Hello again, Ladies. Over the past couple weeks we have been busy exposing lies that our Enemy from down under (way under, not Australia) has been mailing us direct and sealing with an evil kiss. These steaming packages come express delivery from Hell’s “Department of Deceptions and Distractions” right to our door. Too often we sign for them, bring them in and open up trouble. BUT no longer! Through the truth of God’s word we are now gaining wisdom and slicing these lies to pieces.
So let’s get down to business on this next one too. First, read parts 1 and 2 if you haven’t. Lies we have dealt with already, 1.) I don’t fit in and I can’t connect. 2.) I don’t have any spiritual gifts. These are outright lies – scripture tells us that if we are his, we are connected and part of the body whether we feel like it or not AND every Christian has been given gifts to use for the good of the whole Church body. This leads us to #3…
LIE #3: I have gifts but no way to use them. Malarkey, hogwash and poppycock! (Yep, web thesaurus again, you need to try that thing). I won’t even let this one slide. Tell me, what kind of mean god would give you gifts and then not provide an opportunity to use them? Is this some kind of sadistic cosmic joke? Or do we have a random god who has no clear reason or purpose behind what he does? I’ll say it again, poppycock! Not the God I serve. Nuh-uh. No way.
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33a. Our God is a God of peace and order, he did not create chaos in Genesis, but set forth order with purpose. Keep those words in mind when thinking of God– order with purpose. This is true in creation, this is true in how God wrote out the salvation story and it is true for your life as well (remember we have a God concerned about individuals! See blog for lie #2). God is the author of your story (Psalms 139:16). It may not always feel like it, but God has put your life in divine order and assigned it specific purpose.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. This verse always excites me. God has work for us to do (as individuals) that he prepared for us long ago. Think: tailor made gifts for tailor made tasks. Now that is an awesome, plan ahead, I’m-in-charge-and-I-know-what-I-am-doing kind of God. That is my God, thank you very much. And yours too, so get out there and see what type of works he has for you! Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to.
There may be a specific role to plug into at the physical church building or maybe not. But there are always, always, always ways to use your gifts for the good of the body. Remember 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” If you are not using your gifts you are not being a good steward of the grace God has given you. Count this as encouragement and a warning too. Don’t be in a position where you are holding back from God (not cool).
So find ways to use your tailor made talents. Here are some possible ideas: talk with other women at church and help them connect, write scripture verses out and give them to others for encouragement, make meals for busy new moms, go on a mission trip, study God’s word deeply, watch children for others in the church, lead a Bible study in your home, pray with someone, clean the church, teach children, sit with someone who is lonely, give hugs, build relationships with the young women in the church, ask someone what they need prayer for, greet others warmly and make them feel welcome at church, write notes of encouragement and mail them out, pray for someone new each day, read the Bible with someone, support missions, decorate the church or offer help in homes, paint, sit next to those who come to church alone, share your testimony, invite others into your home and show hospitality, invite someone to get coffee and talk about what you are reading in the Bible, play an instrument for praise, share your joy with someone, share someone’s burden, take a young lady to get her hair done and talk about purity, take a walk with someone and see how they are really doing.
This list could go on for miles, you get the idea. Now make yourself take the time to have your own brainstorming session. Your God-given personality style will shape how you serve and love others. Do not fall into the trap of gift comparison, each of us is unique. Simple acts of service are demonstrations of a heart belonging to God and that’s what it’s all about. You may not slash though a jungle in Guinea to spread the gospel (though you might), but you can build up the body with a smile and the sharing of God’s word right where you are. Let’s not complicate what God has made plain.
So, serve, love, teach, and encourage with God’s word. Practice your gifts, stretch yourself and grow into the awesome story that he has written just for you. It is oh, so good.
Time for part two in our series, but first I want to point out an important word in the title that I hope you caught. That word is “Christian”. That’s right these lies are aimed at Christians (I’m talking to women directly today, but men are affected as well). If you are not a true Christian this is not for you and honestly, you probably don’t often struggle with many (or any) of these lies I will be discussing. You are not a threat to the Enemy, actually the Enemy likes you right where you are (that is right next to him). There is no need for him to convince you that you don’t belong in a church or that you have no gifts to share because your heart is not inclined that way.
This message is to encourage my sisters who are in Christ that they have been given gifts to use and that they can discover what those gifts are. So, that being said, if you have struggled with this lie – rejoice! Seriously rejoice - you have been found a threat to the opposition and he is not liking you one bit. This lie has been thrown at you like a hand grenade to blow up in your face and send you crying back to your room to hide. Sisters, let’s begin some serious counter attacks, beating that devil back to where he belongs. We need to refuse to put up with these ridiculous cheap shots. So, fasten your truth belts and pick up your sword.
LIE #2: I don’t have any spiritual gifts. Hmm… interesting. I used to tease my little brother that he must have been gone the day God was handing out brains because it was obvious he got skipped (I think I repented of that long ago). So somehow God must have skipped you when he was handing out spiritual gifts. Whoops! What an oversight! Some of those Quality Check Angels (QCAs) were not paying attention there. Wow, send them back to training. Not an area we want remedial angels to be working in, they may fit in better where they check if you can walk and chew gum at the same time.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts brothers [and sisters], I do not want you to be uninformed.” Okay, not my words, but Paul’s, but I mean them too (they are from 1 Cor. 12:1, you really need to read that whole awesome chapter). Don’t be uninformed, ladies, read your owner’s manual, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:” 1 Peter 4:10. No one has been overlooked; each of us has been given gifts to be used for the betterment of the body. Let me repeat that in case you weren’t listening… NO ONE has been overlooked - every. single. Christian. has received a gift!
There are specific gifts listed in at least two places in the Bible. Here are some gifts listed in 2 Corinthians chapter 12: the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, healing, working miracles, prophecy, and the ability to distinguish between spirits, also teaching, helping and administrating. Some from Romans chapter 12: faith, service, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leading, and giving mercy.
“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor. 12:11. Each of us is given a gift in the portion best for us, decided by God and this is done individually (love this word used in relation to God). Sounds like no QCAs are needed after all! We don’t have a careless God that misses people when they are going through the creation assembly line. As if new humans are being produced faster than he can keep up (yes, mental picture of Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory assembly line here). We have a perfect God that hand creates each of us individually with love and purpose. Phew! That is good news… I think I might need to call my little brother.
Ladies, you have been given spiritual gifts! You just need to discover what those gifts are. This is not a daunting task, be excited that there are awesome things to discover about yourself that you simply haven’t uncovered yet! Hidden gems that God has placed within you to be revealed at the proper time in order to shine brilliantly for him. Oh, I hope this is sinking in, because this is good stuff!
Here are some tips to discovering your giftings: read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and Romans chapter 12 to review lists of spiritual gifts, pray that God would reveal your gifts to you, ask others what they see in you (come talk to me, I would love to help you with this!) and practice potential gifts. Begin by practicing some of the more “common” ones like service and giving mercy (especially before trying out the working miracles and prophecy ones, jumping into these may prove embarrassing at the next Sunday service). Allow God to work through you to bless others. You will soon learn more and more about your spiritual giftings. Often new gifts are revealed as you grow in Christ or at least new ways to use and improve your current ones.
So, ladies, you should now be armed with enough ammo to refute these explosives coming your way. Keep reading God’s word in order to stay armed and to guard your heart from deceit. One of my favorite tactics in this spiritual battle we engage in everyday is to use the weapons of the Enemy against him. So next time one of those lie-grenades comes flying at you, whack it with your shield of faith and send it right back where it belongs. You do this by holding fast to God’s truth in the Word and living it out. Use your gifts to build up the body and strengthen the brothers and sisters by your side. Batter up, Ladies.
“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord