A spiritual gift is a concept in Christianity that refers to an extraordinary power given to each person by God, our Creator, through the Holy Spirit. God has given each of us a different gift according to His plan and purpose for our life. It is our responsibility to seek Him and use our gifts to strengthen the church (the people; not the building) and share the message of Christ.
The Bible refers to spiritual gifts in multiple places; giving examples and direction on what we are to do with the gifts He has given us.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV
We shouldn’t be jealous or envious of another person’s gift(s), God has chosen and designed each of us for a specific purpose- tailored to who we are called to be- in Him.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let usprophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:6-8 NKJV
I myself have often “wished” I had other gifts. However, I quickly began to learn to stop chasing “dreams” that were not meant for me. Stop wasting my gifts, to pursue and wish away my life trying to be something or someone I am not called to be. To start embracing what God has equipped me to do and who He called me to be in His kingdom.
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 NKJV
I encourage each person to dig into God’s word-spend time in prayer- and discover who You are and what gift(s) God has blessed you with.
Then, I encourage you to find ways to use and share your gift(s) with others.
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11 NKJV
Discovering who you are in Christ and seeking to fulfill your purpose in Him is the most freeing decision you could ever make. Learning to embrace and even celebrate the things that make you “different” releases the pressure of feeling the need to measure up to someone else’s standard.
Thank you for being a father who loves us and has chosen us before we were born. Thank you Lord, for blessing each of us with spiritual gifts to grow Your kingdom and share the good news of Jesus Christ. I confess that often times I get wrapped up chasing “dreams” of this world and lose focus of seeking Your purpose for my life. Lord, I pray that You would lead me and guide me in the way You want me to go. Show me the gifts you have blessed me with and how You want me to use them to glorify You. Thank you Lord for Your many blessings in Jesus mighty name I pray.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV) Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the rives, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Did you know the most important part of a tree is its’ roots? This is because the roots are what absorbs the water and nutrients and anchors the tree to stand up-right.
I would like to illustrate the similarities in the importance of the roots of a tree that can stand strong and withstand storms of all kinds and the roots in our life to form an inner tree of faith, hope, and strength, so that we may be prepared when the storms of life come crashing down on us.
In the photo of the tree, you can see that there are lots of roots, covering a lot of ground spreading as wide below, as the tree above the ground; this is what nurtures the tree and makes it grow and stand strong. The stronger and more established the roots are; the bigger, stronger, and more fruitful the tree becomes.
Great! I’m getting a lesson on tree structure, not really what I was hoping to read in this post.. Not quite.. Stay with me here…
Let me break down the tree structure in comparison to our daily lives and character make-up. Let me show you how important it is to be rooted in the Word of God, so that when the storms of life coming roaring through, you can stand strong, just like a tree that’s planted by the water, you shall NOT be moved!
Roots: Your inner being, what you put your faith, hope, and time into. Is it God and His Word? Something of good substance that rings true and is the same today, tomorrow, and always, the promises from our Father, God?
Hebrews 13:8-9 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Or is it your own views, rules, and made up morals based on a worldly view of your life experiences; things you have been through, people who have hurt you, lost dreams/goals, experiences that did not go as YOU had thought they should?
Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
Tree roots are what hold the tree up-right.
Trunk: Your body and soul, your human existence, your literal being, your identification, the part of you that goes through the day to day motions of life.
Colossians 3:1-2 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The trunk is the stem and main axis of a tree, which is an important feature in tree identification, and which often differs markedly from the bottom of the trunk to the top, depending on the species.
The trunk of the tree changes as it grows, and is only as strong as the roots holding it up-right.
Branches: Your trials and triumphs, your difficulties and blessings, your pain and joy; and all that this life brings to you.
John 16:33 (NKJV): These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Tree branches will grow to give the most leaves the most light, even if that means growing sideways.
Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and hope.
Seeds, Fruit, Flowers, Leaves: What a tree produces and how much, depends on your choices in life and how well you maintain a good set of roots as you grow. This applies to trees in nature and the metaphoric tree that makes up your life that I speak of in this article.
Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)- “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
So what does all of this mean?
Trees need wind and storms to blow through to nourish them, help them grow stronger and deepen their roots. Which then in turn causes the tree to grow larger and become even more beautiful and purposeful. This is much like our own character and spiritual life.
The roots are what beliefs, morals, habits, practices, thoughts, and everything in between that goes in to you, what you turn to in times of trouble. If you have strong, well maintained roots when a storm comes, you will not be shaken. Instead, the storm will strengthen you and bring to life new and purposeful fruit. Your branches and trunk will be strong and used for many things. Just as a tree branch can provide shade on a sunny day, nesting for birds, and oxygen; your unfortunate life circumstances can be used for good; to help someone else in a time of need, lead others to a relationship with Christ, or even to teach others of the need to strengthen their roots; just to name a few.
Matthew 19:26 (NKJV) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
However, if a tree is not properly cared for or is exposed to elements out of its’ control the tree will not take root or the existing roots will begin to dry out and die. This of course weakens the entire being of the tree. Then when wind and storms come roaring through the tree will sway from side to side, unable to withstand the storm, branches begin cracking off, bark begins peeling, and eventually the right storm comes through and completely up-roots and destroys the tree all together.
Jeremiah 17:5-6: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And make flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
No matter if your currently standing strong and anchored with roots in God’s Word or if you stand today swaying side to side, waiting for the next storm to be the one that completely destroys you. There is hope you can strengthen your roots in God, the one whom sustains us.
II Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Before we explore tips on strengthening the roots in which we stand, lets take time to reflect on what we have went over so far.
Take time to reflect and analyze your “roots”. Be honest with yourself and God.
As you stand today when a storm arises, what is your first response?
Do you open a Bible or seek God’s direction? Or do you run to your nearest friend and begin venting and gossiping, do you search for your own answers for the “quick fix”, maybe you run to things that make it even worse; drugs, alcohol, and unbiblical sex.
Think of a time recently that something went “wrong” or you had an unexpected event happen in your life. Got it? How did you react, what did you feel? Think about the event in detail from start to finish.
When wind and storms come do you embrace it and allow your roots to grow deeper by seeking God and His will? Believing that although this event or circumstance is not ideal something good will come of it. Do you branch out and look for the light no matter what? Even if it means going in a way in which you did not intend? Do you search for a way to use this new branch to provide light necessary for continued healthy growth, in order to produce great fruit. Or do you “throw in the towel”, sit and wonder why me, how can this happen, nothing ever goes my way, and on and on with the negative self-destructive thought process?
Thinking of that same event.. Looking back, how do you feel about the event/circumstance now? Do you believe you handled it well and “stood strong” in the wind or do you think the winds blew and you swayed side to side, barely holding on, hoping that it wasn’t the storm that finally destroyed you? Would you like to have reacted differently?
Good news! If you, up to this point in life, have been guilty of being part of the destruction of your own healthy roots you can make the choice to change that today! This is a process, take it from someone who is working through it themselves, it does not happen overnight. However, I am here to tell you that it works, as I continue to seek God and to establish strong roots in Him and His word, I continue to grow stronger in Him and am able to withstand the storms that come my way by relying on His promises and Truth as my roots that anchor me.
Here are some things that I do to help me keep my roots strong and growing:
Pray without ceasing (When you wake up.. pray, before you eat.. pray, before you make decisions.. pray, in all you do, pray)
Let Matthew 6:33 be stuck in your head at all time “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Try to spend at least 10-15 mins of quiet time with God each day. (praying, reading, writing, seeking whatever you choose)
Read the Bible.
Use note cards to memorize scripture (For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:4-5)
Pray the Bible.
Give thanks to God in all you do and for all you have.
Celebrate the small victories as you grow and strengthen your roots. (Remember this is a process)
When the storm comes.. STOP! (Stop talking, stop acting, stop everything)
Pray, Pray, Pray!
As I wrap up this article I pray God uses this word to teach you something new, to help you grow in your relationship with Him, and to discover new ways of handling life’s storms. I pray you no longer wait for the storm to pass but learn to dance in the rain, as God brings you through each season in life. I pray you are rooted in His word and truth and that you would always seek first His kingdom. I pray you put your trust, hope, and faith in Him. That faith in God would be the anchor to your soul and hope for your future. May God bless you beyond your imagination and give you peace that surpasses all understanding. In Jesus name I pray.