Dr. Stephen Phinney
GET READY TO PROVE YOURSELF
Allow me to explain. Before you can move forward in knowing your Spiritual Gifts, you need to be willing to be sacrificed and ready to prove the authentic perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1 tells us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this work; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
The error of modern Grace. In our fake world with fake news, fake Christians, and fake faith, the Christian masses are excusing the reality of living a sacrificed life. Instead of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, fake Christians are blending the doctrines of God with their depraved flesh. This demonic twist sets the “believer” up for God, NOT accepting their Christian services. The key indicator in our passage is not to be conformed to this work (service); but rather be transformed by renewing your mind.
Our commission to prove to observers the perfect will of God reveals the difference between the fake and the authentic. While the Grace modality of our age lessens the value of proving, God keeps this doctrine in play. Proving is a word that has been removed from our modern-day movement of “Grace.” However, it is the evidence of a renewed mind in Christ.
Before God moves through us mightily, He needs to know that you are willing to be used in any way He desires. We must be Holy (walking in the Spirit) and acceptable to God (in His Son). When we are doing things of the world (walking after the flesh), you can pretty much forget your gifting being manifested within you by the Lord. God will not use His precious gifting to better the world. He only uses His gifting to better the Kingdom of God through advancing His Son's indwelling Life.
Of course, that leaves us with a small problem, what if the mind is worldly? Then it is time for renewal. Our lives are transformed into the image of Christ through the process of having our minds renewed. You can do nothing to renew your mind; reading, praying, talking, listening, or having hands laid on you will NOT renew you. This renewal process is a work of the Spirit – from the inside out. As we set our minds on heavenly things, we allow the Holy Spirit (if we are saved) to renew our minds. When we set our minds on worldly things, we act worldly. When we set our mind on the Spirit within us, we experience being Spiritually minded, having Spiritual thoughts, then Spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13).
When we lay our lives down as a living sacrifice and then allow the Holy Spirit to renew our worldly minds, we can prove to the world (and fellow indwelt Christians) what is good, truly acceptable, and the perfect will of God. This is accomplished by and through God using His gifts within His children.
THE BODY OF CHRIST IS LIKE A TOOLBOX
The Word says that we are the very Body of Christ. We also understand that we are all individual parts that make up this Body (Romans 12:4). Christ is the head over the body just as your head oversees your body. Your body does what the head decides to do – that is why your mind needs daily renewal. Your thoughts need to be yielded to the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at Romans 12:4-8; “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have Gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly….”
Picture the Body of Christ as a toolbox, and the tools within the toolbox are the members of the Body of Christ. God is the Fix and Repair Shop owner, Jesus is the manager, and the Holy Spirit is the mechanic. Individual members of the Body of Christ are the tools the Holy Spirit uses. The Owner determines the project, and all those who work for the Owner use who they are to carry out the commands and desires of the One who owns all things.
It would be critical for the Holy Spirit to know every tool is in its place within the toolbox. The Holy Spirit knows the design and function of each tool - to carry out the will of the Owner (Heavenly Father). Therefore, it now becomes important for the tools to be who they are and not attempt to be anything other than themselves.
Imagine one or more of the tools trying to be another tool instead of being who they are – you know, a screwdriver tries to do the job of a pair of pliers. Sounds silly, right? Not really! This is what the Body of Christ tends to do. They function as tools they admire vs. be the tool they are. Tools want to be like tools that seem to have greater importance and rewards. Tools want to be in the hands of the mechanic more than not. If I were a tool, I certainly would want to be in the hands of the mechanic as much as possible. It would be fun to be the mechanic’s favorite tool!
Also, imagine that these tools have legs, arms, mouths, and minds of their own. Now we have some potential problems. When the mechanic reaches into the toolbox to get the right tool to do the Owner’s will, one or more of these tools are running around the shop doing their own thing, making it a challenge to get anything done. What is the mechanic to do? Well, He will use the tools that are willing and waiting. The waiting tools are secure in their design. They will wait on the mechanic as long as it takes to do the part of the job they were designed to do.
Think of the work the mechanic could do if every tool accepted who they were, understood their purpose, and was willing and ready to be used by the mechanic. Wow! We could have the Body of Christ unified in no time.
I certainly hope you see the parallel. God has many members of His Son’s Body. Within each of these members, God has carefully and methodically placed His Gifts to accomplish the work assigned to His Son and the Holy Spirit. Having each member exercise their gifting when the Holy Spirit calls upon them would pull the Body of Christ together and unify the Church in such a way that the world, flesh, and the devil would be in serious trouble.
Don’t get me wrong, God is in control, and He is accomplishing all of what needs to be done, fully knowing He doesn’t have full cooperation with His Son’s own Body. However, God certainly calls us to join Him where He is at work. The Body members joining Him where He is at work will prove the will of the Father to the world, all of the flesh, and even to God’s enemy, Satan.
WHO GETS THE GIFTS?
The Lord has not given every human a gift(s), only those who have accepted the Lord into their lives. Once a person has accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit delivers the gift. 1 Peter 4:10 tells us, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” The Holy Spirit also gives a manifestation. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 12:7; “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” It is for the good of building up the Body of Christ.
Note: The Church’s growth depends on God causing the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). However, the Lord is also clear that we are to plant and water. The planting and watering are done through the gifting He has placed within each Body member.
Once a person understands their gift, they need to have a ministry of “a calling” to have the gift to function within. When a person functions in a gift that is not theirs, they labor to do the work. They seem to “run out of energy” in doing good. If a person is using their gift but is being used within the wrong “calling,” it usually causes more work for the people they are working alongside. They end up giving the appearance of “doing their own thing.” Therefore, understanding the calling can be equally as important as understanding the gifting. In our next article, we will explore “how” this all comes together for a unified Body functioning within the will of the Father.
President & Founder
IOM America | Identity Matters Worldview Institute