Believer, you have at least one spiritual gift, and you were given it for a reason. Verses 7-10 read,
“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
When Jesus ascended to Heaven after His earthly life and resurrection, He gave believers the gift of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:4-7 Jesus told the disciples about Him.
“But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
Earlier Jesus spoke to the disciples about The Holy Spirit as well. John 14:15-20 reads,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
Because of Jesus’ grace, He gave you the Comforter. But only followers of Jesus can receive Him. Jesus told His followers that they knew Him. How could they know Him, if He wasn’t there yet? Because He, Jesus was with them and they knew Him. Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all One. They are God, the same perfectly unified God.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, the Holy Spirit descended to fill Christians. He brought gifts as well. He not only filled us with His inexhaustible power, His magnificent glory, and His vast wisdom, but He also brought with Him spiritual gifts and gave each of us at least one.
Verse 11 reads,
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,”
There are lists of gifts found in several passages of Scripture including here, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Romans 12:5-8, and 1 Peter 4:10-11. These are not the only places they are mentioned but they give us a list of about 16 gifts (what I gleaned and I know I missed some. I highly recommend you find out what your gift is and that you use it.
Finding out what your gift is gives you more confidence in using it and makes you want to use it more. We were given these gifts for a reason. Several, in fact. We are not meant to sit and waste them. 1 Peter 4:10 says we are to be good stewards of the gifts, meaning we are to use them. 1 Corinthians 12:7 calls the spiritual gifts manifestations of the Spirit. They are the demonstration of God in us.
Why are we given these great gifts? What are we supposed to do with them? Ephesians 4 verses 12-14 tell us,
“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
God equips us, He prepares us for the work of ministry. Yes, you are expected to and are capable to do the work of ministry. He also gives us the tools for building up the body of Christ. That means using our gifts for the benefit of our fellow believers as we all grow closer to God. We continue maturing together, becoming more faithful, more discerning and more loving, in other words, more like Christ until we are completely like Him. When will we have reached the measure of the fullness of Christ? Does it usually take two weeks, two years, or twenty years? We will reach fullness or completion on the Day when we reach New Jerusalem and enjoy eternity with Christ. We will be transformed in a moment and finally we will be perfected.
But we strive for it now. We don’t want to live life like the world chasing every new idea and taking up this doctrine or that creed, and then dropping it for the next wise sounding guru. We are founded on Christ. He never changes. He has stayed the same forever.
Our gifts help us to mature and become more Christ like because they are the expression and materialization of God in us. The Holy Spirit is not a good feeling. He is God. He is not a powerful high. He is God. He dwells within us. He works in us and changes us, and He makes it possible for us to join Him in the ministry of reconciliation and bring the lost to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
If we are all more like Christ and we have common goals then we are joined together in our work and in our mindset. Verses 15-16 read,
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
We are joined or fused together. We are integrated. We are armed with our spiritual gifts and with The Spirit Himself. So that we will continue to grow closer, more mature, more loving, and even more united.
The Spirit allows us to speak to each other the truth in love. We can be transparent, completely honest with each other because of the love in us and for each other. We don’t have to be defensive because there is no condemnation in Christ. (Romans 8:1). We don’t have to be prideful because His is a spirit of humility and gentleness. (Matthew 11:29). That allows us to work together, not with one trying to be more important than another or one trying to get more glory than another, but together as one body. The only thing we are supposed to outdo each other in is loving and honoring each other. (Romans 12:10).