I mentioned in my last blog that we could minister from our gifts and anointing, but still not walk in intimacy with Jesus. I would like to unpack this a bit further. The gifts that God gives us are “without repentance”. Romans 11:29. This means that Holy Spirit gives us gifts to help build up and edify the church. 1 Corinthian’s chapter 12. Since they are gifts, they are given to us. It is not something we can earn or are they given as some kind of reward. They are a gift. Without “repentance” means, no matter how little character we have, the gift will not be taken away or removed from us, it is a gift. Our hearts can be very far from God but our gift can still function. God will not take it back.
When someone is given one of the gifts of the Spirit, it has absolutely nothing to do with their character or maturity level in the spirit. God gives it as a gift to help the Body. The gift is given to help “lead” us closer to the Lord, as we see His love demonstrated through that gift. We, very often, tend to judge someone by the strength of the gift or gifts that they possess, not realizing that their gift is not an endorsement from God that they are right with Him. We will say, OH, he is so anointed! We tend to place those with powerful gifts or anointing’s on a pedestal and think somehow that they are more holy and closer to God than others. This can be a great danger, especially in the days we are currently living in.
All we need to do is to look at first and second Corinthian’s to see how Paul was dealing with that church. If we look, we will see that they were a very carnal bunch, yet operated powerfully in gifts. Paul was correcting them for their ungodly behavior. They were abusing their gifts and judging each other as being “all that” if they operated in a certain gift. One gift was seen as being better or more powerful than another and if one person had a perceived higher gift, they were considered more spiritual. We must understand, gifts do not equate with spiritual maturity.
Gifts are given, fruit is grown. We are to know others, not by their gifts but rather by “their fruits” Matthew 7:15-23. This set of passages starts out talking about how to recognize a false prophet and ends up talking about that not everyone who prophecies or who cast our devils, or who did mighty works, will be known by the Lord. I encourage you to look up all the passages about fruit. I use a free bible program called blue letter bible. Immediately after gifts are given by Holy Spirit, we can begin to operate in them but “fruit” is grown over time. Galatians 5:22. Spiritual maturity is grown over time as we walk in the Spirit with God.
A great biblical example of a person with a great anointing but who very little fruit or spiritual maturity was Samson. Judges chapters 14-16. Samson was given this incredible gift of supernatural strength, by the Spirit of the Lord, not because he was all spiritual, but because there was great need in the land for it. His gift was given to help and lead God’s people, demonstrating God’s great love for them. They were greatly oppressed and God had mercy on them and wanted to help them. Samson was rebellious against his parents and against God and even though he had this gift from God, it did not make him strong in his spirit man nor did it make him holy or spiritually mature. He slept with harlots and sought to marry pagan women. Eventually the Spirit of the Lord departed from him and he did not even realize it. Judges 16:20.
So what I was trying to emphasize in my blog was that even though many are satisfied with using their gifts, there is a much higher place that our Lord is trying to lead us into. I encourage everyone to discover and to use the great gifts that Holy Spirit has given them, for that is what they are for. They are to be coveted, valued, honored and used to help people grow in the knowledge of the Lord but they can never replace true spiritual maturity or intimacy with God. Let us not stop short of only operating in His gifts and move on to the higher calling of “being transformed into His image” where His very nature abides in us and comes forth in purity to transform nations. Let us move past being a disciple or an average believer and on into being a bond servant who has given up and forsaken all for our Lord. Let us be willing to become His Bride.
The only way to make our spirit man strong is by knowledge of His Word, prayer, and intimacy with Holy Spirit. This must become our daily habit, at all cost. We will not “discipline” ourselves into practicing these things, through our own strength, abilities or by self-reliance. Our reliance must only be in Holy Spirits grace. When we sincerely ask Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses, we can “know” and rest assured that He is doing the work in our hearts. He who began a good work in you will complete it and He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Lets not start out in the spirit and end up trying to finish in the flesh, like the Galatians. God is good, all the time! He can be trusted.