Last week, we started looking at Spiritual Gifts in order to understand what they are, why we need to know how they work in our own lives and how they actually add flavour to the Christian walk.
In this last post, I wanted to touch briefly on two things: Ministry gifts and The gift traps.
You can view this as Step 3 continuing from Part 2 and the context for this is borrowed from two different chunks of scripture:
- Five-fold ministry: “Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 8, 11 and 12 NKJV)
- Other ministry varieties: “So God has appointed and placed in the church [for His own use]: first apostles [chosen by Christ], second prophets [those who foretell the future, those who speak a new message from God to the people], third teachers, then those who work miracles, then those with the gifts of healings, the helpers, the administrators, and speakers in various kinds of [unknown] tongues.” (1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 28 AMP)
The difference between these gifts and the ones mentioned in Part 2 are that they give some structure or template if you may, for leadership or guidance within the Body of Christ, particularly the five-fold ministry. People who have been called into these ministry offices are in themselves gifts from God to the body of Christ – they are not chosen by man but by God alone. And it goes without saying that the responsibility of this office is not in the title because God does not reward titles, He rewards faithfulness.
With other ministry varieties , you would note that in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 it also mentions three of the five-fold ministry as well as these other ministry varieties – these “others” are considered as more of a supportive role for the five-folders but they are offices in their own right even if they are not as obvious.
If anyone who strongly believes they have a call from God to take up any ministerial office, continue to seek His face for guidance and also bear in mind that God is not rigid in the sense that for example if you feel He wants to use you as a prophet, it doesn’t mean He can’t also use you as a teacher or evangelist. Just don’t run ahead of yourself and God and call yourself what you are definitively not. And definitely seek counsel and spiritual guidance as well.As usual, if you’d like a clearer breakdown of what these different ministries entail in terms of actual responsibility, Kenneth Hagin wrote extensively on it here.
As far as God has revealed to me in my 25 years of living I am not called to any ministry office specifically but if He so decides to call me to any one or more of them, I can only pray for the grace to accept the call.
The gift traps
So now that we’ve looked through the the various operations and workings and varieties of gifts, I want to shift our attention quickly to the traps that come with having spiritual gifts especially in terms of the motivational gifts and manifestations of the Spirit briefly touched on in Part 2. These traps exist simply because we are human, we always have our flesh to contend with and Satan will never stop trying to distract from being a blessing in ways that make us ineffective. According to Author and Pastor Erik Rees, these traps are:
- Trap #1 – Comparison: This one is a natural bent for me. I always have to check myself when discussing God, Jesus, Bible etc with others because I tend to err on the edge of thinking I’m doing better than them in this God-life and that’s just a prideful spirit. Comparison can also cause one to belittle their gifts because they think it’s not as important as the gifts of those who have more visible gifts and/or manifestations of the Spirit. Sometimes I get really worked up that I am not an “evangelist” after I’ve compared myself to others who seem to have this gift or veer towards this kind of ministry and appear successful in it too! I’ve had to learn that God is using me in the capacity He has graced me to operate in and as such I should treat it with respect rather than get sucked into comparison. I am me, I am unique and my gift is used by God. I cannot afford to lose sight of the higher purpose of my gifts and that it has never and will never be about me. Erik Rees expresses right thinking on this beautifully, “there are no second-rate masterpieces in God’s gallery“.
- Trap #2 – Projection: Another one I can be found guilty of sometimes is expecting others to be good at exhibiting my gifts as well as I do, considering it may not be their gift too – that’s projection. I guess, I didn’t know this before in the sense that I didn’t know what I know about varieties of gifts and so I would assume that what came easily to me is universally easy. I still cringe a little when people tell me they struggle to read the Bible but, I even have to remind myself that, as mentioned in Part 2, it was only in 2014 when my love for reading the Bible grew after I was water baptised and was given my motivational gift by the Holy Spirit. Knowing that everyone has a gift unique to their calling has helped me embrace and celebrate others’ gifts and not project mine on them.
- Trap #3 – Rejection: This trap indicates our refusal to accept the gifts God has given us, maybe because we don’t think we’re good enough especially in comparison to other people. Insecurities creep in and we don’t believe we have the gifting God says He has given us. It could even be because someone has voiced their opinion about us with words that make us doubt ourselves further. Remember you live for an audience of 1 so if God says “you are”, then “you are”.
- Trap #4 – Deception: The opposite of Rejection would be Deception i.e. believing God has given you certain gifts when in fact He has not or interpreting manifestations of the Spirit as a primary gift when in fact it is not. The enemy can be successful in deceiving Christians as long as they do not have right knowledge. Just remain focused on God to give you clarity concerning the gifts He has bestowed on you and just be alert to the wiles of the enemy. You might find it helpful to get an accountability partner to look out of you as well.
So that wraps up our brief exploration of spiritual gifts. As a recap:
In Part 1 we talked about the difference between purpose and calling and introduced the S.H.A.P.E. acrostic to give clarity on how to uncover our calling. This was also the intro post to the Uncovering My Calling with S.H.A.P.E. series and we started with Spiritual Gifts.
In Part 2, we explored the motivational gifts and manifestations of the Spirit and how we can identify their operations in our own lives.
In this post we round it off with ministry gifts and the gifts traps that could distract us from using our gifts the right way.
I guess the last thing I’d add is EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT and EXPERIMENT SOME MORE. If you think you have a certain gift, act and live like you and seek opportunities to use them because that’s the only way you’ll know for sure and also improve in them. Don’t try to figure it out all at once either but instead let the Holy Spirit guide you at the pace He knows is right for you. And as you grow in this area, don’t forget to watch out of those gifts traps too!
I hope these posts have at least pointed you in the right direction and inspired you to seek more understanding in this area for yourself. Next up on the series is Heart – talking about causes, passions etc and how that indicates another aspect of our calling.
Please do comment and share your thoughts. I actually would really appreciate a conversation in these streets,