Spiritual Focus // SPIRITUAL GIFTS
By Trish Bliss
The #1 identifier of a Christian is LOVE. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
So what does love have to do with spiritual gifts? EVERYTHING! Yes, that was me yelling in text about spiritual gifts… In every passage where spiritual gifts are listed, there’s also an exhortation to love. We are called to love and given unique, specific ways that each of us will excel in loving others. Spiritual gifts without love are bad news, loud and clanging and ugly, because they are for the benefit of the user not the receiver. Our motive for using our spiritual gifts can only, ever be love.
I love to teach. Whether I’m teaching at church or at Chemeketa, or someone is asking my advice (that’s teaching, too) I like to ask the lord one question before I put my lesson or thought together or foot in my mouth, “what do you want to say to these people?”. Yeah, I can come up with some good lessons, and I have come up with some doozies, too. But, when I speak knowing God has given me his words to say, it’s always really, really good stuff!
I was on the phone with a friend who’s child had gotten into some household products and had to be taken to the hospital. She felt awful and was telling me all about how she was baby proofing her whole house. Instead of giving her all my 25 years of mothering tips, I asked God what he wanted her to know. Then, I got to tell her what a loving mother she is, point out her strengths and spiritual gifts. That was what she needed to hear, not a mouth full of my experiential knowledge. Here are the 3 passages where we see lists of spiritual gifts: (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4). Read through them and think about which areas you seem to be gifted in, are good at or like doing. Ask God to look into your heart and sort out any motivation other than love. Then ask if there is a “check in” question you might ask Him to help you use your gifts to show His love.