The sun has an unusually enormous amount of gravity. It uniquely pulls all of its own mass into a nearly perfect sphere. This is for good reason. The core of the sun is so hot, its temperatures and pressures create fusion reactions—homemade energy. The colossal quantities of light, pressure, and energy beaming from its core counterbalance its gravity and reach out into space for multiple light years.
The earth also benefits from gravity and contributes to life as we know it. Gravity holds together air pressure so we can breathe. It does the same for plant life, which in turn feeds us oxygen. It is responsible for the rising and falling of tides. The moon, a much smaller mass than the earth, still has its fair share of gravity. As it rotates around the earth, its gravity causes the tides to rise.
At a more personal level, gravity helps our muscles, bones, and various other systems to function properly. All human movement is dependent on gravity. Progression itself, if you think about it, exists in a movement whereby the center of gravity is allowed to fall slightly in the direction of motion. Don’t think so? Try walking without leaning.
If these masses were not infused with gravity, they would not function in a way that is suitable for life. Even human beings use gravity for the betterment of themselves and others. Being productive is a matter of learning and developing the tools to work effectively within gravity’s power, and in some real way, by gravity’s power.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.Ephesians 4:15-16
Spiritually, Not Spontaneously
In the past lesson, we introduced the idea that the body of Christ is made up of individual people. Each person was personally called by God and drawn into the body by the Holy Spirit. It is no accident, no coincidence, and it is not without purpose. We learned the purpose of our call, but what about the purpose of our function?
God joins and holds together the whole body “by every joint with which it is equipped” (Eph. 4:16). According to the text, the church is equipped with its members and by its members. Every member has been spiritually gifted to function in a specific way to contribute to the greater purpose. “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph. 4:7).
This passage packs a lot. For starters, it tells us Christ has given us grace, which means “favor,” and it is translated in other passages as “gift.” It emphasizes a transaction that was undeserved. We did not earn God’s grace. Rather, He gave it freely. He also gave it decisively. It was given “according to the measure.” That is, He gave gifts as He desired, according to His purpose and will (Eph. 1:11), in different quantities and qualities. He also gave to “each one of us” so no one is left out. Every believer who was brought into the body of Christ has received a gift of grace by God.
This means that no one has an excuse. No one is without. No one is insignificant. Everyone plays a vital role in the body of Christ. Some, like the leaders of the church, are gifted people given to the church as gifts. Ephesians 4:11-12 says these leaders are gifted at teaching and equipping the members to perform in their particular gift. In other words, they “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:12).
Spiritual gifts are the workings of the ministry. They are spiritual channels through which the Holy Spirit works to build up the body of Christ in a special way. They are not spiritual gifts because we are spiritual or qualified above others to receive them. They are spiritual gifts because they are spiritually given and spiritually worked.
Unity, Not Uniformity
Each of us is gifted to maintain the unity of the faith. But, we are not all gifted the same. For God “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). He gives different gifts to different people. Different people with similar gifts have been gifted to use their gifts differently.
The body is designed to have unity, not uniformity. It is not for us to put each gift in a box with a label on it, but to understand that each of us has a blended measure of a variety of graces that together make our gift unique. For instance, several people might be gifted to teach. But, they are not all gifted to teach in the same way or with the same measure. One might teach one way with more mercies, while another in a different way with more technicality.
It is not that everyone with the gift of leadership leads the same way. Nor is it that everyone with the gift of giving gives the same way. Rather, everyone is unique, and everyone is vital. Each member functions in a way that no one else can function. If there were two who did the exact same thing, one would be redundant. But God made everyone in the body critical.
The implications are huge. We are to “work together with him” and not “receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1). In other words, don’t waste your gift. Don’t flounder the power God put inside you. Find it. Work it. Use it. And the body will grow.
There is no greater reward on earth than to be plugged into the body and helping it grow by functioning in the gifted role God designed for you. When you do, everything is wonderful. Everything is exciting. Everything works for God’s glory. Even when you face challenges, you are pleasantly filled with joy.
If you want to experience this joy, but don’t know what your spiritual gift is, here are some practical steps to find it. First, pray and ask God to make it known (James 1:5). Second, yield yourself to Christ (Rom. 6:13). Third, be continually filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Fourth, walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Fifth, serve with others and observe. God’s Spirit shines when we serve and submit to each other in the church. He will protect the church from your mistakes and guide you toward the specific function He has set aside for you. Once you’ve discovered your gift, seek to continually develop it for God’s glory and the work of ministry.
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Meditate on what you learned by downloading this free wallpaper design for your favorite device and letting it stir your affections toward God’s great work of joining and holding together His church through the gifts of grace.