by Neil Anderson
GOD GIVES THE GIFTS
1 Corinthians 12:4, 5
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord
Perspective is the value of distance. Step back from the details of 1 Corinthians 12-14, the classic passage on spiritual gifts. What is Paul trying to say? There are a variety of spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. In the midst of this diversity, there is unity, because there is only one Spirit and one Lord. God gives the gifts as He wills. Spirit gifts and manifestations come and go and come again for the purpose of accomplishing God's will. What remains is faith
, hope and love. These are the lasting and continuous standards by which we evaluate our ministry and our lives.
Paul says, "I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). Truth is the object of our faith. If we know the truth it will set us free to grow in love with the hope of eternity before us. The church is gifted to accomplish that objective. Gifts are a means to an end, never an end in themselves. When "gifts" become an end in themselves, they fail to accomplish their purpose and become the basis for spiritual pride. Godly character is our goal, and it must take precedence over the gifts.
The overwhelming thrust of the rest of Scripture encourages us to seek God and trust Him to gift us as He sees fit for the edification of the church. "Seek not, forsake not" seems to be the balance we need. Our responsibility is to yield to the Holy Spirit. However He chooses to fill us is His responsibility.
On this Christmas Eve, let us consider the greatest gift of all: the gift of eternal life. And let us give thanks for the tremendous sacrifice of love. Jesus came that we might have life, and then He laid down His own life for us. The Peace Child was sacrificed that we may have peace with God. What could possibly make Christmas merrier?
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