Monday, September 8, 2008

You've Got It

I have a yummy cup of coffee, some piano music sweetly oozing out of my computer, kids are still asleep, husband is at work and I'm with you! I wouldn't trade my seat for anything right now!

We're moving along in Ephesians and we'll be wrapping it up by Friday. Then I'll have something fun to tell you! So, at least, come back by Friday!

Last week we ended with talking about how we have the opportunity to live a life that seeks peace with everyone. Paul most certainly is talking about in the church, but Jessica said this verse applied in her personal life as well, "I know Paul is talking to a church, but this is so applicable to my life at home--my husband, my kids, especially my in-laws! With the Holy Spirit, I'm making a renewed effort to be humble, gentle and patient." And that is certainly what our Father would want!

Continuing on in Ephesians 4, I first want to remind you how Paul ended that part about how we are to live a life worthy of the calling. In verse 4 he says, "There is one body and one Spirit...on Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Using that as a springboard, Paul takes us to something that should inspire us all in Christ!

Verse 7,8
But to each of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.

There is a way to live a life worthy of the calling and be an effective part of keeping the unity of peace in the Spirit. It's in living out your life with the gifts of God on you. YOU have the unique opportunity to be used of God to serve the church, make a difference in your world around you, and be an incredible influence in your family.

Paul goes on in verse 11 and gives us a small, but not exhausted list of gifts God has given His people.
It was he who gave some to be apostle, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers...

Hold here. You might be thinking, "I'm not any of those!" Maybe not in the fullest sense of each word, but each of us can look at those who are coming up in the next generation and be teachers. You could simply be someone that lives a life that "teaches" as you live. You might be an evangelist simply because you were kind to the cashier at the store. You might be a prophet because you shared truth with a friend. Each of us may not have a full gift, but each of us can use them. Does that make sense?

There's other lists of gifts and I'll send you to them right here. But, the POINT is this:

We are given these....
to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

THAT is a mouthful of incredible hope!!

Let me unpack that a little bit.

You and I have been given gifts to serve each other with. I'm doing it right now. This is what I do at this season in life. It's not just on the internet we have a LifeGroup that my husband and I teach. I minister to so many people because they call, email, or approach me to ask about the Bible or my opinion on something spiritual. I'm not tooting my horn, I'm just sharing with you how these gifts can play out in each of our lives.

We use our gifts to encourage others so that they too can serve. And not just to serve and serve and serve, but to be built up in Christ so that we can reach unity! We use our gifts to get to that unity that Paul is telling us to strive for.

And finally, how we use our gifts will help others reach maturity in Christ. I'm sure we can all point to someone who poured into our lives in such a way that it drew us closer to Christ and we were changed and grew in Him. This is serving one another in love and faith. This is how we grow. We cannot all have all the gifts of the Spirit. I need you. You need others. We need each other to experience all the different characteristics of Christ so that we can all be filled to the fullest measure of Him.

It's a beautiful thing. Don't let the enemy tell you that you are not a valuable person in the Kingdom. We must rely on one another. You gifts are different than mine and in that we find comfort, grace, faith, strength, and the ability to mature one another.

And what will all this do? Here, let me let Paul tell you.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men and their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in live, as each part does its work.

That pretty much says it all. Ah, it's nice to sit back and let Paul use his gift!! Great way to wrap up today's post!

Think about how you can use your gifts to serve and build up others! I guarantee you'll be blessed!


GratefulinGA said...

Really enjoyed your post this morning. This whole series has been very good.

I agree not believing we have Kingdom value is one of the biggest lies of the enemy.

I don't know or care at this point what 'part' of the body of Christ I represent. If I am an eyelash that filters wind and dust out of an eye, that would be an honor. How 'bout the soles of the feet? I'm there! I don't want to know where I fit in the body - just that I am not sitting on the sidelines.

I have so many brothers and sister in Christ who have no idea how positively they have affected my life or the Kingdom at large, as they use gifts they may be clueless to.

My prayer is to let these siblings know what a blessing and encouragement they are and that the Body would fully know and walk in the truth of who we are.

Thank you for turning up the light...blessings,

lori said...

Natalie...what a great study this has turned out to be...
something for everyone...You know I've been following and even read Friday's was meant for all of us.

Today's I have to tell you tammy summed it up much more eloquently than I can...she is right..all I've learned from, many likely have no idea how their gifts touched my life...clueless I I am at times, clueless to the gifts He has equipped me with for His glory...
Why is it that we can't be "satisfied" with our gifts...seems that we look so often at others and wish we had theirs...

Each one an equally important part of the BODY...
Preach on girlfriend...good stuff...and the button is mighty yummy looking too!