Spiritual gifts empower me to love well. Like all things in the Kingdom, Spiritual gifts function best with a core value and view of family. Spiritual gifts are given so that we learn of God’s hope filled love for others. When spiritual gifts are used properly, they enable us to serve with increasing passion and power. In my practice and use of spiritual gifts I have adopted no other view but that to love well. I do not use spiritual gifts to self promote or seek people’s affirmation. Through the gifts I have learned much about the Love Jesus has for people.
Recently I was in Ukraine. Some friends and I ended up in a small poor village where we met with some local leaders from the Church and Youth for Christ ministry. The Church and YFC ministry there cared for a number of children with special needs. Currently the Ukrainian government does not offer assistance children with special needs leaving the church with the incredible privilege to care for youth at risk. I was asked to speak to the parents of theses amazing children. Upon entering the room where the parents had gathered I noticed one parent right away and in kindness, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “This person has pain in their lower back on the left side. Often The pain travels down their leg.”
This is what the Bible calls a ‘word of knowledge’ (1 Corinthians 12:8). The Holy Spirit gave me the gift of knowing something about this parent in order to express His love to them. This gift doesn’t make me spiritual nor does it affirm my faith, Jesus does that. The gift is from the Spirit whom abides in us when we, by the cross and resurrection of Jesus have come into loving union with the Father.
I asked the parent about this pain and they affirmed that they did in fact have the pain matching the description the Holy Spirit had told me about. Further more, the pain this parent was experiencing was caused by lifting their son with special needs. My friends and I prayed for this parent through language barriers and that day they encountered Jesus! Later the local leaders told me that this parent is usually very skeptical about Jesus but today, they had received prayer and now know that Jesus is real! WOW!
As I reflect on what happened that day, I am overcome with deep emotion. On that day I was tempted to despair when confronted with the poverty and hopelessness I saw. On the day I met poverty and hopelessness…I also met Jesus whom through the power of His Spirit who had not given up hope and on loving a Ukrainian parent and village by calling them to Himself. The Holy Spirit through a spiritual gift had revealed to me His love and attention towards an individual. Through a spiritual gift, God had enabled me to express His love despite cultural and language barriers! YAY!
My view of spiritual gifts have changed throughout my walk with the Lord. In many circles and denominations we debate gifts, we fear them or we glory in them. I full heartedly believe in the operation of all the gifts today. From healing and prophecy to helps and mercy I am for and seek to empower others in the biblical parameters and use of spiritual gifts. Still and like Paul, I want to propose a better way, love. Paul said this, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). I desire gifts that I may, without fear and bubbling with hope, love deeper.
Lastly, I think the use of spiritual gifts in our ministries and culture teach us about the Kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit. They teach us how God thinks by revealing what He thinks and they express that the Kingdom of Heaven “is at hand” (Matthew 10:7-8). This means the Kingdom is as close as your hand, its here and remains. Gifts demonstrate the tangible, superior realities of the Kingdom of Heaven. In my experience, people who know truth in Christ and function with spiritual gifts often display a greater maturity and prowess in their service in the Lord.
I would encourage you in your life and ministry, desire spiritual gifts.
The picture above is from Kosice, Slovakia, in which friends of mine prayed for a man in pain and the pain in His body and instantly left. They then paid for His bus ticket to express the great love Jesus has for him.