Summary: How does God decide who gets what gift?

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Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (NRSVA)

What pictures enter your mind when the phrase “spiritual gifts” is spoken? For some it is the picture of a wild crowd that has been whipped into a frenzy of emotional outbursts…running the aisles…speaking in tongues…attempts to heal the sick and raise the dead. That is a caricature Hollywood might portray in a movie or TV show; it is NOT the genuine article.

God does indeed have gifts to give us, gifts that are intended to be the Kingdom tools to do the work of the Kingdom. Some folks see the gifts as spiritual “merit badges". According to 1 Co 12 that is spiritual pride.

Rather, the gifts are abilities given by God and developed in each of us to be used for the unifying and edifying of the body of Christ, and for its’ nurturing. My mother is a good example. She had the gift of discernment when it came to me fibbing. It was necessary to teach a small boy that life would be difficult for a liar. Her gift of being discerning helped edify and nurture. Sometimes that nurture was applied to the seat of my pants!

Now, the spiritual gifts are for the church today. In fact the gifts of the Spirit are absolutely essential for the function of a New Testament church. And they are given by the Spirit of God to whom God chooses. How does God decide who gets what gift?

Essential Conditions

....that must exist for genuine gifts of God’s Spirit in your life.

The essential conditions are two-fold. There must, first of all, be a DEDICATION OF LIFE. Understandably that means salvation. A person must have spiritual life before operating in the spiritual realm. Otherwise it is like having an appliance that operates on a 220 volt power source, and only having 110 volt service; or trying to get apple trees to yield potatoes.

Paul says in Romans 12:1 that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice. That means coming to Christ in faith to receive forgiveness for be saved!

But, beyond an initial dedicating of your life to Jesus in the moment of salvation, there must be a continual rededication, or a nurturing of our salvation. Paul the apostle testified that he "died daily". That means each day he consciously made the decision to serve Christ, putting his own natural will on the back burner. And it also means that he involved himself in the things of Christ DAILY. Paul could be found in daily fellowship with other believers, and in prayer, and learning God’s will as he searched God’s Word. We are dedicated to whatever we do consistently.

There was a twelve-year-old girl that dropped-in on Albert Einstein every day on her way home from school. Her parents liked having her around such a good influence, but they were curious. One day the mother asked Professor Einstein, "What do you two do every day?" He laughed and said, "Oh, she brings me cookies, and I do her arithmetic for her."

Beyond the dedication of life, an essential condition for the operation of spiritual gifts is a DEPENDENT LIFE. A person might have a sincere interest in serving God; however, it is the believer who is dependent on Him that will receive in the area of spiritual gifts. Paul described it as walking in the spirit to prevent fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

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