My inbox was exploding with Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads. This year, I noticed a lot of the “deals” were more about the graphics of the ad than the actual price of the item. I looked at the “suggested retail” price and wondered who made that suggestion! The season of gift-giving is in full swing, so the season of advertising is as well. Based on my past weekend’s inbox, I would say the “truth in advertising” laws are stretched just a bit!
Gift-giving isn’t easy. Most Americans shop all year long and purchase what we need and want. Christmas rolls around, and the question we all ask of December is: What do we get for the people who have everything they need and want? We look for the gifts that will say, “I love you, I’m grateful for you, and I thought of you when I saw this.” Somehow, the great deals on vacuums, televisions, and hair dryers didn’t fit those categories. I guess I’ll keep checking my inbox. Surely someone will come up with a Cyber Thursday or Black Tuesday with free shipping.
Those ads started my mind down a different road. I’m going to teach a lesson this week about spiritual gifts. How did God choose those gifts to give his children? He is perfect and knows everything about us. Therefore, when God gave us our spiritual gifts, he gave us the most perfect gifts we will ever receive, and they will last forever. Your gifting was carefully chosen for you by the One who created you.
Aren’t you most grateful for the gifts you use all the time? What are the gifts that cause you to say, “What did I ever do without this?” That is how all of us should feel about our spiritual gifts. When we became Christians, God instantly filled us with his Holy Spirit. God filled us with the presence, power, and person of Jesus Christ. Jesus chooses to continue his earthly ministry through each of us; therefore, we have been given his spiritual gift. Jesus taught his disciples this when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Your spiritual gift is how Jesus uses your life to accomplish his kingdom ministry.
Jesus preaches through some of you. Jesus teaches through some of you. Some Christians offer the compassion of Christ. Others understand Scripture like Jesus. Some of God’s children pray as Jesus prayed. I’ve always been grateful for the people God has placed in my life who seem to know just what to say to encourage my ministry. Those are people God has gifted with the exhortation of Christ. Others live with faith that rarely falters. You know people who share the message of salvation as naturally as they share any other conversation. Those people are gifted in evangelism. You probably have a friend who knows how you are really feeling even when you are doing your best to pretend. That friend is probably gifted with discernment. Some Christians have great wisdom and others the ability to organize, lead, give, and meet needs.
What are your spiritual gifts? If you are a Christian, you must be able to answer that question. Uncertainty is like receiving an amazing gift for Christmas that you never take out of the box. Your spiritual gifting is the life and ministry God has planned for you because it is your road of blessing. That is why the apostle Paul said, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:8–10).
God doesn’t limit our lives to his gifting, but he does direct our lives through his Holy Spirit. To be controlled by God’s Spirit is to be abundantly aware of the moments when God is calling you to give Jesus the opportunity to continue his work through your life. Again, what are your spiritual gifts? You can know the answer to that question.
Jim has written a wonderful guide that can help you discover or remember the amazing, eternal gifts God has given you through his Holy Spirit. You can download and print this guide, free of charge, by following this spiritual gifts test link. Be careful to pray and ask Jesus to guide your thoughts and lead you to his answers. He wants you to understand God’s gifting, and some of you are going to be surprised by his answers. I know I was!
The Holy Spirit is the continued presence of Jesus in our world. He entered the world as a babe in the manger, and he entered your life when you became a Christian. How does Jesus want to continue his earthly ministry through you?
All of us will hunt for the perfect gifts to give this Christmas. Every now and then we will find a good deal. I was about to say our spiritual gifts are “free,” but then I realized what those gifts cost God. All the more reason to take the time to fully use the most perfect gifts you will ever receive. We can allow Jesus to continue his ministry through our lives. There is no better deal and no greater gift a Christian can find than that one.