by David Brenneman
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12 NASB
Was interesting to read Romans 12 again this morning. Always interesting when God points out something even though you've read it many times before.
"However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly"
One of my personal goals in getting settled in here in our new-to-us home is organizing my tools. Knowing what I have and where they are. The end result has been donating some because of now seeing that I had duplicates, others because of no need for them here.
But something else came to mind after rereading that one part of Romans 12. A reminder of a story about a relative who used to build buildings. He once had fired a guy for hammering in screws. An obvious case of not using what he had as was intended.
I have seen the end results myself of tools not used as intended. Handles banged up, or bent.
We who have come to Christ for salvation were given tools, and opportunities, to be used in our Earthly bodies until such a time as either we are called home to Heaven or the Rapture of the Church.
Further, read this: "So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:12 NASB.
If you have ever borrowed tools or have gone and had to rent tools, you know the importance of returning them in as good as found condition. Abuse of or damage to those items often came at a cost.
In Christ Jesus it clearly says that we have been given. Doesn't say might have been given. Doesn't say maybe given. Have been given. When we read this in conjunction with the parable of the talents, and the passage in Romans 14, we know that we WILL speak to what we did with those gifts to Jesus Christ Himself.
So, what have you done with what you have been given? Are you using what you were given in the right manner? Are you using the tools God gave you through the Spirit for what He intended you to use it for? Or have you been using His tools for inappropriate or inaccurate uses?
Time is a tool we have been given. As our Pastor had pointed out in a recent sermon, after the average time we all have after sleep, work, etc, there's approximately 42 hours left in your week. What do you do with it? Is it used on you or used in a God honoring way?
Energy works with Time. As does Effort. Being properly energized and engaged is the proper working of what we have been given in Christ Jesus.
An outcome that is God honoring is born of the properly using of time, energy and effort for God's intended purpose in our lives.
Some Earthly tools require special types of energy to function. Every cordless device on the market seems to prove this out in that their battery package is atypically unique to its own manufacturer. Lawn implements use either straight gasoline or they use a gas-oil mix.
We have gifts to use...but are we using them? Another is not to imply certain gifts are ours to use that aren't ours in the first place.
There are certain denominations that teach things that aren't true about Spiritual gifts. It's not for me to single them out in this post. It's for me to point you to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us that some are not meant nor were meant to continue.
One such is speaking in tongues. This isn't what many purport it to be. This was and only is speaking in literally other languages of this Earth. There's absolutely no basis in believing that anyone is going to speak a language that isn't of this world. In the early Church the Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak all known languages without being taught in order to further the Gospel. There is nothing to be gained by knowing some language of Angels that might exist. In no way should it be abused in teaching otherwise. We don't get special messages in some previously unknown language to give to others. For sure, if God has something to say to me, He’s fully capable of telling me Himself through His Spirit. Which is one of the jobs of the Spirit.
We must not misuse what we have been given. Are you really going to stand before Jesus, with the gifts you were given, and tell Him you didn't use them?
In our Church, and many other churches call it the same or similar, there's always a Next Step after coming to Christ. What do you do next? One thing is to discover what it is that God gave you as your gift. The next after that is to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. To employ your gifts to the glory of God the Father. CERTAINLY not to leave them in a closet or in a toolbox until you're no longer part of this world. It was a very important next step for me, after moving, to join the Church here. Then to not stop there, but to indeed follow up with knowing my gifts and to be engaged in using them properly.
I really don't want to be found by Jesus when He returns not using what He gave me.
So are you using what you were given? Because you need to understand there is no excuse not to. There's no read you can give that will be good enough for why you did not use what you were given. Make sure what you are doing in Christ is what YOU were intended to be doing. Make sure you aren't involved in doing things that were never for you to be doing. Make sure you are not wasting your 42 doing unfruitful works.
Using what you were given as God intended is indeed part of the Will of God for us. The Will of God is our sanctification. Our being made in the likeness of our Savior.
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