The Old Crisis
Strained relationships are common for Leola right now. It isn’t the fault of the people in her life. There is a struggle in her mind about who she should be as a Christian. Should she abandon her old self? She has secular friends and Christian friends and at this moment she is not comfortable with either one. Her behaviour with each one is not quite up to par. She cannot be a Christian with her secular friends and she can’t stand her Gentile behaviour with her Christian friends. Who is she, a Christian or a Gentile? She isn’t Gentile enough to be a Gentile nor is she Christian enough to a Christian. She just doesn’t fit into either category. “I wish I knew who I was?” Leola thought as she sat studying the Words of God. She knows she is going through an identity crisis. Her identity revolves around whom she is serving and how. Is she a Christian serving Christ or a Gentile serving Satan? Someone preached God does not gift unsaved people so what does she do with those talents she has had all of her life? Are they from God or from Satan? Does she have to give them all up and develop new ones?
Leola started learning about those so-called ‘Spiritual Gifts’ the teachers spoke of. She ordered tons of books and studied the Scriptures. She was convinced even the unsaved were gifted by God to do what they were doing otherwise that would me either we developed them ourselves (we are god) or the devil gave them to us (he is god). Without a doubt Leola was gifted for leadership and administration. Who gave her those gifts because she has been acting within them all of her life. She is also an encourager and a teacher. How did she get those talents? If God is not giving talents to people from the time they are born how did she get them? These questions are weighing heavily on Leola at this moment. Even in these early days she can see within the church people are not acting within their own talents, which is also perplexing to her because if God gives the talents why are they not being utilized by the church. Are we not the Body of Christ, the eyes, the mouth, the arms and the feet? Maybe, they don’t know what talents they have or they don’t like what they have? Either way she has to get to the bottom of this or it will drive her nuts! (That is her combination gift of administration and teaching kicking in. They always need to find the truth to set them free from not knowing!)
After studying the Words of God I came to believe God gifts everyone from the day they are born. How they use the gifts God bestowed upon them at birth is another thing altogether. I have expressed this truth before as I will again – God has a plan for every single person on this earth from before they were born so therefore we can only believe this truth – God has given each person talents to function in this world inside and outside of the church building. The identity crisis each of us goes through is specific to using those talents. Are you a born leader, then lead? Are you an excellent organizer, than organize? Are you compassionate toward the hurting, than have mercy on them? People are being used by God to move another person into their specific plan of God. Your leadership, administration, mercy or the another gift was given to you by God to work and to show people Christ! In Romans 12 Paul tells us about the gifts everyone has, Christians and Gentiles. We use these gifts to function in our work and in the church to serve each other. These are what are called the functional gifts of God. We function in them every day no matter where we are while 1 Corinthians 12 list the gifts used to edify the Body of Christ. Paul tells us the Spirit Himself unleashes these gifts as He sees fit. These are for those of us in the Body of Christ to be used to edify each other. We know this because Paul tells us they come by the Spirit. In 1 Peter 4, Peter tells us to get busy doing what God has gifted us to do so the body will run like a well-oiled clock. They both want us to stop lusting after what men want and do what the Spirit wants. Herein lies our identity crisis. We want what man wants for us but God wants us to do what He wants for us. It is the struggle between Gentile and Christian we all go through.
Her New Identity
Leola is having a crisis that can only be described as a crisis of her new identity in Christ. Her gift of leadership and administration turns out to be a rare combination and to be found in a woman was detrimental to her cause or so she thought. Men and women alike will hold her back but in her search to discover the giftings of God she is also discovering who is in charge of those gifts and it is neither man nor Satan. God gave her those gifts and left her in charge of them to choose whether she would use them or not! She will! Her new stronger identity would do what He wants her to do rather than be limited by what people think she should do. Her learning also included teaching the gifts of God in a Life Skills Workshop as well as encouraging everyone she meets to use the talents God has given them to serve His people in the manner God instructs not people. Being able to improve her life skills was hinging on His answers to this crisis. In finding the answers Leola gained a full understanding of who she was in Christ and who she would become for Him. This was significant for her because this crisis was holding her back from doing all the things of God meant for her. Now that she is years past this crisis Leola’s faith in God is based on His approval of the tasks she does not mans. She will not be held back by people because she knows God is making His way for her to do exactly what His will is and she is going! She said out loud to Satan, “If you are in God’s way, you are in my way, so get behind me, Satan!”
Who will win in your life, the Gentile or the Christian? If you think God has not gifted you with THAT gift (women shouldn’t have it or men shouldn’t have it) you are limiting God. God is bigger than any man and He does what man cannot do. The gifts of God are for us all to serve His people whether they are saved or not. Just as God uses the saved He also uses the unsaved. Do you know how He has gifted you? The Bible does not tell us explicitly what we will do on the New Earth although since it is our soul using the talents given, and our soul will live on the New Earth it stands to reason whatever our soul is gifted to do here will be exactly what it will be gifted to do on the New Earth for the Body of Christ. Think about your talents here. Can you use those talents for God’s people on the New Earth? I am gifted with Leadership, administration, exhortation and teaching, can they be transferred to the New Earth where everyone knows who Jesus is. Absolutely, because outside of Jerusalem will be those who chose not to use their talents to build up the Body of Christ therefore they in turn were not built up either. They will not know Jesus personally because they chose not to have a relationship with Him by studying His Words. They will go into Heaven as ignorant about Him as they were on the day they were saved. Let that not be you! No matter what any person says God is the one who gifts you, He makes the way for you and He gives you the people you are to serve. No man has the power to do any of this. Give up your identity crisis today and free yourself to do what God has asked you to do to serve us, that we can do the same! We are going with or without you so why don’t you just come!
Meditation Verses this week: Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Peter 4; Revelation 21-22