Summary: As you better understand how God has shaped you, you’ll become better able to serve as you were designed to serve.
Shaped to Serve God
Purpose Driven Life #30
March 13/20, 2004
Can someone, please, read the following verse?
Job 10.8- Your hands shaped me and made me.
Isa.43.21- especially the last part. "The people I have shaped for myself will broadcast my praises."
These two verses tell you that God has been involved in your becoming the way you are, and He, in the shaping, has designed each of us for His purposes.
Think about the creatures of nature. What are some of your favourites? (Get responses). You’ll notice that these animals are different, right? They don’t look the same and they don’t have the same purposes or functions? Some are shaped for running, some for flying, some for jumping. Each has a different purpose, and the design of each corresponds with that purpose, which began in the mind of God, the Creator.
Look around yourself, here, today. What do you see? You see people of various sizes, shapes, genders, hairstyles, and dress. Even as you can look at a group of animals- yes, they are different animals, whereas we are simply different people- but you see differences that reflect differences in function, purpose, and design, so it is here. Each person here, on the outside and on the inside- at the most superficial level and at the deepest levels- is different from every other person here. You are not an assembly-line product. You may realize that Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors was the first one to use assembly-line production to increase the number of cars that could be produced. In the process, he managed to decrease worker job satisfaction and had to deal with that and did so through higher wages. Each Model T Ford that was produced was the same as the one before. Henry Ford offered a wide range of colours of Model T’s to people, as long as their choice was black! There is no essential difference between Model T Ford cars.
However, this is not the way it is for people. Each of us has a carefully mixed DNA cocktail that makes us different from the person beside us, even if we are twins. God did this and God doesn’t make any junk! Do you know that, like snowflakes are different, so no two people have ever had identical heartbeats? We each have a different rhythm. God is the originator of this, and he’s made you unique because he has a purpose in mind for your life. God never wastes anything. He has not given you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences without an accompanying desire for you to use those in order to fulfill His purposes for your life. You are wonderfully complex and fully different from all others around you. You are a combination of many different factors, which you need to grow in understanding about yourself, so that you are able to mold yourself in an increasingly willing way, to the designs of your creator. God has designed you for your ministry, and you do well to understand what that is.
You are made up of five main capabilities. These are spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experience.
Today, I’d like to focus on the first two of these and, in two weeks, I’ll focus on the other three, with the goal being ’to help you become more aware of what God has in mind for your life.’
1. What are spiritual gifts all about? Simply put, God has given every believer spiritual gifts to be used in ministry.
Ro.12.4-8- is just one place where God speaks about spiritual gifts. These are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers.
1 Cor.2.14- someone without God’s spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God. You can’t earn your spiritual gifts or deserve them- if you could, they wouldn’t be ’gifts’. These are like those gifts that a baby receives on coming into their family- at birth. These are an expression of God’s grace to you.
Eph. 4.7- Christ generously gives gifts to you. And you and I cannot decide what gifts we want to receive.
1 Cor.12.11- God, alone, decides what gifts you will receive. Because God loves variety and he wants us to be special, no single gift is given to everyone, and no individual receives all the gifts. If you had them all, you’d have no need for anyone else, and that would defeat one of God’s purposes- to teach us to love and depend on each other.
Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for your benefit.
1 Cor.12.7- God planned it this way so we would need each other. When we use our gifts together, we all benefit. If others don’t use their gifts, you get cheated, and if you don’t use your gifts, they get cheated. This is why we’re commanded to discover and develop our spiritual gifts.