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Divinely Powered For God's Glory

1 Peter 4:11
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. (NIVUK)

What we say, matters.  Especially if we claim to be speaking the truth from God (1 Thessalonians 2:4).  Every follower of Jesus, born-again by His Spirit, has been given special abilities to bring God's truth and love to a sin-sick world (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).  These gifts are given by God, to achieve His purposes through His amazing power.  These are God's instruments for spiritual surgery, to bring truth and love to hopeless people.  But like any surgical instrument, they are tools and not toys.  And God’s words are tools designed to be used with precision to dissect truth from error, in our minds and motives (Hebrews 4:12).  

Tools, when correctly used, achieve a specific purpose, but toys are playthings, to amuse the pleasure seeker.  Alas, some Christians misuse God's gifts as toys, dulling their proper use, despising God's intentions, and frustrating His plans.  So those who are gifted with 'word gifts' (such as evangelism, preaching/prophecy, teaching, words of knowledge, and tongues), are at risk of stealing God's glory if they use them as opportunities for personal power.  Peter says that such people need to be conscious that God wants to use their mouth for His purpose, and not theirs.

People who have been given practical gifts should also commit their use to God - so that His strength is evident and His work done; and not their ego boosted.  Ability is one thing, but how best to use that ability is a God inspired matter, and they must be used in love with the motive of building up the other person (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).  All God’s gifts are given with the same intention, that other people will be made strong in Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13) and that grateful people will praise God (Matthew 5:16) because their lives are transformed (2 Corinthians 9:13).
 
One day, every knee will bow to Jesus Christ because everybody will have to admit that He is supreme (Philippians 2:9-11).  Until then, Christians are supposed to understand this truth and practise submitting everything to Him (Philippians 2:5-8).  As they do so, others will see how great and glorious God is: and they will have the opportunity to submit to His grace also.  As someone has said, "The only gospel that others can see is the gospel according to you and to me"!  If we use God's gifts for His glory, He will do amazing things in bringing transforming grace to the hearts and homes of our friends and colleagues.

Prayer 
Lord God. Thank You for giving spiritual gifts to all Your people. Please forgive me for my wicked selfishness when I have used Your sacred gifts to advance my name and status, prosperity and power instead of Yours. Help me to honour the privilege You have given to me in supplying these gifts, and help me to be conscious of the importance of using them so that everybody can see how great You are. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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