Well, I feel like I need to welcome myself back to our series on the Holy Spirit and using spiritual gifts in ministry. If you missed my Instagram post or are not on social media, I was very sick last week…like, so sick that I ended up in the ER. Not a fun way to spend the weekend, but thankfully I am on the mend, feeling so much better, and nearly stir crazy to get back to this study with you all! Thank you to everyone who prayed for me and for all of your patience with my radio silence last week. Ok, here we go!
Just to recap really quickly, we’ve taken a little turn in our Holy Spirit series to focus in on the spiritual gifts with a bit of a new (to me at least) way to categorize the gifts in hopes of helping us all to better understand their individual functions. In my last post, I briefly listed the three categories, and spent the majority of the post focusing in on one category in particular: Motivational Gifts. If you missed it, you can read it here.
This week, we’ll move onto the second category: Ministry Gifts. I love the way that my resource defines this category:
“How God works with what a believer does to serve and meet the needs of others.” (Understanding Spiritual Gifts)
In other words, Ministry Gifts are “the tools God uses to build up the Church.” (Understanding Spiritual Gifts) The gifts that fall under this category would be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. We read about these particular gifts in Ephesians 4:11-13 and also in I Corinthians 12:27-31. These gifts are very practical in nature and given for the building up and edifying of the body of Christ.
Each of these categories are fairly simple to understand once they are broken down, but what I really want to focus on as we look at each one of them is this:
What is the take away?
When you look at the list of gifts within this category in particular, there is a common thread or similarity that connects them all. Spiritual gifts in ministry are public gifts. Most, if not all, of these spiritual gifts come with some form of a platform…a lime light…a following. Whether any of these gifts are the ministry gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to you or not, each and every one of us carries a weight of responsibility when it comes to these specific gifts, and it’s this: Test the fruit.
What do I mean by that?
While many who possess spiritual gifts in ministry use them with great humility while fully surrendered to the Lord, there is unfortunately a lust of the flesh that resides within us all that desires this type of recognition and exposure for personal gain. Translation: Not every pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, or apostle stands on a platform with a pure heart. Too many are after self-promotion far more than they are after Christ-promotion.
Test the fruit.
We are responsible to test everything and to hold everything up against the authority of the Word of God. THE Word trumps man’s word every time, and if we don’t know the difference between God’s inspired Word and man’s eloquent words, we may find ourselves in a dangerous situation, following perhaps a wolf rather than a shepherd.
Test the fruit.
Test the fruit of their lives. Know and love the Word of God more than you ever love the words of any particular person who ministers to you. Is discernment not one of your spiritual gifts? Ask God to increase it in you. Do you have one or more of these Ministry Gifts? Ask the Lord to purify your heart and to purify your motives DAILY. Ask Him to keep you humble. After all, every gift He has given us is first and foremost for His glory, and second for the building up of His Church.