CLCSB 2022 Fasting & Prayer Devotion
Day 4: Differing Gifts
We’ve come to the halfway point of our time of fasting and prayer. As we move on to Day 4, we shift our focus to some of the various gifts that God has given us throughout the body of Christ. In Romans 12:6-8, the Apostle Paul unveils some of these gifts and how God uses them to fulfill His will and purpose in the earth.
Every person on earth is born with gifts from the Lord. Some are natural gifts, and some are spiritual gifts. As we read in the earlier verses of Romans 12, God makes His faith and grace available to us to help us utilize these gifts.
A major factor in how God uses our gifts is whether or not we have given our lives to Jesus Christ. God more readily employs the use of our gifts by the power of the Holy Spirit, which only dwells within us when we belong to Him through salvation.
Once we have given our lives to the Lord, the Holy Spirit has greater ease of access to our gifts and can direct them as He desires. Yet, even as believers in Christ, we still need to make the choice to come into agreement with the Holy Spirit in order for His will to be done.
In Romans 12:6-8, we discover some of the various ways in which God has gifted us and how the Spirit of God creatively moves through these gifts to accomplish what He sets out to do. Here is how the passage reads from the New King James Version:
Romans 12:6-8 NKJV
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
There’s a sense of urgency here that Paul uses to stir up believers to utilize the gifts that God has given us. He attaches a slight bit of instruction to each gift regarding how to use each of these specified gifts and once again assures us that God’s grace is made available to us to effectively use them.
His intention seems to be helping us to focus on pouring our all into using these gifts for the purpose God has given them to us. His message is straightforward asserting that if we are gifted a certain way, let’s make sure we’re functioning that way with all our might for the glory of God.
It’s important to realize that this is not an exhaustive list of God’s gifts. There are other gifts mentioned in the Bible, such as gifts of help and gifts of administration (1 Corinthians 12:28). In either case, because our gifts can differ so greatly, we must be careful not to use our gifts to try to outperform each other. Neither can we afford to enviously compare our gifts to one another.
The purpose of our gifts is to work together to execute God’s will and to accomplish His purpose. They are not meant to be used for selfish motives or vain endeavors. God is greatly glorified when we use our gifts by the direction of His Holy Spirit. Subsequently, we bring forth positive results that bear witness to God’s goodness as we yield our gifts to work together at His command.
Many scholars that have studied the various gifts of God (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) have discovered that they are often paired with certain personality types. This is not a foolproof assessment of God’s gifts, but certain gifts have often been associated with certain personality types.
This is important to realize because when we factor personalities into the mix of working with other people’s gifts to achieve God’s mission, there can often be conflict between individuals, and sometimes even between groups of believers.
As personalities become a part of the equation, so do personal preferences. What one person with certain gifts or a personality type may enjoy might be aggravating to someone else with a different gift set or personality traits.
This can show up in many ways. Preferences of worship styles is a good example of how people in the same Christian circles can sometimes clash with each other. Some people may enjoy a more exuberant lively worship service, while others enjoy a more tame and subdued style of worship.
People with different gifts, personalities, and preferences can also clash over priorities. To some, prayer is imperative to incorporate in every service. In fact, some may feel the need for services exclusively devoted to prayer. Others may feel this same conviction concerning praise and worship, while some may have the same emphasis towards prophetic or deliverance meetings.
In such cases, learning to yield to the Holy Spirit helps us to know when it’s time to step up with our gift or when it’s time to let someone else take the lead. Think of the Holy Spirit the way some of us remember old school talk show hosts, like Phil Donahue or even Oprah in her beginning years.
While interviewing guest stars or experts in a particular field, they would walk through the audience asking them questions or allow the audience members to ask questions of their guests. Whoever the host pointed the microphone at was the person whose turn it was to speak. Anyone else trying to speak at that time would be considered rude or disruptive and would be a hindrance to any progress.
The same thing happens when the Holy Spirit selects someone to exercise their gift. When He “points the mic” at a certain individual or group, that means it’s their turn to perform however the Lord has instructed them. We cannot afford to become envious and try to outshine the one God is using at that time. It would be equally as rude and disruptive, and nothing would be accomplished.
As you may have noticed throughout each of these devotions, humility and servitude are of the utmost importance to allow the Holy Spirit to move freely in our gifts. Our minds need to be renewed in this area so that we can remember that God uses anyone that makes themselves available to Him.
God is not a respecter of person. He will work with anyone in their gift that simply says yes to His will. Our focus needs to be on yielding our gifts to work together to bring about what God desires.
Operating in this level of unity is a constant challenge for all of us. What helps us to overcome this challenge is to remember the simple rule that it’s not about us, it’s about God. He works through whom He desires to accomplish His will. We are not forgotten, left out, or of less importance just because God is working through someone else’s gift.
What’s important is that when God calls us forward, we do all that He has instructed us to do and do it heartily unto Him. Then, when it’s someone else’s turn to function in their gift, we graciously and humbly receive what God is doing through them. In either case, we greatly glorify God. God is just as pleased with our passionate obedience as He is with our humility in yielding.
Day 4 Fasting Item: Social Media
Daily Bible Reading: John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
If a branch remains or abides attached to the vine in such a way that it is receiving all that the branch has to give, then that is a picture of what John means by believing or trusting Jesus. Believing is an attachment to — a coming to — Jesus, and a receiving from Jesus. It is trusting in Jesus, remaining in fellowship with Jesus, connecting to Jesus so that all that God is for us in him is flowing like a life-giving sap into our lives. That’s number one: abiding is believing, trusting, savoring, resting, receiving. Write your reflections.