1 Corinthians 12:27-28
27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.
4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
There is much debate among believers regarding the gifts of the Spirit. There are those who repeatedly seek the Lord, asking Him to give whichever gifts He chooses so that they can fulfill their part in the body of Christ. There are those who prefer to stay in their lukewarm bathtub and watch everyone else love God, love others and go make disciples. And there are those who believe the gifts of the Spirit were given only to the early church, and to operate in those “gifts” today is blasphemous.
I’ve been a member of all 3 groups. Growing up Presbyterian, Methodist and then joining a few non-denominational bodies (many were just “a Baptist church with a cool web site!”- Tim Hawkins) I experienced a myriad of theologies, church policies and core beliefs. Originally I was a HUGE skeptic, sitting on the back pew, judging a bunch of freaks speaking in unknown languages, predicting the future and healing people. Looking back over my initial exposure of the gifts being expressed corporately, I now realize that I was both incredibly naïve to the Spirit of God AND greatly lacking in the discerning of evil spirits. Just as the demons tried to draw attention to themselves during Jesus’ ministry on earth, their leader still continues to try to steal, kill and destroy what the Holy Spirit is doing amongst God’s people. BUT, lets not throw the baby out with the lukewarm bath water just because a few demons raise a ruckus! After all, as children of the King, we are able, through the power of His Spirit, to crush the enemy.
19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.
Years later, still being a non-conformist, I continued to snub those holy rollers, until my relationship with the Savior of the world began to deepen. The more I sought His presence and surrendered my will to His, the more He began to fill me to overflowing with His Spirit. And then, He moved me (literally) into a body that had many healthy functioning parts who were able to teach, lead and help me know more about the Father, Son and Spirit.
A decade or more has now passed since I began searching the scriptures and asking God to show me His truth about the gifts of the Spirit. He has been faithful to do so, over and over and over again, in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine. I am in awe of His love and generosity for His children, for His church, and for those who don’t yet know Him.
If you, like me, are a skeptic or a lukewarm follower of Christ I want to encourage you, no- URGE you to seek God about His gifts. Find a bible with an extensive concordance and start digging through its life giving pages. Find a mentor in the body that is a little further along in their walk to teach you what they know. And, if you continue to struggle in your unbelief, ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to take authority over the power of the enemy in your life.
Then, hold on to your pew, because God is gonna pour out His Spirit all over your heart, mind and soul so that you can love Him- and others like never before!
17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’