But on Sunday morning a man came up to the table with that request and when I explained that it would not be happening, I said, “Listen, I do know what he would say though. You do not need him to pray for you. You have the same Holy Spirit he has, you have the same access to the throne that he has. You can pray for you and I can pray for you. We have the same Holy Spirit.”
Joy spread across this man’s face as he realized this profound truth. He was so excited, that he had me pray with him over the issue he wanted the famous speaker to pray for. I realize that so many of us forget that it is God who indwells us. We think someone else’s prayers, touch, or anointing is so much more powerful than ours, but it is not so.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t indwell some in a bigger way than He indwells others. Jesus doesn’t give more access to the throne than He gives to others. You and I have the same Lord and we can live as powerfully as we see the few live. You do not have to wait to see your pastor for prayer for healing. You do not have to wait in line to hear a word of prophecy. You need only turn to the Lord, ask the Father. It is the same Father in you, the same Christ in you, the same Spirit in you. You have permission to boldly and confidently approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
We need all of us. The body needs you to be all you were made to be. What is the church missing out on, while you assume that you do not have the power to pray, to prophesy, to heal, to have mercy, to love others as Jesus loved you? Beloved, you are a necessary part of the body and you have the ability to live the powerful life that the famous preachers, speakers, and evangelists live. You have the power to live the powerful life that your brothers and sisters in Christ are living. 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 says,
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
The gifts you bring to the table are given by The Holy Spirit and He wants you to use them. Why are some people so much stronger in giftings than others? It is not because they have a special power, it is because they use it more, they exercise their faith by using their gifts and their faith increases. As faith increases so does your ability to use your gift.
If you have mercy but you do not have the faith to exercise it and love someone beyond their sinfulness, then what good is that little bit of mercy that gives you pity for him. Exercising mercy means putting it in action. Showing mercy instead of just feeling merciful, grows your faith as you see God work and grows your mercy in turn.
If you have the gift of healing but do not have the faith to exercise it, then that gift sits unused and small. The more you exercise your gifts, the bigger your faith grows and the bigger your gifting. Your gifts are apportioned by grace, they are distributed in proportion to your faith. The more you allow your faith to increase the more your giftings will increase.
You didn’t earn your gifts. The big names, the ones who heal a hundred people in one sitting, the ones who speak words of prophecy so exact and correct, the ones who teach so well, not one of the did anything to earn the gifts he or she received. God gave them their gifts out of grace, just like He gave you, yours out of grace. Romans 12:3-8 reads,
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
You see the gifts must be used to be effective. We were given a measure of faith by God through grace. We were given gifts by God through grace. Use your gifts, they will grow as your faith grows. Faith does not stay static it grows.
Faith grows when we hear what God is doing, when we see what God is doing, and when we participate in what God is doing. It grows when we get to know and trust more who God is. In Acts 16 the faith of the churches increased as they heard about what Paul and the other missionaries were doing, that faith increased what the churches were doing (Acts 16:1-5).
Getting to know God means listening to Him speak. Recognizing His voice means we have to know what He says. Reading the Bible, praying and taking time to listen grows your faith. Romans 10:16-17 says,
For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, He answered that it only takes a small amount of faith to do great and impossible things. Luke 17:5-6 reads,
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
What do you imagine happens to your faith when you have enough to say, “Headache go away” and it does? It grows. What do you imagine happens to you faith when you tell the headache to go and it doesn’t, so you tell it again. It grows because it is being proven. Now back to the passage from Luke. Jesus kept speaking, there was more to His answer than using faith to move mountains. Let’s keep reading Luke 17:7-10
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
You are a servant of the Lord and He expects that you will do your job and serve. He doesn’t owe you anything. He already gave it. Now, there will come a day when we are invited to come and recline with Him, but that day is not here just yet. Right now, you were not made a servant of God and a slave to Righteousness to recline in a church pew and receive bread and wine. You were made to serve, to use the gifts God gave you and serve the Bread and the Wine. Serving will increase your faith. I am not saying we earn our salvation. I am not saying we must do good works. I am saying we have already been freely given this gift and we want others to have it. I am saying we have been given this gift and our response to it is to thank God and love Him and in doing so, He increases our faith. James said, we are saved by grace through faith but faith is demonstrated by good works, by service. He even said that a person without those good works has dead faith! (James 2:14-26).
Okay, now I know that you might be saying, okay, I do not have the gift of healing, I have the gift of mercy. I do not have the gift of healing, I have the gift of service. Whatever it is you think you need someone else to pray for or someone else to serve another person for. Let’s look at how Jesus expressed the gift of mercy. In Luke 17:11-19, the passage immediately following the disciples’ request for more faith.
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus mercy was exercised by healing the lepers. There are times when your gift of mercy, service, hospitality, administration, prophecy, or whatever will be exercised through what appears to be another gift. They are all expressions of Christ’s love.
So Jesus healed ten lepers in mercy. All the lepers were healed, yet only one returned to thank Jesus. Jesus remarked that the man’s faith had made him well. Does that mean that his faith healed his leprosy? No, Jesus healed his leprosy, his faith cleansed him and forgave his sins. His faith exercised in the act of thanking the Lord made him well and increased the little. That the little mustard sized faith that it took to worship Jesus and made him whole and clean through the forgiveness of his sins.
I hope you now understand that you are expected to use your gifts and that you can grow in your faith through their use and telling others about what God is doing. But I really want you to get that you can do the same great things you see the few doing. You have the same Spirit as your pastor does, as the man whose faith you so admire, as the woman whose giftings you admire. Read Ephesians 4:1-7.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
What do you imagine is the measure of Christ’s gift? Do you think Jesus has limits to how much grace He can give each person? Do you imagine He can afford to give just a little to every person or He can afford to give as much as He wants because He is omnipotent, boundless, and rich beyond limits?
Were some given some special faith that you were not? Was Tom given a better faith than yours? We were given the same Spirit of faith. We share the same Spirit, we share the same faith! 2 Corinthians 4:13-15 reads,
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Once again, there is an action in faith. We believe and we speak. It is in the exercising of faith that grace is spread.
He gave you the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that was in Him when He walked on earth, the same Spirit that raised Lazarus from the dead, that raised the centurion’s daughter form the dead, and raised Him from the dead (Romans 8:11). He is in you!
The Holy Spirit is not some whispy feel good guide, He is God and He is Almighty! Read what Jesus had to say in John 14:12-17
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “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.”
You can do the same and greater works than Jesus through the Holy Spirit just like Todd, Tom, and Dan. What is the motive behind your desire to do the works? Is it to glorify the Father? That was Jesus’ motive (John 14:8-11) and He said it should be ours as well. Ask in Jesus’ name that the Father may be glorified in the Son not so that you will look or feel good, not so people will pay $80 to go see you, hear you, or be healed by you, but so they will hear and see Jesus and therefore hear and see the Father.
When the seventy-two disciples returned to Jesus after their missionary trip. They were dancing with joy, whooping it up, and celebrating the great works they had done in Jesus’ name. But Jesus said the bigger reason to celebrate was their salvation (Luke 10:17-20). Bringing people to Christ is the reason to dance with joy, the acts of the Holy Spirit through us should be commonplace to us. Like, “yeah, it’s awesome you can stand up out of your wheelchair, but what is even more awesome is that Jesus loves you and died for you and lives for you!”
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17).
Let Ephesians 3:11-21 encourage you.
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen