Summary: Sometimes we are reluctant to know our gifts. Moses was pulling back from using the gifts God had given him not realizing that God had already given him all he needed. Are we obedient to God so that He can use us as a perfect vessel for His glory?
Opening illustration: Have you ever felt torn in two or more directions when considering how to serve in your church or what job to take? Since you probably can’t do everything you’re asked to do, how do you decide which opportunities for service are best suited for you? Many will be able to relate to the following scenario of a church member, Susan, who is puzzled about where she should serve in her church. Like Susan, maybe you’d like to explore just what your gifts are.
Susan hung up the phone after talking with the chair of the church stewardship committee, who had just asked her to join the committee. Things were starting to get confusing. Last Sunday, the Sunday school coordinator had asked her to consider teaching the junior youth class. Susan was flattered by these requests, but uncertain which to accept. “Why are they asking me?” she wondered. Susan asked her spouse and small group to pray with her to discern God’s will. To her surprise some members of the small group pointedly asked her about what her spiritual gifts are and how could she best use them. She stammered out a response, but ended up admitting she wasn’t sure about her gifts – let alone how to use them!
If we are unaware of what our gifts are, we will just be trying things here and there (hit & trial) and achieving very little. And we will neither have any discernment for that specific calling God has for us to operate our giftings. There’s probably a little of Susan in all of us. However, knowing our gifts can help us focus on what we are passionate about. By allowing God to instill those gifts, our lives are made more whole. It turned out Susan was an excellent organizer and administrator, even though she discounted her abilities. And although she enjoyed being with the junior youth, she struggled at teaching and felt her efforts where inadequate. For Susan, accepting the request to serve on the stewardship committee would have been a wise decision while accepting the Sunday school position would not have – and would have resulted in frustration for her, the youth, and the Sunday school coordinator.
Introduction: Sometimes we are reluctant to know our gifts and abilities. Think of Moses. In Exodus 3 and 4 we find Moses trying every excuse he can to avoid doing what he knew God, present before him in the burning bush, was calling him to do. Moses was pulling back from using the gifts God had given him not realizing that God had already given him all he needed. What God wanted from Moses was obedience. Not all of us have God speak to us through burning foliage, but there are many lessons that can be learned from Moses’ encounter with God.
What are the steps involved for exercising the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
1. Accessing: [availability ~ Exodus 3: 4]
When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see it, God called to him - If he had carelessly neglected it, it is likely God had departed and said nothing to him. God called and said, Moses, Moses - This which he heard could not but surprise him much more than what he saw. Divine calls are then effectual, when the spirit of God makes them particular, and calls us as by name. Moses now had access to operate in the Spirit just because he was ready to hear what God had to say and to obey whatever was commanded.
Illustration: We being available to God whole-heartedly, with no strings attached.
2. Discerning: [plans disclosed ~ Exodus 3: 7 – 10]
Finding Godly fulfillment and making your call and election sure is only possible by discerning your spiritual gift: Each of us has a desire for meaningful achievement. The ultimate of this is having a significant part in a divine program. This divine program is being carried through the Body of Christ by the proper functioning of each person’s gift.
Illustration: When we are unable to discern our call or giftings, you can call on your mentor or elders to walk you through. Spending time with God is apparently the key to knowing your giftings.
3. Moving: [presence of God ~ Exodus 3: 12 – 15]
Two names God would now be known by. A name that speaks what he is in himself, I am that I am - This explains his name Jehovah, and signifies, (a) That he is self-existent; he has his being of himself, and has no dependence upon any other. And being self-existent he cannot but be self - sufficient, and therefore all - sufficient, and the inexhaustible fountain of being and bliss. (b) That he is eternal and unchangeable, always the same, yesterday today, and for ever: he will be what he will be, and what he is. (c) That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his nature, and not a man that he should lie. Let Israel know this, I am hath sent me unto you. A name that speaks what he is to his people. Lest that name I am should puzzle them, he is farther directed to make use of another name of God, more familiar. We see that God promised Moses that he would be identified and move with the presence of God wherever he went. The name I AM would go with him. The same promise was with the Israelites when they were in the wilderness for 40 years (pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night). Moving continually with and in the presence of God made Moses to have access to the spiritual gifts and operate them powerfully.