I have always been fascinated with superheroes. Over the past decade, I have absolutely loved everything that Marvel Studios has put out. Everything from Ironman, The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, to Antman and The Wasp. As phenomenal as these individual movies all were, they paled in comparison to when they united in the Avengers series. Each character had their own unique gift that could stand alone, but their gifts and talents were magnified when they became the Avengers team. They were able to overcome impossible obstacles that, had they faced those situations on their own, they would have been obliterated. If you have not seen the Avengers: Endgame, this may be a spoiler alert. The most powerful scene in all of the series came when the Avengers were surrounded by Thanos (the protagonist) and all of his forces. Death seemed imminent and all hope appeared to be lost when suddenly allies from galaxy and earthly region showed up to aid the Avengers.
Over the last few weeks we have been unpacking things we need to know about the Holy Spirit. We know that the Holy Spirit is not a thing, but rather a person. We know that the Holy Spirit empowers us to make changes in our lives. We learned last week that we need to be spirit-clothed with righteousness. This week we will engage with what it means to be spirit-gifted. Let me suggest 3 things we need to know about being spirit-gifted.
#1) Our Gifts are Unique
Just as the Avengers each had unique gifts, so do we as the body of Christ. No two people are made exactly the same. I encourage you, if you do not know what your gift(s) are, take this brief survey found at http://gifts.churchgrowth.org. One of the greatest spiritual tragedies, is a gift gone undeveloped. The Holy Spirit has distributed to us these gifts. It is therefore our job not only to discover those gifts, but to develop them.
#2) Our Gifts Work Together
I often use this visual representation of gears in a watch when describing the gifts of the Spirit. When the smallest gear, or what we would call the most insignificant part, fails to perform its function, the whole watch stops. The same is true for the body of Christ. Every person has to work together in order to fulfill the mission of God. Perhaps even more important to remember, is that there are no insignificant parts in the body of Christ and there are no parts that are greater than the other. 1 Corinthians 12:25b-26 says, “But that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” Our gifts reach their highest potential, only as they function within the body.
#3) The Gift or the Giver of the Gift?
We live within the paradox, which is greater the gift or the one who gives the gift? I have always wondered what happened to the disciples when they first healed someone or exercised a demon? Where they impressed with their own power or were they impressed with the one who gave them the power. In Acts 8:9-25, we are given an example through Simon the Sorcerer. When Simon saw with his own eyes that a man received the Holy Spirit by Peter and John laying their hands upon him, he wanted that same gift. However, he thought he could receive this gift through a monetary transaction, instead of receiving it through grace. Simon never fully comprehended that without the giver, there is no gift. Our gifts are to be approached with a spirit of humility. They are not to build ourselves up, but rather the Kingdom. That is why we need to thank God for the gift and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us use our gifts to further the Kingdom.
Be bold and courageous!
Tuesday Morning on the Run
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Barry Lawson