Open Your Gifts!
A daily devotion for March 15th
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men." 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Ephesians 4:7)
How is the church expected to demonstrate the power of God and thus influence society? The apostle suggests clearly that the power of the church lies in all Christians discovering and intelligently exercising the spiritual gift that was given to them when they became a member of the body of Christ. That is largely a forsaken principle today, and that is why the church is so weak. If we ever recover the strength God intended the church to exert in human society, it will be by a return to that simple thing, the exercise of each person's spiritual gift.
After all, is that not the way a physical body functions? In the body of flesh and bones, there are a variety of cells. The body operates, not by the cells getting together and voting about what is the best thing to do, but by simply doing what they individually and particularly were designed to do. It is the function of the head to correlate this and bring it all together and make it operate effectively, but each cell gives itself to the task of functioning according to its design.
The body does not operate when the cells revolt. Did you ever experience a rebellion of the muscle cells of your stomach? We call it indigestion! It means that the body is sick, and it is not operating the way it was intended to. This is the whole problem with the church today. In so many places it has forgotten it is a body and has tried to operate as another human organization; therefore, it has no more power than any other human organization at work in the world. But Paul reminds us that the secret of the operation of the church is that each Christian has a gift.
It is our responsibility to recognize and fulfill that gift. If you are a Christian, if you have new life by the Spirit of God by faith in Jesus Christ, you have a spiritual gift. The church begins to live and exercise its impact and influence upon society when you begin to exercise your gift.
Do you know what your gift is? Have you ever asked yourself this question:
What is the gift God has given to me since I am a Christian? What does He want me to do as a general area of ministry? Do you know how to recognize a gift? Do you know how to develop it once you know what it is? The impact on the church in this area is directly related to how you answer those questions. Your own joy and fulfillment as a Christian depends on how you answer those questions.
Lord thank You for the spiritual gifts you have given me. Let me not only discover them but use them to edify Your body and glorify Your Son in the power of the Spirit.
Life Application: Many Christians today are still naive on how the Body of Christ really functions which results in unhealthy churches. Have we discovered & exercised our spiritual gifting?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.