In most Bible-believing and Bible-teaching churches, we are well-acquainted with the Biblical teaching on spiritual gifts (e.g., 1 Corinthians 12).
We understand that there are various gifts and various results from those gifts (vv. 4-5) and that God is sovereign over both the giving of the gifts and the effectiveness of the gifts (vv. 6-7). He is willing both according to His desires (vv. 11, 18). And the reason for the diversity of the gifting is to create unity and interdependence in the church body — we are one body, and all the members of that one body need each other (vv. 12, 14-19). Furthermore, there are gifts that are more prominent and gifts that are less prominent, but both are necessary and both are honorable (vv. 20-26).
We are quick to give assent to those truths.
But do we believe them?
If we believe these truths, they invite questions of self-examination about the way we function in and relate to the church body. For instance,
- Am I jealous of the gifting or effectiveness of others in the church body? (Don’t be too quick to answer “no” to that question.) Does it bother me when others receive praise or I wonder why another who seemingly is less gifted has greater prominence and effectiveness?
- Do I rejoice in the effectiveness of others in the church body?
- Do I work to honor the use of the gifts of all others — even those who are seemingly less significant?
- Is the diversity of gifts in my church body producing unity and harmony in my church body?
- Am I discontent with my spiritual gifts or the effectiveness of my gifts? If so, is that indicating a lack of trust in God or an anger against His providential workings in my life and my church body?
- If my gifting is less prominent in the body, do I rejoice in the use of those whose gifting is more prominent?
- Can I thank God for my gifts and for the gifts of all others in my church body?