This morning, some things just kept snapping into place, something like lightbulbs going off and making very clear what I ought to believe and seek and do.
First, there is no doubt that God graciously calls his church to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts as he teaches them in his word. If we think of this corporately first, that we want all the spiritual gifts in the whole church of our community, with each of our gatherings having our place in this just as much as everyone else, we can trust God to distribute the gifts just as he said.
How do we join God’s work? By earnestly desiring the spiritual gifts, however he chooses to distribute them.
Second, it is the world, the flesh, and the devil, that keep telling God’s children nothing is working because, as long as they can keep us believing that, we will both feel and act accordingly. However, God is always at his work, always working everything for good, always carrying his work on to completion until the day of Christ, so we know the three hucksters of evil are lying to us.
How do we join God in his work? Our new hearts keep looking for his work by faith, rather than following the three hucksters of evil by sight.
Third, the biggest AHA-Moment so far was the clarification that, if we want the experience of recognizing that “God is really among you” as Paul talks about, we need to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” as they are described in God’s word.
In other words, instead of doing nothing until we “see” God doing something (what the three hucksters of evil want us to think), we are to take God’s teaching about spiritual gifts to heart, handle the gifts by faith, and, in faith, earnestly desire them until we see them working among us. When we are a church that expresses itself in spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, then everyone will see the evidence of the work God has been doing the whole time, just waiting for us (his body) to do what he has been directing us to do.
One of the problems in getting Christians to trust God and seek spiritual gifts is kind of like this: we who are the body want the right to do nothing while we look at our head (Jesus) to prove he is doing something. However, Jesus is speaking to us as his body to do the things he is thinking of doing, but cannot do until his body parts will respond to the impulses he is sending down to us from our head. However, we are telling our head that we won’t do the things he is speaking to us about until we see him doing something.
I hope you see the hopeless delusion of the parts of Jesus’ body refusing to do what they are told until they see him doing something, since his doing something invariably requires us to do what he is doing since we are the parts of his body through which he is working. We will see HIM doing something when WE do what he is directing us to do.
How do we then join God in his work? We first accept everything he teaches about spiritual gifts as his good, acceptable, and perfect will, and then we join his work by faith, earnestly desiring the spiritual gifts, knowing that when he distributes the spiritual gifts as he wills, and we start using them as he directs, it will be evident that God is among us.
Today, we must repent of any ways in which we are telling God we have a right to do nothing until he shows us by sight that he is doing something. God speaks through his words, he shows us what he is doing right now, and, as we join him in his work, we experience him in real and personal ways.
Here is how Paul has instructed so clearly in the joining of God’s work:
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2)
God IS working something into us that requires that we will what he wills, and work what he works (just like Jesus), and our part is to agree right now to work this out with fear and trembling no matter how long it takes us to recognize spiritual gifts operating in our part of Jesus church. Because Jesus says it is his will, we first welcome his will by faith, and then put into practice whatever he says.
© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)