Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lessons from 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians has been kicking my butt! So many challenges that I am falling short of. Again, just another proof that the Word of God is truly alive: I have read the book of 1 Corinthians many, many times. Yet these truths speak to me in new ways today than they did the last time I read them. Even passages I have highlighted previously have been forgotten and are reminders of how far I am fallen. I am forgiven and redeemed, but I am still fallen. I am still a sinner. I still need forgiveness and redemption each and every day.

Two passages that particularly stuck out to me this read- through:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them to everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

I have heard many sermons and sat through many classroom lectures regarding spiritual gifts. This passage comes from the ESV and the wording is beautiful. This is at least my 4th time reading this passage in the ESV (as my current Bible was my wedding present from my husband), yet I had never noticed the way the gifts are worded. Specifically, I liked the differentiation of “wisdom” and “knowledge”. One can have much knowledge but not be a very wise person. I consider myself to be in this category. I have a lot of common sense (according to my husband), I have a lot of knowledge (as I enjoy learning and love to read), but that does not mean I am a wise person. I often get haughty in my knowledge, especially when interacting with those who are less intelligent. I believe that part of being wise is being humble. This is a struggle in my life and I aim to develop an attitude of humility. So often people mistake wisdom and knowledge for the same thing. But these are separate gifts and very different qualities. One can have knowledge and be wise, but that is something I need to work on.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This is a verse I had previously highlighted. I have absolutely no recollection of this passage, however. This spoke to me in two ways. The first sentence seems fitting for our entrance into the military. Matthew will need to be watchful and to “act like a man” when going through training. I will need to stand firm in the faith and be strong as I manage the home front. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of Matt deploying or even going through the rigors of training. But I must keep faith in the Lord and his path for our family. The second sentence is something I have recently been focusing on. I am not a very loving person. I can be a loving person… to those I deem worthy. This may not be such a huge problem if I wasn’t such a proud person. Pride gets in the way of so many things, including relationships. Too often if someone is different than me I choose to ignore him or her. Worse, I choose to go out of my way to avoid that person. I am getting much better at accepting people (and have gained some wonderful friendships along the way), but I still have a long way to go. If I act in love towards all people, then I will have no choice but to love them with the love of Christ. 

I plan to add to this post tonight or tomorrow about my personal spiritual gift, but baby is stirring. Check back!


It is now 9:30 pm on Sunday, July 15. This just shows how life is with a baby! I wrote the bulk of this post last night while Jack was sleeping. He was stirring and it was time for him to eat so I finished up quickly and planned to come back to finish after he settled down again. Well, he settled down... as long as he was snuggled with Mommy. It was awhile before I could put him in his sleeper next to my bed. Today we went to church and took a long nap. When Jack was awake we were busy playing and finishing up some household chores (laundry and making good use of our new vacuum, which is amazing!). We skyped with Grammy and Papa in Michigan and Jack fell asleep towards the end of that conversation. I placed him in his sleeper, got ready for bed, and finally had a free moment to finish this post. Life as a parent... and to think, I want many more little munchkins! Parenthood is the most rewarding privilege, however. I wouldn't trade it for anything. My schedule is very different now than it was pre-baby, but I like it better! It keeps me more accountable and responsible. 

So, my personal spiritual gift. I took a test on spiritual gifts to help determine my strengths. I took this test in college and again just now. If you look at my life pre-college, in college, and now you will notice that while I remain the same person with the same general disposition, I grow in many other areas. I have learned to go out of my comfort zone and in my more zealous attributes I have learned to be more mild. That being said, my spiritual gift is that of "helper". I scored highest in that area, but my scores for "administrator" and "teacher" were not that different. 

The test I took states:

Your two highest gifts (gift mix)
HELPER: That special ability to do service-oriented work for God in necessary tasks that may seem routine and mundane. The helper usually enjoys serving without public attention, doing such tasks as preparing a meeting room or working on a church building (I Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:7, 16:1,2 NKJV: I Pet. 4:10,11).
ADMINISTRATOR: That special ability to manage human, financial, and physical resources in an efficient manner. The administrator functions by planning, organizing, leading and supervising (Rom. 12:8; I Cor. 12:28; Titus 1:5).

After reading those descriptions, I have to agree. I dislike being a leader in any given situation, but enjoy lending a helping hand whenever possible. With administrator, I enjoy creating a plan and following through. I was moved into the position of "recruitment coordinator" at work so I can better utilize those strengths. 

It is important to know one's spiritual gifts so you can serve most efficiently. I took Elmer Towns' spiritual gifts test. Elmer Towns is the co-founder of Liberty University. I enjoyed his classes, his books, and I love listening to him speak. He is such a wise man. You can take his test here: 

Use your gift to glorify God and to serve others!