Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Shadow Side of Spiritual Gifts

SHADOW SIDES are there in all good things – the spiritual gifts are no exception. The spiritual gifts are Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy (these contained within Romans 12:6-8); Words of wisdom, Words of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healings, Miracles, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of tongues (these contained within 1 Corinthians 12:8-10); Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Miracles, Kinds of healings, Helps, Administration, Tongues (these contained within 1 Corinthians 12:28); Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher (these contained within Ephesians 4:11); and, Whoever speaks, and Whoever renders service (these contained within 1 Peter 4:11).
To each of these gifts is a shadow side, where the flesh within, the world without, and Satan, might attract to the use of these gifts a perversion that we need simply to be aware of.
Such a perversion is the tainting of anything good to make it less (or more) than it should be, typically because we have pushed it to the extremes of either laziness or ambition; ambivalence or exploitation for selfish gain.
My personal gifting is in Mercy, Pastor, Teaching, Administration, and Prophet. The shadow side to my gifting is doing acts of mercy to build my own low self-esteem; to shepherd people primarily out of my own brokenness needs; to teach that which is truth, but not the full truth; to under or over administer; and to read what God gives me wrong or, worse, read and heed the enemy.
The difference between the use of our spiritual gifts for the Kingdom and the shadow use of our spiritual gifts is the input, obedience, and glory of the Holy Spirit. If I serve focused on God and his purposes, the gifting is used obediently and for God’s glory. If, however, I use my gifting devoid of God, there is a tainting to the gift, and the gift can become a curse.
Spiritual gifts rely upon our reliance on the Holy Spirit to steer and guide our gifting.
If we serve focused on our own gain, timing, and desires, we forfeit what could be gained for the glory of the Lord.
If we surrender ourselves, on the other hand, we become powerful tools in the hand of God.
It is up to us and our conditional reliance on the Spirit that first transforms our lives before he can transform another’s life we are ministering to.
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Spiritual gifts rely upon our reliance on the Holy Spirit to steer and guide our gifting. The shadow side is the use of our spiritual gifts inappropriately, for which we are to become aware and avoid.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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