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Sunday, June 15, 2014

We Can!

understanding our god-given gifts and abilities, skills and abilities, Philippians 4:13
My husband knows he's not a writer. 

He doesn't even like texting. 

But when I managed and edited a devotional site, I learned not everyone understands their gifts like my husband does his. Some folks  "set their minds" on writing, "believe in themselves," and still aren't writers. 

And in the process, they lose opportunities to use their real gifts. 

We can waste our gifts pursuing "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:5-17). 

But we can also waste our gifts by failing to understand: 

1. Feedback--What do friends and family think we do well? 

2. Failures--What stresses us? What do we do badly? 

3. Opportunities--How has God developed and used our skills over time? (Hindsight.)

4. Desires--What brings us joy and purpose? This one is last because it's often misleading. ("Faith vs. Feeling.")

Bottom line: we can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13).

Insights for last week's Bible Study You Can't

1. We are each unique, designed for unique purposes:

Romans 12:3-8: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 

God wants us to be honest about our abilities (v.3). He didn't give everyone the same gifts (v.6) and He didn't assign each of us the same tasks in life. But He has meaningful purposes for all of us (Ephesians 2:10).

2. We must pursue God's purposes, not our own.

Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [your needs] will be given to you as well. 

The most obvious application of this Scripture is not worrying about our needs, but trusting God to take care of them as we seek His purposes for our lives. But I think it also applies to other "worries." 

I sometimes think I'm responsible for the results of my writing ministry. When this happens, I need to remind myself that my "assignment" is to seek God's kingdom and His purposes for my writing. I need to do this wisely, deliberately and diligently. But He's responsible for the results, not me. 

Parents: Don't encourage your children they can be anything they want to be--encourage them to seek God's will for them. For more on this "Nine Parts Flattery."

1 Peter 4:10-11:  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Our focus must always be glorifying God, not ourselves. 

There's nothing wrong with feeling good about ourselves because we've been good stewards of God's grace (v.10)--spoken the words God desired (v.11)--and operated in God's strength as we've used our gifts (v.11). This is part of thinking of ourselves "with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed" to us (see Romans 12:3 above). 

But focusing on ourselves and esteeming ourselves is stealing glory from God. God's Word repeatedly tells us to give God the glory.   

"To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
Couldn't end this study with a better phrase than that!  

Copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2014, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

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