Gifts are not Just for Special Occasions
The year after I was saved, I got involved in a 6 month class that progressively taught Christian foundations. The topics covered were salvation, Bible overview, fellowship and communion, baptism: water and Holy Spirit, prayer and worship, trials and temptations, stewardship, Bible authenticity, gifts of the Holy Spirit, evangelism, and servanthood.
I understood water baptism, but I didn’t know about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is a person and not a thing. He is the helper Jesus promised to send to us after He ascended to heaven. Before Christ, He walked along side of me, steering me toward Christ. After Christ, He came to dwell in my heart. When I became a believer, I was baptised in the Spirit, becoming part of the body of Christ.
When I took the class about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I was very intrigued. I was excited to learn what my gifts might be. The gifts of the Holy Spirit include apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, service, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, helps, administration, wisdom, knowledge, discernment, prophecy, tongues, interpretation, faith, healing, and miracles.
My friend, Leah, thinks I have the gift of evangelism. I’m not sure I would agree, but I do love telling people about Jesus, God, and how to be saved. I have learned over these past months that I can’t “save” anyone. It’s not up to me to save people, it’s up to the Lord. I am just a vessel He uses to spread the message of His love, to plant a seed in a person’s heart and to be a bright, burning light in a dark world. Salvation comes from God alone. After really understanding this concept, I didn’t feel as much pressure. I’m not certain this is a gift because I have to really work at evangelism. I evangelize because Jesus commanded us to evangelize. I love Jesus and will do anything He wants me to do. He saved my life!
I know I have the gift of mercy. God gave me that gift years ago. It explains why I’m a nurse. I see people hurting and I want to help them. I hurt for them and with them. Now that I really know the Lord, the amount of compassion I have has tripled. Before Christ, my heart became pretty hard. Life has a way of making us jaded and cynical. I would get hurt and a brick would go up. Slowly, a wall was erected around my heart. God is tearing that wall down, turning a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. I love and appreciate my job more now than ever, thanks to the Lord.
Recently, I’ve realized that He has given me the gift of giving. Before Christ, I had to keep all my money for myself. I didn’t save money, but I certainly wouldn’t share money either. I had a hard time even giving money to my boys. I always had to make sure I had the things I wanted first. Then I would get the boys things they wanted. I was extremely selfish. Now I enjoy giving to others. I know everything I have has been given to me by God. Everything belongs to Him. He gives us what we need so we can give to others what they need. Giving to people gives me joy. Helping people out with even small amounts is a wonderful thing. I am far from rich, but I do have enough to share. That old cliché, it is better to give than to receive, is true. Thanks to the Lord, I know that now.
Another gift the Lord has given me is discernment of spirits. This involves intuitively knowing if a person is who they claim to be. I meet people and almost always immediately sense if they are “real” or “not real”. When I meet someone and sense he isn’t “real”, I get this squirmy feeling. I find myself saying, “there is something wrong with that person, I don’t know what it is, I can just sense it.” There is just something about a person’s spirit I can sense. I am grateful God has given me this gift. It is a gift that helps me to be cautious. This gift also helps me to stay away from false teachers who claim to be teaching the word of God. There are those people out there who twist the word of God ever so slightly, that if I didn’t have discernment, I might be led away from Him. Discernment lets me see the most subtle, almost imperceptible changes of the word of God.
The most important thing I’ve learned about the gifts of the Holy Spirit is He gives them as He wills. He gives different gifts to different people at different times for His purpose and His glory. I don’t consider myself to have the gift of prophecy, however, I’ve said prophetic things and not even realized what I said until after the fact. That’s what is so awesome about being full of the Spirit. As a Christian, I’ve learned the gifts are things we should all desire. I always pray for the Spirit to work through Me as He sees fit. It is such a joy to be used by the Lord!