Charles T. Studd wrote in his poem Only One Life, “Only one life, ‘Twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.” We only get one pass at life. That is all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ. What would it mean to waste my life? Or, more positively, what would it mean to live life well? The goal of our spiritual growth is to become more and more like Jesus. We tend to think of this as becoming more like Him in His character, but we need to remember that character leads to conduct. Jesus came to do the will of his Father. On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). If we are going to become like Jesus, we also must do the work God has given us to do.
We must look at how serving God is vital to our spiritual growth. If you are not serving then you are not growing. In 1Corinthians 12:12-27, the apostle Paul gives an extensive teaching on spiritual gifts. He outlines two overarching truths about spiritual gifts that God’s people must understand if we are going to avoid wasting our life.
As followers of Jesus, we are church members. Paul emphasizes unity not uniformity. Unity is about Jesus. Uniformity is about me. Christians are to be functioning members of a local church. Paul repeatedly refers to one body with many parts. God’s design for us as followers of Christ includes us being a member of a local church. The first priority after a person trusts Jesus as his Savior is to find a local church to be baptized and commit one’s life to the church’s fellowship and ministry. If you are not a functioning member of a local church I want to kindly, biblically, graciously and compassionately say you are living outside of God’s stated will for your life.
As followers of Jesus, we are saved to serve. God assigns to every believer an important function in the body. Just as God assigns to each of us a function in the body of Christ, He also equips each of us to fulfill this function. Spiritual gifts are gifts or abilities provided by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of strengthening the spiritual lives of those who are the objects of these ministries.
From Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, we can identify several principles regarding spiritual gifts.
- The purpose of spiritual gifts is to serve others and glorify God. There is no room for seeking recognition, fame or self-fulfillment.
- Every Christian has a gift and every gift is important. It is important to acknowledge this because so many Christians seem to have they attitude they do not have a gift.
- Every gift is given by God’s grace. You have the gifts you have because God desires to use you for His glory.
- All gifts must be developed and exercised. There is no place for anything less than excellence for God.
- The effective use of every gift is dependent on faith in Christ. Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
- Only Christlike love will give true value to our gifts. We may generate a lot of Christian activity, but without the love of Jesus for others it all amounts to nothing.
Don’t waste your life!