Scripture tells us that the gifts God gives to us are irrevocable (Romans 11.:29), meaning once He gives them to us, He doesn’t change His mind. I’ve often pondered over this. Could I use them for my own profit and advantage, or would they be frustrated unless and until I use them for God’s glory and purpose? God already knows the times in my life when I might abuse them. Because He is not bound by time the way we are, He also knows all of me – my complete HIStory – in weakness and failures as well as in strength and ability to overcome – who I am in Him now as well as who I will become. Yet He chooses to trust me with these gifts, even with the risk of failure, and for that I am grateful.
In case you are wondering, there are numerous gifts from God. The knowledge itself that we are created in the image of a creative God (see Genesis 1:27) tells us that we all have natural creative giftings. In addition, Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Ephesians 4:10-12, and 1 Corinthians 14 name a few of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to those in Christ.
As I began thinking of the gifts God has given me and even getting discouraged in times past when I had been in an environment where they were suppressed and frustrated, I came across a passage in a book written by John Bevere reminding me that gifts are bestowed, but fruit is cultivated – and that we are going to be judged by our fruit (see Matthew 7:15-20) , not our giftings. Where our gifts are irrevocable, we must remain in the vine in order to bear fruit (see John 15). Let’s have a closer look at what the scripture says about this fruit:
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.Galatians 5:13-26, emphasis in bold is mine
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 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.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
So I asked the Lord to show me how He chooses to measure, how He looks upon the heart and not the ability, and began to ponder how to develop fruit in the midst of my giftings. How can I create to please God rather than to satisfy myself and my own ego? More importantly, how do I stay in lock-step with the Holy Spirit in these dark days, to ensure the body of Christ is the one who benefits from giftings that are evidenced by my fruit?
I had to let that one sink in. Let’s say I am a worship leader and have been given by God a beautiful voice and the ability to lead others musically in a way that stirs all the right emotions, but do not have love in my heart while doing it (see 1 Corinthians 13) – I won’t be judged by my wondrous ability, but I will be judged by my capacity to love.
Or let’s say I am a pastor of a church that is growing exponentially in size and numbers, but have a lack of tolerance for people, and so see myself more as a corporate head rather than as a lowly shepherd – I won’t be judged by the numbers or size, but I will be judged for my ability to forbear.
What if I am a gifted teacher who has the ability to communicate both written and verbally in a way that causes others to have a far greater understanding of a subject than they did before, but am known for running from church to church at the slightest offense, never pressing in and choosing to remain faithful. Will it be my marvelous teaching ability that I am judged for? No, once again, it will be by the fruit of faithfulness.
Why is this important to grasp? Now more than ever it is because of the ever approaching darkness, and knowing that the evil we have been seeing on a global scale is working feverishly to knock on our own front doors. We will be made to care if we don’t already. How can we bear fruit in the midst of adversity, and ensure our joy remains full? The answer is by being hidden IN CHRIST, remaining IN THE VINE, and therefore allowing the adversity to be the catalyst for fruit. We remain in the vine through obedience, and by cultivating my relationship with the Holy Spirit, therefore allowing the truth of His word to have its way. It will be then that the ministry we have been gifted with will flow out of the intimacy we have developed in our relationship with Him. It will be then that our fruit is evidenced.
Stay tuned for more to come on remaining in the vine. I will be writing about it more frequently as I begin to reveal the secrets of the bride as she is in full process of preparing for her bridegroom.
One thought on “In Lock Step”
I pray that my Vine is in teaching, each and every day! I truly love to lead and teach Women and Children… I pray for wisdom, as you know, Prayer is important. I dig into God’s Word I let my children know that as a Christian, God has a unique plan for their lives, not only for my children but the children I am blessed to teach each week. I try and explain spiritual gifts and how they work, although, I know I fall short of some of the gifts of the Spirit.
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