GOD CHOOSES WHICH GIFTS TO GIVE TO EACH BELIEVER. WE JUST NEED TO CULTIVATE A DESIRE TO BE USED BY HIM, AND A READINESS AND WILLINGNESS TO BUILD UP OTHER PEOPLE.
Some believers appear to suggest that spiritual performance is central to the Holy Spirit’s work today. Their focus is on the use of spiritual gifts in meetings and services, on participation by as many people as possible, on special worship and Christian activities.
All of these things are good and right, but they are not at the heart of the Spirit. He is concerned with revealing Jesus more brightly through the life of every individual believer and through the corporate life of the church.
Spiritual gifts and special activities are part of this, but not to the exclusion of presence, power and purity.
Spiritual gifts are tools to get a particular job done — supernatural abilities which the Spirit makes available to all believers who are living in him so that the kingdom of God can be promoted. But remember, they are gifts, not rewards.
There are well-known gifts in Romans 12:6‑8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 & Ephesians 4:8-11, and lesser known gifts in 1 Corinthians 7:7; 13:3 and 1 Peter 4:9-10. These gifts may be supernatural enhancements of our natural abilities or something entirely new. Either way, through them, the Spirit equips us to do something beautiful and purposeful for God. He chooses which gifts to give to each believer. We just need to cultivate a desire to be used by God, and a readiness and willingness to build up other people.
Vast numbers of gifts in a person or congregation do not mean spiritual maturity or fruitfulness. Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth commends their gifts but rebukes their immaturity, sinfulness and lack of love. It is a terrible distortion of the Spirit’s objective for the church when there are gifts without graces, charisma without character, or performance without presence.
For centuries, the church had assumed that very few Christians were equipped for ministry. Full-time male clergy and a tiny number of others were thought to be the only people whom God wanted to use in helping, teaching and reaching other people.
In recent years, the Spirit has restored the truth to the church that every member in the body of Christ has a vital ministry role. Vast numbers of Christians have been released into ministry. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers have begun to appreciate that they are meant to equip God’s people for the work of service. And the heart of his ministry is revealing Jesus, making him better known, bringing glory to God, filling our lives with purity and power.
We can be tempted to measure the Spirit’s work in us by the number of activities we are involved with, and by our skill and success in performing them. All our Spirit-inspired activities should be humble acts of serving God – that is their only importance.
The main changes the Spirit wants to make are to fill us with the presence of God, to help us know Jesus better and make him better known, and to transform us with purity and power into more accurate witnesses.