Bearing Kingdom Fruit (PART TWO)
This is part two of the teaching Bearing Spiritual Fruit.
The importance of our gifts
Spiritual gifts are divided among the body; not all of us have the same gifts, for the sake of uniting or brining together the Body of Christ. You need what I got and I need what you got! When one of us fails to discover and use our gifts, the rest of us suffers lack in the Body, as Paul tells us in his first letter to the church of Corinth:
"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it... Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" 1 Corinthians 12:26, 30 KJV
Spiritual gifts, the ones that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, will allow us to operate at a capacity that we could never reach if we're trying to function without them! These spiritual gifts will give us the ability to bear fruit in the kingdom that we could never bear otherwise.
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 KJV
If we think we can just go about doing good without the Holy Spirit, we are in for a sad surprise. Jesus told us in John 15:5 that apart from Him, we can do nothing:
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5 KJV
The flip side of that is clear that we can bear much fruit if we will stay plugged into the Holy Spirit and operate out of our identity and use the gifts that He's given us.
Spiritual fruit changes lives!
Let's be honest here, living out of our God-given identity will bless those around us in ways that they could never be blessed otherwise. There is no counselor, no doctor, no secular means of help, that will do for a person what the ministries of effective healing and deliverance will do for a person in just a few sessions. Casting demons out of an oppressed person will do for them what a lifetime of counseling and medications could never do for them - it can change their life forever!
Sometimes we can be in a deliverance session where we may never see that person again, and when you're limited to a few hours, there's a sense of urgency to get to the root of the problem. In those sessions, it is very important for somebody who is gifted and operating in the Word of Knowledge gift that Paul speaks of, because what may take hours to discover (or may never be discovered!), can be revealed with one simple word of wisdom! That person receiving ministry could have their life changed forever just from somebody who is operating in their Word of Wisdom gift! What if that gifted person isn't present, or isn't operating in their gifting? The one being ministered to may not get the help they so desperately need.
Not only do you change that person's life to whom you minister or pray for, but you will likely change many others in their lives as a result of their testimony! I've said it before and I'll say it again... you will do things in the kingdom that you could never do without operating in your spiritual gifts and calling!!
On top of changing the lives of others, operating in your spiritual gifts will give you a sense of identity and value in the kingdom that you can get no other way. You will feel a part of what Jesus is doing in the lives of others, and it will give you a sense of value and self-worth that nothing in this world can give you.
Spiritual gifts versus talents
Let me make something clear, there is a big difference between gifts and talents. A talent is a gift which does not require the Holy Spirit to manifest, while a true spiritual gift requires the Holy Spirit to operate through you. Things such as a beautiful voice, an ability to paint beautiful pictures, or design fantastic web sites are all talents which even non-believers can operate in and benefit from. Prophecy, gifts of healing, words of knowledge, etc. are all spiritual gifts which require the Holy Spirit to be engaged in order to work. You can't give a prophecy without the Holy Spirit first revealing it to you. You can't lay your hands on the sick and see them healed without the Holy Spirit's power flowing through you.
One of my pet peeves is those churches which use the word "gifts" so freely, when they are merely referring to our talents, which has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. This is where I go back to the Bible and read what it has to tell us, not what some pastor thinks or was taught in seminary. Such false teaching is the very reason the church is so weak and helpless against real world problems today!
Refining your gifts
You can be the most gifted person in the church, but bear no fruit if you are unaware of what your gifts are, or how to use them. You might know that you're gifted as a prophet, but have an accuracy rate that is in the toilet, because you haven't refined your gift, and learned how to discern the different voices in your head. A religious spirit can have a field day in somebody who is gifted in prophecy, but has not trained their ear to discern the sources of those voices in their head. One of the ways a prophet can train their ear is to study and know the Word of God, and learn of the heart of God. This way, when a voice comes along that doesn't sound like the voice of God, they can recognize the false voice and throw it out. Whatever you receive must pass the filter of God's Word and the heart and nature of God. Look for patterns in your gifting, when you are accurate and when you aren't. Be especially on guard against the religious spirit, which will sound Godly, but will give a word that will either enslave the receiver, load them down with guilt, fear, etc., and get their eyes off of the finished work of the Cross. This is the work of Satan, and something we need to be on guard against if we are going to operate in the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy can change a person's life and set them ablaze for God, or it can devastate that person and throw them off course. That is why Paul said that the spirit of a prophet is subject to be judged by other prophets, which helps in keeping things in line and helps with training up the prophets:
"And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." (1 Corinthians 14:32 KJV)
Realize that you won't get it right every time, but you have to start somewhere. The best place to start out with a prophetic gift is in the presence of other prophets who are seasoned and have developed a good accuracy rate. I don't recommend running up in front of the church and blurting out your first prophecy, because if you are wrong, you could potentially do far more harm than good. Learn to develop your gift in presence of brothers and sisters who have been there before you and can help you grow in a safe learning environment. Also, when you start to hear God's voice, most of the time it will be a word for you and not somebody else. Why? Because God wants to train you to hear His voice for yourself, before you are ready to deliver words to others. Immature prophets will run up to everybody with a "word" when they have not perfected their gift in their own life.
Another problem I often see in the church is how hard they are on the gift of prophecy, saying that because somebody gave an inaccurate prophecy 5 years ago, they cannot be trusted today. We all make mistakes, but if you're a prophet, you make one mistake and could be written off for the rest of your life? What is fair about that? Satan will often try to use flaws in a minister, to get people to write off the entire ministry. Immature Christians will look at a few flaws and overlook all of the good that a ministry has to offer.
You can be totally gifted in prophecy, but you will always have an accuracy rate. In your early days you will likely not be operating at full accuracy, and every word you give will not be on the money. This doesn't mean you should go blurt out every word you get to everybody you see, as that can cause a tremendous amount of harm and damage. But rather position yourself among other believers who have developed their gifting and can help you with yours. I believe every church should have a place where people can grow their gifts in a safe environment, where it's okay to make a mistake, and others will help others grow their gifts. If you are a prophet, seek out other mature believers who are prophets but have perfected their gifting.
Be sure to keep everything scriptural and run everything through the filter of the Word. I don't care who I sit under for a teaching, I filter what I hear through the Word so I'm not mislead. The Bible is your friend in keeping you safe!
If you think that it will just fall out of the sky and everything will be perfect, I got news for you... you won't always get your gifting right! I haven't myself seen somebody who is 100% on all the time, including myself, and you won't be the first to get it right all the time. But if you don't start somewhere, you will never develop the incredible gifts that God has given you, and lives will never be impacted that God has called you to impact.
You will not do everything God has called you to do, unless you are operating in what God has called you to, and use the gifts He has given you!