I can’t help but be drawn to the charismatic/evangelical movement at times. I understand that side of Christianity has made its share of mistakes, but I am overjoyed to know them. In case you wonder, not all of them are the crazy people you might think they are. I was listening in my class studying Galatians, where my professor, Dr. Witherington, mentioned the fruit as opposed to the gifts, and I got to preview Gordon Fee’s Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God. He mentions the idea of gifts and how he thinks the idea is portrayed in 1 Corinthians.
I really enjoyed Fee in that he stated that the “gifts” or “manifestations” are not a systematic listing at all and does not cover every base. I can’t help but cringe at the idea of a spiritual gifts assessment (this is more general evangelical as I do not want to put this on the Charismatics) in that most of them are limited and some do not allow for these things to be manifestations of God’s Spirit to His people. It’s hard to define a list of gifts because the lists in the letters are never exactly alike. It must be known that God does not always work in the same way and that he might shell shock our preconceptions of how God gives gifts to His people through His Spirit. Needless to say, Paul would be confused.
Realize that it is not about us having a gift as if it is our own…
but that. supernaturally, it is about God showing us that He is here…
BEYOND OUR WILDEST IMAGININGS!!!
We get prepared to live out the future reality in this present age.
The other thing to remember is that Galatians 5 shows us the fruit of the Spirit and not the gifts. There is a distinct difference. The gifts are what are given to encourage and prepare us, but the fruit is what is produced by the presence of the Spirit. Paul’s community ethic under the Spirit would have put so much emphasis on the fruit and the gifts have to be secondary and subject to the existence of the fruit. Read the difference. Where one is about the supernatural happenings and the things that are given in affirmation, the fruit is about the life of the community, which is what the letters of Paul are quite repetitive about.
If we forget the fruits of bringing true blessings of God’s love to the community, then the gifts will not matter. “If I do not have love, I am just a clanging cymbal.”
I heard a story once of a woman who led in a ministry. Many were blessed by her musical gifts and she loved what she was doing. She was married to a man, but happened to find romance with another man who was not her husband. She asked her pastor, “Would this require me to give up my musical gifts in this ministry?” The pastor replied with compassion, “Daughter, it is not your gifts that are in question, but your character that is in jeopardy.”
Remember to tend to the fruit (your character) and the gifts will be given to you. And be ready if you live this out. God may give you a gift that was never in your community before.
And to close, all are gifted.
I say that again with greater emphasis added…
ALL are TRULY gifted BY GOD’S SPIRIT.
Grace and peace to you all.