Every believer has a supernatural endowment.  1 Corinthians 7:7 says, “Each has his own gift from God.”  Some are gifted to teach or lead.  Others have abilities to give, show compassion, exhort, speak truth, and serve (Romans 12:6-8).  Be on guard against apathy and ignorance in this area.  Churches across America are in a state of stagnancy, and they have a dire need for faithful members who will use their gifts for God’s glory.  However, many are at a standstill, sitting on the spiritual sidelines.  They are inactive and unengaged in spiritual service.  To get out of such a rut, one can follow the following three action steps.

Discover your gift.

Maybe you are already aware of the way in which God has gifted you.  If so, great!  You are ready to get engaged in using it.  If not, you need to commit yourself to a process of discovery.  Be aware, however, that such a process is faith-oriented.  There isn’t a survey, exam, person, or blood test that will reveal what your gift is.  You have to discover it through your walk with the Lord.  This is part of God’s design.  He wants you to pursue after Him first of all, so He makes your relationship with Him the means through which He makes Himself known.  When you surrender your life to Him and walk with Him, you will naturally discover His will for your life (Romans 12:1-2).  He will give you desires to serve in certain areas (Psalm 37:4), and He will confirm your giftedness in numerous ways.

Develop your gift.

Our spiritual gifts come from the Spirit of God which we received at salvation.  We don’t possess them because of any merit on our part.  In short, they are gifts of grace.  In Romans, Paul said, “According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts” (Romans 12:6).  Since our gifts come from grace, and since Scripture instructs us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), it is logical that we should grow in our abilities at exercising our gifts.  Teachers should aim to advance in their instruction, leaders should hone their craft, encouragers should strive to get better, caregivers should look for ways to improve, givers should grow in their generosity, truth-tellers should develop their tactfulness, and servants should look for ways to step up their service.  If each believer would commit to developing his or her gift, the church would increase its impact in the world.

Deploy your gift. 

Even the greatest of abilities are of little consequence if they aren’t put into action.  For the church to be built and strengthened, individual believers need to be faithful to use their strengths within the context of a local congregation.  When Paul wrote to Timothy, he said, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you” (1 Timothy 4:14).  The young man’s church had recognized his gift of teaching and leading.  The apostle wanted him to be faithful in the deployment of his gift.  The Lord has a similar desire for your life.  By His grace, He has made you capable for service within His kingdom.  Find a way to use your gift.  Be faithful and the Lord will get glory.  People will be helped, and His church will be built.

Dr. Patrick Latham

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