How to Develop Your Spiritual Gifts

Developing Your Spiritual Gifts

Key Texts: Galatians 5:16-26

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Has anyone ever told you that you are a “gifted” individual?

They might if you attune yourself to God’s presence and open yourself to His indwelling Spirit.

The contrast between two distinct ways of living is startling.

One way, Scripture calls the “acts of the flesh” – and it’s not a pretty list.

The alternative way, Scripture calls the “fruit of the Spirit,” – a gift to be sure – not something one is necessarily “naturally” born with.

Intimately related to belonging to Christ – and to having crucified the flesh with its passion and desires – these are concepts that are deep and possibly difficult to fully appreciate.

For many, it’s just so much “religious” talk.

I believe, however, it is the key to a full, rich, joyful, meaningful life in God’s kingdom.

How do you develop such gifts?

I think first and most important step is to ask for God’s help in doing so.

We are not always the best judge of what our true spiritual gifts may be.

So ask God – prayerfully – what He would have you do – not for your own glory but for His.

Don’t be surprised if before long someone is telling you just how “gifted” you are.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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