Summary: In Romans 12:6-8 you see seven, what's known as, motivational gifts of the Spirit. Last week we covered the first three-prophecy, serving and teaching. Today we will focus on encouragement and giving.
GIFTED (part four)
The seven gifts listed in Rom. 12:6-8 are: Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, Mercy. Last week we looked at the first three. Prophecy is receiving and speaking God's message to his people, or in regard to a specific situation, person or culture. Prophets spoke authoritatively on behalf of God to reveal God's message accurately that it may impact the lives of his people. The message usually consisted of the urging to repent or warning people based on what was going to take place.
OT prophecy focused on the foretelling of future events. Today, it could be if someone said something was going to happen tomorrow at Noon. But it would need to happen tomorrow at Noon in order to be legit. And it would have to be something previously unknown in order to be legit. The gift of prophecy can also be seen where God gives someone special insight into someone's specific situation; something the person could not have known if not for God revealing it to them.
The gift of service is attaching spiritual value to the accomplishment of physical tasks within the body of Christ. The ability to demonstrate love by meeting practical needs. "What can I do to help?" We all should serve but a deacon or someone with the gift of service has a natural pull in the direction of wanting to be useful for the benefit of the kingdom. They're not about being recognized for their service; they are willing to work behind the scenes without anyone knowing what they're doing. Their joy comes in knowing they've been able to help.
If I have the gift of teaching I am able to search and evaluate truth and give a detailed explanation of it. People with this gift are inquisitive: 'where did you get that information' or 'how do you know that'? They love study and research. They don't just want to know the truth, they want to know why and how something is true. They're trying to determine things on a deeper level. Those who have the gift of teaching also have the ability to impart biblical knowledge in a way that causes others to understand it's truth, concepts and applications. Today we will focus on the gifts of encouragement and giving.
The OT word for encouragement means to strengthen. To encourage is to inspire, to lift someone’s spirits, to instill hope. Encouragers are the ones who readily come alongside other believers to motivate, comfort, console, counsel and strengthen them. It's the ability to challenge those who are wavering in the faith; the ability to stimulate the faith of others.
We are all supposed to spur one another along toward love and good deeds but those with the gift are able to do it more naturally and effectively. They ask, "how can I enhance this person's spiritual walk and fervor?" Someone with the gift of encouragement is able to both comfort and challenge someone. They have the right mix of calmness and firmness.
You can tell they love you but they're going to give it to you straight. They aren't going to coddle you but they're not going to be abrasive either. They want to see that you're open to practical solutions to your problem instead of just complaining about them.
Being an encourager can be difficult. One of the problems we can face is when it doesn't seem like our encouragement is working. We build someone up and try to motivate them and either they aren't receptive or if they are they do well for a minute but then slip up or slip away; it can be pretty discouraging.
We feel so badly for the person; we feel like we've failed the person. Sometimes it can cause us to be angry with the person. We want to just grab them and shake them up. We have to remain patient and remember that sometimes we can push too hard, too fast and that will have the opposite effect. So sometimes we go overboard but it's because we know how debilitating discouragement can be.
Satan knows that too. "The devil once advertised his tools for sale at public auction. When the prospective buyers assembled, there was one oddly shaped tool, which was labeled "Not for sale." Asked to explain why this was, the devil answered, "I can spare my other tools, but I cannot spare this one. It is the most useful implement that I have. It is called Discouragement, and with it, I can work my way into hearts otherwise inaccessible. When I get this tool into a person's heart, the way is open to plant anything there I may desire."
If the devil can discourage us then the door is open for us to sin, isolate from others and damage our connection to the Lord by not reading his word and praying to him. That's why encouragement is so important. The NT word for encouragement means to comfort.