the good gift of wisdom, as related in 1 Kings 3:7-12, God blessed and gave Solomon more than what he asked for. Sis Ai Lin encouraged us to ask God to help us in our disabilities so that we can be dependent on Him, and not just to take away the challenges and problems. Giftings arise through facing challenges when God empowers His people so that they can be overcomers.
1 Kings 3:13
Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for–both wealth and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
#2 EMBRACE YOUR CALLING
Under the next topic, the class was also taught how to embrace their calling as empowered through the spiritual gifts. There are four principles:
1. God gives us a measure of faith at the time of our salvation, and our spiritual gifts increases from one level to another in proportion to our faith. (1 John 5:4-5)
2. God created us to have a relationship with him, and our gifts arise within us through the knowledge of the Word of God. God strips away our fear and replaces it with authority from the Word of God. (Proverbs 1:33)
3. God showers us with His love, and in turn gives us the power to love Him and others (1 John 4:7-8)
4. God calls us to use all these gifts for His sake. We may fear using our gifts for fear of failing or the supernatural but we ought to encourage others through Scripture. God wants initiative and willingness, and many great men of God started with humble beginnings (2 Timothy 2:13)
#3 LIVE A TRANSFORMED LIFE
Encouragement was also given to Christians to live a transformed life through the gifts, taught through the next topic. Under this topic, some principles on how to live a life transformed through the gifts were taught to the class. Some of the guiding principles were:
1. Let the Holy Spirit train you in goodness. It is the Spirit of God in us that helps us to have self-control which leads to perseverance and godliness. The evidence of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit is shown through the countenance and character in a person. One example is Mother Teresa’s actions and love (2 Peter 1:3-9)
2. Learn knowledge from God’s Word. One of the most important lessons is to learn how to love the Word of God. Confidence with our spiritual gifts can be obtained through verifying our knowledge through the Word of God. (Proverbs 8:10-11)
3. Let the Holy Spirit give you self-control. The voice of the Holy Spirit is a still small voice, but as Christians, we ought to learn to listen to His prompting. The Holy Spirit trains us in our spiritual gifts, and the way to it is to know God’s Word. Do what the Spirit tells us, and not according to our nature (Proverbs 25:28)
4. Let the Holy Spirit produce perseverance in us. (Luke 18:1-8)
5. Let the Holy Spirit give us brotherly kindness. (Jeremiah 9:24b)
#4 LIVE FREE OF SHAME
Besides learning how to live an empowered life, we also learn how the spiritual gifts can help us to live free of shame. We learn that feelings can sometimes be in conflict with knowledge, and that some kinds of shame are healthy while others are not. An example of the former is learning how to confront destructive patterns in our lives, while an example of the latter is someone having the sense of no value or worth at all. Finally, we learn how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy shame, and handle healthy shame by responding to conviction, repenting of our sins, believing we are forgiven, and being thankful.
In these last days, in which there is an increase of challenges, the topic of spiritual gifts is an extremely important one. Such a topic has what may seem a frightening supernatural element to some, or it can be an exciting one. Sis Ai Lin’s class removed much of the frightening aspects of the topic and made it exciting for Christians.
Another session of class completing the fourth lesson in more detail will be conducted at Charis Christian Center on the 26th of October. There will also be a Spiritual Gifts Inventory Exercise during this session so that learners can get to discover the various categories of spiritual gifts.
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Contact information for Charis Christian Center can be found through:
References For Pictures: