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Present and Transform - Application #2
Gifts and Fellowship
I have often looked at this section of verses, thought that it is clearly enough stated, not to be disputed, apparent to all. But, then I've had to ask myself "why Paul would have to write this?" "shouldn't this be already happening?" "what would be keeping these people from doing this?".
- I see two keys in the passage that seem to drive the concept forward:
- Let or Let us - Allow, make room for, bring out, do, put forward.
- Portion (measure) of Faith - size, measured serving/helping, allowance, contained/limit.
First question...When do people receive their gift?
(I try to explain this in greater detail in my note note:GiftsBeforeFaith )
It is my impression that many people have had their gift all along (or at least the traits) even before they received their portion of faith in Christ. Dominant traits exhibited even from birth latter when combined/contained with the measure of faith have made for proper group unifying utilization of these gifts in Christ.
While some have adequately prospered using these traits outside of the faith, many have been consumed by them much to their detriment, being yet unconstrained by the measure of faith.
Many of the severe disorders, compulsiveness, addictive behaviors, rage/anger, depression, gullibility, etc... might better be identified as the un-channeled misuse of the God given traits that make up the gifts.
What was given as a blessing to them has become a curse.
It is my intention therefore to not only identify these traits within myself that make up my personal gifts, but, also to identify these traits in others.
Why is this so important? For the unification of the body of believers in Christ!
If the body of members were already fully functional there would be no need for these particular gifts. If the body could be fully functional by the gifts of a few men (say pastors) there would be no need for Paul to write this.
It is because the body is not yet fully functional that all of our individual God given gifts are needed. To become this, we need to sacrifice ourselves, lower our mind towards self, create a space for each and every gift to flow and properly function towards the edification of the whole body.
It is not a time to back away and become privately faithful.
It is common for us to look at individuals (including ourselves) as having horrible behavioral problems instead of looking at them as people who have tremendous spiritual gifts that if ever contained within the proper focus could lead to edification and unification in the Body of Christ.
It is common for us to be looking aside rather than looking beyond. Our perceptions of gifts become exclusive rather than inclusive.
We conform to a belief system where good is good and bad is bad and there is no connection to the two. Therefore we hide ourselves from the frequent opportunities to offer others the containing measure, the focusing portion, faith and transformation in Jesus Christ Lord and Saviour.
Fellowship was purposely chosen as the topical application for this passage because fellowship is the objective of these particular gifts. People come into fellowship seeking a place to fully utilize these gifts in Christ. Healthy functional fellowship includes the proper healthy functioning of all the fellowship's members gifts.
God's mercy has for a long time allowed us room to see the many errors of our ways. We have conformed to things just as they are, as they seemingly have always been without inquiring into the difference of function/difference of attitude/difference of objective that His mercy seeks.
The simplicity of sacrifice and service that His mercy demands is to be matched by the honest sincerity of those giving it. His gifts to each of us are for the doing and for the getting done of the group.
Fellowship - Living the Sacrifice
Healthy and functional personal faith requires a steady diet of healthy and functional personal fellowship; a truth lost on so many of the disengaged believers of today.
It is up to the selfless sacrifice of individual members committed and invested into the fully functional gathering, the putting aside of their private notions of shape and form and internal function with a renewed focus on pure and effectual external function.
We must be mindful daily to present this ideal to our brethren, to our neighbors, to our strangers, to our selves in the mirror.
- Practical Applications:
- Hide and Seek
- Connect the dots