In this world , there are many occasions when we are called upon to show forth the power of God. The Lord has given each of us gifts to be used for His glory. Do you know your gift? The spiritual gifts God gives to every believer are complete, by which the body of Christ is supported and sustained, to carry out those functions vital to the health and ministry of the Church. With those gifts which are supernatural endowments of power, God gives to each of us not only a measure of grace to empower us for service, but a measure of faith as well. Spiritual gifts are not to be hoarded and kept only for our own benefit. They are to be used for the benefit of the body – to be given away, in service. It is only when our Lord returns, when the church is taken up into glory and fully perfected, that the need for spiritual gifts will cease.
For the proper functioning of spiritual gifts , we must cease to think individualistically and begin to think corporately. Since we have the gifts that differ according to the grace given to us (1 Corinthians 12) let each exercise them accordingly:
if prophecy – according to the proportion of his faith
if service – in his serving
or he who teaches – in his teaching
or he who exhorts – in his exhortation
he who gives – with liberality
he who leads – with diligence
he who shows mercy – with cheerfulness.
In I Peter 4 – there are two major categories of gifts mentioned
1. spoken gifts (prophecy, teaching, exhorting) with utterances of God
2. serving gifts (service – giving, leading and showing mercy) with strength which God supplies.
1 Corinthians 12: 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. – 1 Cor 12:27-31 (NKJV)
In exercising our gifts, we are not to be naturally self-centred and self-serving. Our service to God is to be self-sacrificing, with diligence and grace. Two dangers in exercise of gifts are not devoting ourselves to doing that which we are gifted to do and secondly, exercising our gifts in a way inconsistent with the grace of God which is to motivate and be manifested.
Daniel had the gift of prophecy by interpretation of dreams. When in Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and unrealistically asked his wise men to interpret his dream they could not. But God helped Daniel to interpret the dream and we shall learn how Daniel did it.
Let us follow Daniel in the exercise of his gift of God:
Daniel asked the king’s official for details. With this information in hand, he asked the king for time to meet the king’s demands. Then he asked his friends to pray with him that God would explain and reveal the mystery. It combined practical and spiritual elements, both prayer and action. Praying to God is important, but God expects you to do something to, not just dump the whole thing in his lap.
Secondly, Daniel enlisted prayer partners. Prayer partners, whether in the mission field or at home are a source of great spiritual power. Although, this is the OT, it presents a similar message to that of Jesus when he said that if two or three pray in his name, the petition will be granted. Matthew 18:19-20:
I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you. Notice in Daniel’s prayer of thanks to God his use of earlier scripture Psalm 113:2, Jeremiah 32:19, Job 12:22, Psalm 139:12. It’s good to know the Bible. You may think you’re the only one to be in a particular situation, but you’ll find that others have gone before you and have found a way out. Even though your exact situation may not be described, there is probably a prayer or a promise to help you out of whatever situation you’re in.
Daniel immediately thanked God for answering his prayer. Not after he went to the king, not a week later, but immediately. So should we.
He first thanked God and gave credit to God.
Thirdly, he took action. Notice that his first action was to protect the other wise men. He could easily have used this event to promote himself; let the other wise men be killed and then he’d be in an even stronger position of power. But he didn’t. He saved them first. You might think that they would then be grateful to him, but it was just the opposite.
Next, he goes to the king and explains all. Daniel gives credit to God for interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He says that no man could possibly do what Nebuchadnezzar asked, but God could. Do you ever take credit for what God does through you? Do not rob God of the honor that he alone deserves.
Let us be like Daniel and point people to God so that we might give Him the glory.
After Daniel was appointed a high position leader, he requested that his three companions be appointed as his assistants. He knew that he couldn’t handle everything by himself without capable assistants. A competent leader never does all the work alone.
1. Have you received God’s gift of eternal life?
If not, then the subject of spiritual gifts is but an academic exercise. If you are Christian, then you have received , along with the gift of eternal life, a special enablement to serve God through His body, the church.
2. Is your pursuit and interest in spiritual gifts one of personal ambition motivated by self-interest? Or do you, out of gratitude, wish to offer up your body to God in sacrifical service to others?
3. Have you discovered your gift and place of service?
4. How closely are you linked to a local church and to the broader body of Christ, so that your gift may benefit others and that you may draw from the strengths and gifts of others?
5. Offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice, out of gratitude for his mercies to you, study the Scriptures which not only name the spiritual gifts (above quoted are not exhaustive references) , but also describe their function, be obedient to the commands of Scripture for every vital spiritual gift there is a corresponding command to perform this function, then look for needs, and seek to meet them.
Remember, spiritual gifts are given to meet the needs of others.
Do not be selfish. Use it for His glory to bless and be a blessing.