37. Gifts

In lesson thirty-four, you read about the Holy Spirit giving power. The most important gift of power is your power to be a new spiritual person. You, as a new person, are now mainly concerned with pleasing God. You best do this by receiving, experiencing and living in the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.

To equip us to do this, the Holy Spirit offers power tools. These are what Paul calls gifts (charismata) of the Spirit, to be used for the common good - for the benefit of all in God's family. Once you receive the Holy Spirit, by asking for it, you are in God's family. You can expect to be given one or more spiritual gifts. Paul listed these in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter twelve, verses four through thirteen.

The gifts are Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment of Spirits, Speaking in Tongues, and Interpretation of Tongues. Power gifts are given as God chooses, when God chooses, to implement God's work on earth.

These gifts come and go, ebb and flow, according to God's will, and no one has the same gift at all times to be used by some formula or mechanical fashion.

What is demonstrated in supernatural gifts is God's special grace as distinguished from His general (prevenient) grace. God is always in control of creation. He is everywhere, knows all things, and is all powerful. His general grace, necessary for life on earth, is experienced by everyone -for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45 b).

His special grace is given to improve human faith. These gifts demonstrate His reality and omnipotence. Charismatic gifts are for giving glory to God. Any who use this special grace for self-glory, have a future problem to work out with God (Matthew 7:21-23). It is a good idea to keep out of that kind of mess by waiting for God's direction. Give him all the credit for any supernatural gifts you receive.

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