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Is it God’s Spirit?

When I first heard that the Holy Spirit was handing out gifts, I wanted to be the first in line to receive mine! I love surprises–the good kind, thank you–and a brightly-wrapped package will always be met with an enthusiastic response from me! However, I do realize that there are folks who are not moved by glitzy boxes and for whom surprises–even the good kind–are unsettling.

For many years, the church gave no attention to spiritual gifts. “Discovery processes” were unheard of. Then someone read 1 Corinthians 12:1 and took it seriously: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. And a new movement was born. While it grew quickly among the charismatic churches, even the more conservative churches have come to realize the value in gifts discovery.

It amazes me that I still encounter people who aren’t even curious about these gifts the Holy Spirit is giving out, much less the one that has their name on it! How can they ignore something so exciting? How can they not want this priceless gift? It just doesn’t make sense to me. But recently I heard something that gave me a clue…

I have been engaged in a study of Bishop N. T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian, including the accompanying video teaching. Bishop Wright says,

The point is not that the Spirit comes to give us, as it were, a new spiritual high, the spiritual Christian equivalent of being on some drug or other. The point is rather that the Spirit comes in order to enable God’s people to be his people in and for the world. If you think you’re receiving the Spirit but don’t sense that there’s anything you ought to be doing out there in God’s world, then maybe it isn’t God’s Spirit that you’re actually receiving. And likewise, if you think you’re supposed to be engaging in some new task for God’s kingdom, but don’t think you need God’s Spirit to help you do it, then you are heading for disaster, and that fast. (emphasis mine)

If you are an equipping leader who is finding there are some who are just not interested in hearing about–or discovering their–spiritual gifts, perhaps the deeper need is for a real encounter with the Holy Spirit. Obviously, we can’t engineer that (though some do try!), so what are we to do? Pray. The greatest gift equipping leaders can give is to pray fervently for those who need an honest-to-goodness, knock-their-socks-off encounter with the Holy Spirit! Pray that He will stir in them an unquenchable desire to know what the Spirit has given. Then stand ready to help them discover their gift (not the least of which is the Holy Spirit himself) and how they can use that gift for God’s purpose in and for the world!


4 thoughts on “Is it God’s Spirit?

  1. What a great reminder! We cannot control when or where people serve if serving from their giftedness. But we fall into the trap thinking we can manipulate the Spirit to fill the biggest gaps. Everyone is left unfullfilled. It must be God led and God inspired. We can only pray that they are moved by the Spirit and choose to respond. Then be ready to help God’s people discover the gifts they have been given.
    Thanks Andee!

  2. I would add one thing to this good post–that if we are not having knock your socks off times with the Spirit of God, we can’t lead others to do so. so even before praying for them, as St Paul does in Ephesians 1:15 ff, that we pray to the Lord ourselves for ourselves that we would know him more deeply than ever:

    “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe”

    I have a feeling that Paul knew to pray this way only as a result of “knowing God better” himself and of having a heart enlightened to “know the hope” of his calling and God’s “incomparably great power” personally. How is our walk with the Lord? We can’t give what we don’t have…

    • Well said, Allen. A leader is going to have a hard time guiding others to that knock-your-socks-off experience of the Spirit if he/she hasn’t been there! I suspect that is a good bit of what’s ailing our churches today… leaders whose socks are firmly adhered to their feet!

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