By Jaci Loween
There are intricate and beautiful threads of giftings woven together in the experiences (the easy and the hard), relationships (the easy and the hard), spiritual gifts and natural talents of each life. And the Holy Spirit can come and illuminate our minds to see why and how all we’ve been given is on purpose, for a purpose.
Last week, we investigated why it is necessary as followers of Christ to seek to understand how we are gifted in the natural and the spiritual. In addition, we saw that it takes effort and grace to receive with joy the experiences, passions, and talents given to us by our Creator King. Today, I’d like to focus on using them.
When you begin investigating how to use your giftings, you can know you are on the right track if the uses you find are rooted in and supported by the words of Scripture.
These two verses are good guides:
- 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 tells us, “…our God will count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV) .
These verses points very clearly to the main reason we are charged to seek, receive, and use what we have been given. To serve others as faithful stewards of heaven’s grace. And so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in him.
The ways in which the gifts work within the lives of each believer should be as unique as the snowflakes that fall from the sky: no two alike in shape and size, yet alike in color, texture, and beauty. And it takes thousands of them to cover a landscape to make it glimmer and shine in the Son. The beauty of each flake is stunning. The beauty of the collective, gathered on winter morning to frost a field of trees as the Son comes up, breathtaking.
Corporate and individual callings are part of our destiny. Each generation, people group, and person has been uniquely created and strategically located to fulfill a calling in the time and the place they were set in. In 2 Timothy 1:9 it says, “not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
Before time began, God had you designed to be who you are, where you are, and doing what you are doing. These details of our life are gifts. These giftings come from a good and amazing Giver. They don’t stand alone under a tree. They are not mysterious packages from an unknown sender. But they do need to be found, unwrapped, examined, and turned over to the power of the Spirit in order to be used effectively.
So before you begin navigating the gifts and examining the ways in which they can be used (or if you are struggling to see the gifts given to you), stop and seek the Giver. Believe and state as truth that you are gifted for a unique assignment. Deliberately stop and remind your soul that your calling and giftings were set into motion before time and nothing can separate you from them. Ask him to be present as you seek what he has already given you as presents. Receive them with joy, thanksgiving, and a determination to use them for the common good.
By choosing to receive and then acting upon your gifts, you will very likely bring encouragement to the Body, and begin to see ways in which your current life, right where you are right now, is meant to bring someone out of darkness and into light.
Persist in unwrapping these gifts. Yes, persistence and perseverance will likely be required. Not because God is a tricky jokester who wraps a gift 17 times just to make it hard to find the gem inside. But because we are in a fallen world and the Devil would love nothing more than to stress you out as you seek to know who you are, whose you are and how you are designed beautifully and uniquely to bring Jesus to people with the gifts you have been given.
But he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Navigate this process as a journey toward drawing closer to the one who created you, called you, and gifted you for this time and place. Keep in mind that your strengths and weaknesses can help you know how to display God in your portion of the world.
Caution [Warning Label]: Discernment required.
Discernment is found in close proximity of God, studying his words, and the revealing power of the Holy Spirit. Only in close relationship with Christ do we see the truest versions of ourselves. He delights in revealing to us our unique talents and assignments to go into all the World sharing the good news of a Christ who saves, restores, redeems, and brings hope and peace. But don’t do it on your own. Invite others to the party: The Holy Spirit, your spouse, dear friends and mentors, church leadership. These other voices and perspectives can help to illuminate vision and understanding. To discern and hold on to what is good.
So, as you go and see the gifts he is asking you to unwrap, trust that even if you can’t see them right away, they are there. Seek him. Ask him to reveal his gifts and purposes for you and to you. He knows them, already. They are given to you already. There is freedom in being in his holy presence and trusting that he reveals. Rest there for a bit, knowing that you have a tailor-made set of gifts (experiences, talents, burdens, places, relationships…) set aside just for you to be able to put love into action and lead well. But don’t stay there. Move to action using your gifts.
As you go about your day, I pray you are filled with courage, tenacity, and the Holy Spirit’s power to use your gifts to reach the lost, the lonely, the broken, the robbed, or the ones currently blinded from the gift of salvation as a gift to all the world. Let’s not keep that gift to ourselves. That gift came to set the captive’s heart, soul, and mind free. Let’s go and lead others to do likewise.
“Feel the weight of the calling you have received, but not so you feel guilt. So that you feel great worth in your soul and in the work of your day.” –Jennie Allen
Jaclyn Loween is a wife, mother, and teacher who is passionate about community living, learning, writing, running, and inviting people to her table. It is her hope that her words of remembrance and reflection record a story of God’s faithfulness that will be passed to future generations.