Message Supplement for Sunday 19 January 2020: “Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts”

Today’s message from 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 opens with Paul’s positive greeting, which creates an inviting preface to God’s blessings.

It is relatively easy to think about blessings and spiritual gifts but it’s easy to take them for granted.

Christmas may be over but the most valuable gifts, those of the spirit, may await. Remain expectant for what God has for you. As you do so, you’ll find fuel for a more vibrant life. Don’t doubt what God is already doing: “for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:5). Are you ready to unwrap these spiritual gifts?

Paul argued that God provides something wonderful. The issue is how the gift of God’s presence is evident in the lives of believers “so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift” (1 Corinthians 1:7a). Paul suggests that your soul has been enriched through your faith, which itself is a sign of divine empowerment. Spiritual gifts can help extend your interpersonal relationships, which are the foundation of effective ministry. You reveal your spiritual gifts when you choose to think and behave in a way that displays God’s power. The challenge is to make your faith alive in your deeds as much as in your creeds. God encourages awakened persons to live in a manner that demonstrates spiritual power from the inside/out.

Controversy surrounds some spiritual gifts such as dramatic healings and speaking in tongues. However, you needn’t ignore the more subtle gifts such as helps, discernment, administration, and others that are less visibly prominent. The original intent of spiritual gifts was to build the foundation of the church amid intense persecution by both Jewish authorities and their Roman overlords. Now that the church has been around for almost two-thousand years, some question whether spiritual gifts are as necessary as they may have been in earlier times. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and claim divine promises and gifts rather than dismiss them as archaic or unattainable. First and foremost, seek from God what will help you achieve a holistic life where you can love both God and other people with your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Paul reminded believers that God would bless them until either the end of their lives or the return of Jesus—whichever might come first. Despite life’s uncertainties, God’s transformative presence demonstrates power and promise in the here-and-now. God responds to your yearning with a divine presence that equips you to endure trials and challenges.

Another gem you can mine from Paul’s passage in Corinthians is that you have great potential. As God’s child, you have purpose and direction. You don’t lack anything to achieve your fulfillment. Even the best of earthly social relations can’t replace renewal through God’s indwelling Holy Spirit (which is love itself and God’s very essence). Joy? Peace? Satisfaction? These and much more are elusive if you fail to awaken yourself to what God offers you. Do you thirst for a better life? If so, then make sure you’re open and looking in the right place.

As a person of faith, you have limitless possibilities. Equipped with spiritual gifts and bolstered by God’s blessings, you can face the future and not be destroyed by fear, ignorance and anger (the unholy trinity which plagues humanity). You can be confident that God will help you realize the love and truth activating your faith. Introduce yourself to transformation and restoration by unwrapping all the wonderful gifts that God has for you.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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