Developing your gifts…in the dark room

Developing your gifts…in the dark room

Back in the day, before digital photography was around, there was a process that photographers had to go through before the pictures they captured with their cameras could be seen by others. A dark room was involved, and they had to develop the film in order to enjoy the images that they had captured. Crazy, right? It wasn’t instantaneous like it is today. It took time. It required patience and the correct lighting to avoid overexposure.

It was a process.

We’ve been studying the Holy Spirit, who He is, what He does, and the gifts that He gives for a few months now. It’s also been a process, and it’s taken time. Still, I feel as if we’ve only barely scratched the surface of truly knowing Him and understanding the gifts He has given us. We have only tasted all that there is to know, and my prayer is that it has truly whet your appetite for more of Him. My point?

This is a process.

Studying God’s Word takes time, and the transformation we are after in it requires a process too. As I’ve been studying the spiritual gifts along with you, there’s been one burning question in my mind that keeps stirring in me.

How do I develop my spiritual gifts? How do I grow in them?

As you’ve read and studied along with me, I hope you’ve been asking the same question. When we first come to faith in Jesus Christ, we have learned that we are given gifts. Immediately. But as we grow and mature in our faith and as we use these gifts that the Spirit gives, we strengthen those spiritual muscles. We grow in our understanding of our purpose—why God created us and what He created us for.

So, how does this development happen? How does this growth occur?

There are some obvious answers to this question—time spent in the Word of God, prioritizing and pursuing the presence of God, being found on our knees at the feet of God in prayer, fellowship with other believers…all of these deeply benefit us and profoundly impact our development and growth. There’s a common denominator here, though, that I think we miss. There’s something so key to this development and growth that perhaps isn’t even on our radar.

Development happens in the dark room, not in the limelight.

Take a moment, and just let that sink in. We live in a celebrity culture—one that worships celebrity, craves celebrity status, is obsessed with being valued and being known, consumed with the desire for recognition—and we must not think that we are immune to this idolatry as believers. We are, in fact, the Enemy’s delicious prey when it comes to this folly.

Think about it. God gives us gifts that serve, edify, build up, and benefit the Church. When we use these gifts, we become visible. We are seen and are often recognized for what we are giving. How easy is it, then, to receive the praise and claim the glory for ourselves?

Here’s the truth that the Lord keeps bringing me back to again and again, forcing me to wrestle with until my heart’s motivations are truly pure (which will be for the rest of my entire life): My gifts are developed in the quiet, secret place with Him, not on a platform with an audience. Yours are too.

I can’t help but believe that we struggle with using our gifts fully because there is mix of discontent and envy that plagues our hearts. We want the gifts that we don’t have because other gifts seem to attract more recognition. If we want to develop the gifts that the Spirit has given to us, we must learn to truly prioritize His presence—the sacred, quiet, secret place where we have an audience of One. Just Jesus. This is where He develops the gifts He’s given us. This is where He changes our hearts. This is where our minds are renewed. In the dark room.

I pray that you get with Him today, this week. Make space. Make time. Pursue His presence. And let Him develop in you the beauty of the image He captured of you before the beginning of time.

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