Using Spiritual Gifts, part 4

We must stir ourselves up

Some believers have waited years for God to move on them to manifest a spiritual gift. But God says it’s our responsibility to first desire and believe and step out in faith to manifest the Spirit.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
–1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV

Paul reminded Timothy that a spiritual gift had been imparted to him when some elders had laid their hands on him and prophesied. The prophetic message revealed God’s intent to impart a particular spiritual gift to Timothy, and it was transferred by the power of Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.

In Romans 1:11, Paul wrote, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.”

Spiritual gifts may be imparted by the laying on of hands at the direction of Holy Spirit. The word impart means “to share or give over.” Impartation must be directed by God.

Paul reminded Timothy, then, not to be careless of, make light of, neglect, be negligent to use, or disregard this spiritual gift. It was Timothy’s responsibility to use his gifts.

We can have gifts that are lying dormant and unused if we neglect to do what it takes to use them.

Therefore I remind YOU to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
–2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV

Again, Paul reminded Timothy, “YOU must stir yourself up to use your spiritual gifts.” It was not God’s responsibility to rekindle his zeal for manifesting the Holy Spirit, it was Timothy’s.

Stir is the word anazopureo, meaning “to rekindle or stir up.” It comes from a combination of three words: one meaning “intensely,” one meaning “a live thing such as an animal or beast,” and another, meaning “fiery, fire, or lightning.” This is not a calm word!

Paul was insisting that Timothy “lively and intensely set yourself on fire to use your spiritual gifts!” I get the image of kids vigorously scrubbing their feet across the carpet to build up an electrical charge so they can really shock someone.

God said, “YOU do it!” We’re responsible to step out in faith, accept some risk, and use what God has given us.

How do you stir yourself up?

Paul wrote, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant” (1 Cor. 12:1 NKJV). You must not only understand spiritual gifts, but you must also be convinced it’s God’s will for you to move in them. This should be clear by now.

Besides tongues for personal edification, God may impart to you any of the nine gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:7–10. (God could give you any of them at any time to use in a ministry setting.)

We must also realize that we’re not perfect. We will make mistakes. But God doesn’t condemn us for trying to learn.

However, God will not accept us burying our gifts because we’re afraid we might make a mistake. So we remain humble, and give grace to others who make mistakes with the gifts.

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.
–Romans 12:6 NASB

Remember: gifts are given by God’s grace. We didn’t earn them. Whatever gifts we have, we are commanded to exercise them, to use them. How? By faith. The more we use them, the better we’ll get, and our faith will grow to use them even more.

You can also stir up the gifts by speaking in tongues. LOUDLY!

20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
–Jude 20–21 NIV

You build your faith by praying in tongues. Note in verse 21 that praying in the Spirit is also a way to keep yourself “in God’s love.” How are we to use the gifts? In love (see 1 Cor. 13).

Note also this verse has to do with expecting the Lord’s return. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit and His gifts to build up the Church to prepare it for His return.

Next time, we’ll learn that gifts are ours to use or lose.

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