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Monday, March 10, 2014

Can a Spiritual Gift Be Neglected?

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV)
6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,  7  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 

Timothy had a spiritual gift that was going unused. Paul reminded him to fan it back into flame or rekindle the use of it. An unused gift is a useless gift. No Christian is forced into using his spiritual gift(s). He can continue to function in his own power.

A spiritual gift appears to bring attention to the person using that gift. While that can certainly happen it is not the best use of the gift. Many people are afraid to use their spiritual gift because they know that they do not have the natural ability to accomplish that gift. For example, a person may be given the gift of prophecy even though he is a naturally shy person. The use of the gift means he must say things to others that they might not want to hear. He may be called upon to point out a sin or the lack of spiritual direction in others' lives. The naturally shy person may feel fear in using his gift. That fear did not come from God. The gift came from God. It must be used. Fear should not get in the way of using a spiritual gift.

The motivation for using the spiritual gift is one of power, love and self-control. The spiritual gift has powerful results. It changes people and situations. My spiritual gift is teaching. I find that God changes people when I allow Him to use me with my spiritual gift. I am always amazed since I do not give the slickest delivery. I will never be a famous preacher and be on tv. I can't deliver the messages in such a way to turn phrases and catch the attention of people I simply teach God's word to the people and God powerfully changes them.

A spiritual gift should be used in love. God loves you so much that He includes you in His plan. He uses you to change others lives because He loves them. He draws people to Himself through these spiritual gifts. We love others by using our spiritual gifts. We use our spiritual gifts because we love others.

And yet, the spiritual gift is one of self-control. It is very easy to think that you can take your spiritual gift and use it for your own glory. That is the danger of seeing God doing something powerful and hearing others give you praise for the use of your gift. The natural flesh is tempted to take credit for the spiritual gift. The natural flesh loves the attention the gift provides. So, we have to use self-control if we are using the gift in a God glorifying manner.

This is not the first time Paul has reminded Timothy to use his spiritual gift.

1 Timothy 4:14 (ESV)
14  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

He had received it when the elders had laid their hands on him. These elders believed in Timothy as Paul believed in him. They did not give him the gift but God used the occasion of their laying hands on him to give this gift. They evidently observed the gift as Paul had. This gift confirmed Timothy's call to his ministry. it is obvious that he was to use this gift.

A spiritual gift can be neglected. It may be done so because of fear of others or a fear within oneself. It may go unused because one does not realize that the power in the gift does not come from the power within the person with the gift. It may go unused because there is a love problem within the one with the gift. It may go unused because the person tries to mimic the gift rather than use it with self-control.

I find that many Christians either do not know or use their spiritual gifts. They act as if the professional ministers (those paid by the church) are the only ones who have or should use spiritual gifts. However, I am sure that every person who is a true believe in Christ has at least one spiritual gift. I believe that every Christian has a responsibility to find out what that gift(s) is and use it (them).

So, you too fan the flame of the spiritual gift God has given you.


Anthony Chia said...

When I read the title of this entry, I was very eager to read what you have to say, yet I also kind of set it aside for a good time to read it, because it is a topic close to my heart, and it could reveal more of who you are, Ps Prentis, to me. I thank God that I have come to read and follow your blog. I once said, in one of the comments here, we share a fellowship through our sharing of walk in the light with one another and with God, and we share a fellowship, though NOT in a physical kind of way, through our interaction on your blog. I can’t really tell why I did and continue to do what I do here, on your blog. You can imagine the amount of time and energy that goes into my comments here (no less than that I devote to my own blogsite), but I believe it is a Spirit-led endeavour, which I do NOT find burdensome nor do I feel (and it is strange, isn’t it?) my comments must necessarily be read by many (how many really read my comments I really don’t know). Logically, one could consider better use of time and energy for greater impact endeavour [there again, what is greater; impact few is NOT greater, impact many, necessarily is?], but somehow, I don’t have the conviction to stop and use the time and energy for something else (NOT that I have no other things [many really] to do). Perhaps, it is a combination of blessings to a combination of individuals that the Spirit is doing through these exchanges here; and blessing includes much blessing to myself. After so much interaction here, I get to know you, and do want to know you more through your writings; and one area is this area of gifts.

I have wondered what gifts you operate in, and I read here, teaching. On the mega scope, these portions of the Scripture have texts about gifts: 1 Cor 12, Rom 12, Eph 4 and 1 Pet 4. There are overlaps, and argument can be put up to say the lists there are NOT necessarily exhaustive. But most of the time when I refer to the (9) supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, I am referring to the list of 1 Cor 12.

There is a uniqueness of the gifts of that 1 Cor 12 list. They stand out as supernatural, NOT in the sense that they are given by God since all of the good gifts are given by God, and this point was said even elsewhere, independent of these specific gift texts mentioned here (1 James 1:17, for example) They are supernatural in the sense that in the natural, there is NOT such. For example, for the gift of healing, unless God comes through with the healing, no healing takes place. I move in the gift of healing (albeit NOT that strongly), but naturally I can’t heal people. It is crazy to think I can heal people (by just praying), even though people get healed; it is God who healed them; and in that sense, it is supernatural.

Areas like teaching (NOT saying it cannot be of a gift nature), when one instructs or teaches, it can be the people (maybe, some of the people) can receive in, the teaching, even though it may NOT be the Lord instructing through you, in the same sense as He is healing through me. When the Lord does NOT heal, the person does NOT get healed, but when the Lord does NOT instruct, the person nonetheless instruct, the listener(s) may still catch what is being taught. In other words, teaching (verbally or through writing) can be in the natural or in the supernatural or both in combination, but healing (by prayer) can only be in the supernatural. It comes back to the theme of, whether the one doing it, is doing IN THE LORD or SOLELY IN HIS OWN STRENGTH.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

I know people do say, but you choose teaching and healing to contrast, how about such others from the 1 Cor 12 list of say, words of knowledge or prophecy or even words of wisdom? I put it this way, if you are NOT doing such (words of knowledge/prophecy or words of wisdom) in the supernatural or in fact, in the Lord, you are faking it! Many people, even “highly qualified” people, teach but they are NOT gifted in teaching, but I don’t think we say they are faking it. But words of knowledge, prophecy or wisdom, if you received them NOT (from God), but you give them out as you did receive them, you are faking them. Such faking will sooner or later be found out to exactly that, when done often enough. The strong persuasion of the gifts of 1 Cor 12 is that it is the Lord through His Spirit, solely is effecting prowess of the gift as the person exercises the gift.

But I can find no fault of what you have said in your entry. In fact, I can say, amen, all the way through, even on the point of it, implied by you in “It may go unused because one does not realize that the power in the gift does not come from the power within the person with the gift.”, that the power in or efficacy of the gift does NOT come from the person (in the natural). In other words, for such gifts as the gift of teaching and other gifts outside of the list of 1 Cor 12, one could be exercising a gift, and another doing the same is NOT; and the exhortation is to know you have a special gifting in the particular area, and to do it recognising it as such, and doing it led by the Spirit. Why this exhortation? Because if you have it as a gifting, you are to be exercising it regularly; there is a purpose for you to be gifted as such.

Of course, it is possible to argue, when we throw it open, every time the Spirit of God comes in, into your act, and work with you, what you do, it becomes a gift from God for the occasion, even though you NOT exercising a gifting as such. But the way of God is such - while He can use any cup, He can still choose to scoop off particular cups for use (this was one of my visions, in a past church service, where the Lord showed a hand scooping up particular cups [representing persons] for use); meaning He may choose particular persons to function through.

Before I end, I want to talk, very briefly, moving God (as opposed to insisting or arm-twisting God) and irrevocability of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can desire certain gifts from God (and ask for them), and so, we can move God, but that is as far as we can go (God does, under certain scenario, allow Himself to be moved by us), we cannot insist or arm-twist God to give particular gifts. I am joining Paul to exhort desiring the gifts of the Spirit.

I know people can argue against what I say, from Phil 2:13 that it was God who works in us to desire and will that which will go towards accomplishing His purposes; still it is we have to want to be led by the Spirit and so, follow such desire of the Spirit, and NOT be following after the (antagonising) desires of the sinful nature/flesh/Iniquity.

I am NOT saying you can work for it and God has to give it to you. But you got to strongly desire it. Do you strongly desire after something and do nothing about it! “Brother Anthony, God sees my heart-what!” Please, why do we find this, in Scripture: “Show me your faith, and I will show you mine, by what I do”. It is still the heart, but the works reflected the true state of the heart! Please, please, don’t listen to heretic teachers who keep drumming into believers that they should NOT be doing anything, NOT to effort, and NOT to try to move God; they are WRONG. Again I repeat, it is still NOT the works, it is the works reflected the true state of the heart.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

Now about the irrevocability of the gifts of the Spirit, I actually have written an article on this on my blog (the way to find an article of mine is always to put in the Google Search some relevant key words, and include my name, Anthony Chia or high.expressions or both). When God gives, God does so without regret or without repentance. So, when God has given you a gift of healing and you exercise it, and someone’s long-short legs were made of the same length; and that’s a healing and a miracle; and through my hands, twice it has happened; God did it, NOT me), God does NOT now go back and undo what the gift had done (to unheal or undo the miracle), but He can stop operating the gift through you; He can scoop up the cups, and He can put anyone of them down, back onto the table (using the terminology of the vision I had, which I described above). Anyone can be used of God to work a particular blessing, like healing, etc., but the one who moves in the supernatural on a regular basis, has God’s rubber stamp of approval on Him, and God does care who would carry His name, for moving in the supernatural is a God-thing, and you represent God! You got to watch your life!

And so, even as Paul exhorted Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God given him at the occasion of laying on, of hands by the elders, Paul in his epistles to Timothy, instructed him, Timothy, to watch his life, especially NOT to be ensnared by false teachings. You see, false teachings lead to people to living NOT according to the prescription of God, and worse still, the deceived ones may NOT even realise it.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

I do indeed know the time you must spend in commenting on this blog. I appreciate it too. I have said and continue to believe that your comments are very often more significant than this blog. I also read yours at times but do not comment because I can't find anything significant that I can add. We do have a fellowship that exceeds distance and physical contact.