By: Staci Stallings
Gifts from God
Gifts—God gives, We receive
It’s important to point out before we go any further that we are studying The GIFTS of the Holy Spirit. That means you don’t earn these, you don’t buy them or borrow them, nor do you earn them. They are given to you. The problem is that many of us view these gifts as “payment” for our own performance. We work to gain the gifts. Or worse, we work to manufacture them in ourselves to make God happy with us.
Instead, I want you to begin to consider simply using them as gifts like you would receive and use any other gift you are given. Receive them and use them, don’t work for them.
Say, for example, you receive a shirt as a gift. Would you then set it on your dresser and work to earn that shirt? Would you refuse to wear or use the shirt until you are worthy of it? Would you study the shirt and try to memorize it and then go on with life as if it didn’t exist? Would you work on believing the shirt while leaving it on the hanger as you go out into a situation where the shirt could be useful to you? Would you feel guilty for not knowing the shirt well enough?
Of course not. All of those are silly. But we do those same things with the GIFTS the Holy Spirit wants to give us.
We put requirements and stipulations on us using them. We feel we have to be “worthy” to use the Gifts; we don’t access them because we don’t realize we can. And what a waste of God’s power that is.
So, for the duration of this study, I want to challenge you to start USING the Gifts you have been given rather than just studying them or working on them or memorizing them long enough to forget them again.
Understand that the Holy Spirit has given you the gift of knowledge, the gift of understanding, the gift of fortitude. It is up to you to take these “off the hanger” and use what He’s given you.
Consider this: the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are like life-building materials. They are what you can use to build your spiritual life and your physical life, your mental life and your emotional life. In short—your whole life. At home. At work. At church. In public. In private. Any time. In fact, that is exactly why the Holy Spirit gave them to you—to help you all the time.
Now, for a moment imagine you are going to build a house. What would you start with doing? Getting your bricks put up? Putting the floor in? Sheetrocking? Painting?
Of course that’s ridiculous. If you were going to build a house, you would start with drawing up a set of plans, right? Why would you start with that? Because with a fully-drawn set of plans, you could see what and how much of each building material you would need. You could budget and know that the house will fit on the lot. You would know how much money you would need to complete the project. The whole thing starts with a good plan.
The great news is you have been given not only a set of plans from the Master Builder, but He has carefully crafted these plans and given you the steps and the materials you will need to build the life you’ve always dreamed of living. This life will be imminently useable and a perfect fit just for you.
Unfortunately, too many of us don’t use the plan God has given us. We go off track and off plan. We use whatever materials we want in whatever order happens to happen. Now if you were randomly putting in materials in your house, you might put in the sheetrock before realizing you needed the wiring first. You might put in the floor only to find you needed the plumbing in first.
Every time you put one thing in before something else that should have gone in prior, you would be faced with either tearing the something out so you could start over, or trying to fix the problem with the existing material already there.
Basically, you would have a mess.
And that’s how many of us live—in one big life mess.
The far better way to build the house would be to install the materials in an order that made the next piece build on the one you just put in. So you dig the trenches for the pipes before you put the foundation in, and you put the foundation in before you put the walls up.
That’s how we will be looking at the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, not just as random building blocks but as blocks that God has designed to work together in a divine order that actually makes sense. So think of the first one (knowledge) as laying a foundation and the next one (understanding) being the walls that stand on that foundation, and so forth.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2010