Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. — Charles Spurgeon
I love the scene in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in which “Father Christmas” gives each of the four displaced children a mysterious gift. Though they don’t realize it at the time, these gifts will prove essential in the coming battle they are to have with the White Witch and her minions. For example, in the heat of that battle, Lucy realizes that her gift, a healing ointment, has been given to her to bind up the wounded in battle. Peter realizes his sword has been given to lead an assault on the White Witch. In those moments they perceived what Aslan (the lion representing Jesus) wanted from them in the battle by looking at their gifts.
In the same way, we come to know more about what God wants from us by reflecting on the gifts he has given to us. Do you know your specific spiritual giftings? Knowing these is essential, you see, to understanding what the Spirit wants from your life. I would go so far as to say that you cannot really walk with the Spirit until you are familiar with the gifts he has sovereignly given you for service in his kingdom.
“All Believers Are Anointed”
“Anointed” is a word Christians throw around to mean a person has a special endowment of the Holy Spirit’s power. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians, however, that this “anointing” does not belong to a sacred few, but is the birthright of every believer.1 If you have the Spirit of God, you are “anointed.”
God’s Spirit bestows upon each believer pneumatika (1 Cor. 12:1 – 4; 14:1). We typically translate that word as “spiritual gifts,” but it literally means “spirituals.” It’s kind of a weird word, implying something like a “spiritual manifestation” or a “spiritual experience.” (It doesn’t translate well into English.) God gives to us, and to others through us, experiences with the Spirit through the pneumatika he distributes to each of us. Through these pneumatika the Spirit himself touches people, cares for them, ministers to them, and speaks to them.
Paul captures this in his analogy of the church as a body. In my body, my head works through each of my members to accomplish its desires. If my brain wants to alleviate an itch in my left elbow, it doesn’t send down a magic bolt of brainpower to my left elbow for relief. Rather, it sends a message to the fingers on my right hand: “Hey, your brother, ‘left elbow,’ itches. Go and take care of that.” Does the fact that my fingers do the work lessen the fact that it is my brain’s will being expressed? Of course not. My brain works through my fingers. Apart from the brain, the fingers can’t do anything. In feeling the touch of my fingers, my elbow is experiencing the will of my mind.
In the same way, God works on earth through his body, the church. He empowers his church as his voice, his heart, and his hands. We don’t work for him as much as he works through us. Christ is the “head” of his body, literally acting through his members to do his work.
If you are a believer, you have pneumatika. In Romans 12:6 Paul calls them “grace gifts” (charismata) and says God has placed a few specific ones in your heart for his purposes. Through them, God himself works through you. So you can know more about what God wants from you, specifically, by getting to know your gift(s).
J. D. Greear, Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit inside You Is Better than Jesus beside You(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014).
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