I, Shannon, started posting on this blog in June not really believing I could write weekly (or even monthly). I didn’t see it as a strength. But if you put me in front of hundreds of people to speak, I start shining!! J Jake, on the other hand, is an amazing writer. He has been writing since he was a child. We actually found some of his old “books” in our basement a few months back. But, due to our schedules, I had the opportunity to write these posts and realize that I might not be as comfortable doing it as speaking to people, but that when I pray about it then God takes over my fingers typing on the keyboard. And for Jake, it has been wonderful to watch me grow in multiple areas of communication, and in turn, as a person.
God gives us a specific place in the story of His Kingdom and has equipped us with certain strengths. We can and must allow our abilities to be a part of who we are to such a degree that it not only points to God, but points to God IN us. When we deny or completely dismiss these gifts that He gave us in our calling, we diminish ourselves and God’s place in our story. We must embrace our talents and offer them while remembering that we are not responsible for their presence in our lives. We go to God to receive our identity and calling and then we can offer our strength in humility.
Self-diminishment has its origin in shame, whereas humility stems from God’s glory within us. In Philippians chapter 2 we are told to not posture above nor stoop below them, but remember that we all are equal in God’s eyes.
When we experience life abundantly (what Jesus said He came to do in John 10:10), we are engaging with God in the story that He is writing and using all of the “tools” that He has given to us. There is a sermon given by Andy Stanley where he said we are authors of our story with God. We can hold the pen that God is using as we write the story of our life together. When we embrace the gifts and talents God has given us and use them for non-selfish means we are fulfilling our calling and it brings us to the abundant life that Jesus spoke about.
Another key element to remember is that Jesus said that we should love others “as we love ourselves.” We can’t love others if we hate ourselves. There is a reason why when you listen to the pre-flight emergency preparations you are instructed to put on your mask before you attempt to help others with theirs. You cannot help anyone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself first.
So we must let go of the false messages we believe about ourselves and embrace our God-given identity for the glory of God who has given us a splendor to our lives. We are created in His image after all!
This week we would like to challenge you to search inside yourself for your gifts. We each have them! To help, here is a list of the seven spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12: prophesy, service, teaching, counsel, giving, leadership and mercy. Comment with what you feel is your gift or gifts. We would love to know!
Have a great week!
~Shannon and Jake