220. Sacrifice, Transformation, Destiny – Redemptive Gifts (4)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

My redemptive gift (Romans 12:6-8) is how am I wired up or made that enables me to engage in the process of restoring creation (Rom 8:19-21).

We have seen that there are both positive and negative potential characteristics that go with each gift. Like me, perhaps you have been wondering why the negatives are there. So I asked God about it. I mean, from our point of view it would be much nicer if everything was just positive, wouldn’t it?

But He reminded me that it is through overcoming things that we mature and grow. That process teaches us to develop and maintain our dependence on Him, as we learn to trust Him and engage with Him. He is with us on that journey which brings us into the image of Christ. Adam was sinless when he was created, but he was not perfected – even if he had not sinned, he would still have needed to mature into the fullness of the stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

We need each other’s gifts so that we learn not to act independently. Other people outworking their gift contribute to helping us outwork our gift, and in a culture of honour, we allow one another to speak into our lives, to encourage and to challenge. That helps us maintain our humility, and stops us being arrogant, or full of ourselves. When we are aware of our weaknesses it becomes very clear that it is not all about who we are, but rather about who God is in us.

Do not focus on the negative

We have looked at the principles and blessings associated with each gift, and at some of the other factors that can influence how our gift works in us. In this post and the next, we are going to look at some of the negatives but it is important to realise from the outset that we can overcome all these things with the virtues that God puts in us and with the blessings inherent in the gifts. Do not focus on the negative but take any issues to God and allow Him to transform you into the image of Jesus. Our series on ‘Transformation’ can help with this process.

Associated with each redemptive gift are:

  1. a demonic stronghold where the enemy looks to engage,
  2. a root of iniquity, and
  3. curses associated with the birthright.

Below is a table which sets those things out for you, and you may recognise some of them outworking in your life. I am not going to go into detail here, but as I said, please take any issues to God and ask Him to show you how you can be transformed so that they can be overcome.

rg4-table
Click on the image to download this table as a PDF

Note: Arthur Burk has gained a great deal of revelation on this and taught on it much more fully. If you want to go into this more, I would encourage you to seek out his treatment of Redemptive Gifts on YouTube and elsewhere.

Let our spirit rule

We must learn to let our spirit rule over our soul. For years, before we became Christians, our soul ruled. Often it still tries to do so and gets into a mess by trying to use things of the world to meet the needs that God placed in us.

Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden, a picture of intimate relationship. And so in the process of our journey with God, coming into our identity and destiny, we must walk it out relationally with God. He is with us in this process: we are not on our own. We don’t have to do it in our own strength: we do it by surrender.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). We can allow God to lead and direct us, through the power and victory of the cross, so that we can be like Jesus and outwork all that He has for us.

Sacrifice and surrender

We cannot get around the fact that maturity and transformation come through sacrifice and surrender. We might wish for an easier way, but there isn’t one. If we choose not to sacrifice and surrender to God and allow Him to work it out, then we continually fight against Him and we continually have problems with our soul.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20).

Jesus was our example. He loved us and He gave Himself up for us so that we can enter a relationship with Him. And He wants us to do the same – to give ourselves up for Him.

Let’s apply the victory of the cross to our lives, stop living independently, and stop living selfishly. God wants us to be in relationship with Him, which is why we have to go through a process in which our soul gets transformed and changed. This scripture was the basis for the ‘Transformation’ series, so we probably know it really well by now:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1).

Right there, that is your destiny; that is your redemptive gift; that is your identity. It comes as you are transformed from the ways of nurture, nature and trauma that the world has imposed on you to come into what God says about you, and having your life operating in the good of that.

So the process is this: Sacrifice > Transformation > Destiny.

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219. Redemptive Gifts (3) and Other Influences

Mike Parsons – 

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom 12:6-8).

We are continuing to look at the seven redemptive gifts mentioned in these verses: Prophet, Servant, Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Ruler and Mercy. We receive those gifts at conception, and they affect the course of our lives. But there are other contributing factors that will also influence how the redemptive gifts are expressed in a person’s life.

Parenting

Every child’s parents have their own redemptive gifts, which impact how they view the world and how they raise their children. So the parents’ gifts will leave a very significant imprint on the children, independent of what the child’s own gifts are. Any potential character weaknesses of a parent’s gifting can shape the child as well.

If a child’s parents are servant and exhorter, for example, the child may grow up in a home where the exhorter is financially irresponsible and is living in denial. The servant parent will try to help meet the child’s need, and the child may grow up lacking the knowledge needed to be financially responsible and a good steward of resources, which will be a particular problem if their own gifting is giver!

On the positive side, a child who has the redemptive gift of prophet and is raised by an exhorter will most likely be much more relationally oriented than others with the gift of prophet.

Birth Order

Firstborn children tend to be more driven and perfectionist by nature. Second-born can be competitive or very passive, and the baby of the family is often much more relational and horizontally focused. Being firstborn can intensify all the strengths and weaknesses of any gift (perhaps double the benefit, but also double the challenges).

Maturity

A person’s level of maturity will colour how they live out the characteristics of their redemptive gift at different times in their life. Those who are immature (or those who are not seeking to live in the fruit of the Spirit) will exhibit the weaknesses of their gifts more than the strengths. Whilst none of us has reached perfection, we should all be working on our character issues to grow up to maturity. The recognised weaknesses of our gifting are not an excuse for immature behaviour.

Gender

It is easy to stereotype certain gifts such as prophet, ruler and teacher as being more masculine and servant and mercy more feminine, so that men often reject the idea of being a mercy or servant because they perceive it as being weak. In fact, the gifts of servant and mercy have some of the strongest spiritual authority.

Women with the gifts of prophet and ruler often find it hard to be accepted, validated, and nurtured in a church setting, since the natural boldness and strength of their gifts can intimidate some men who traditionally occupy those roles.

Both men and women need to see the beauty of God’s design, instead of trying to be something other than who God made them to be.

Woundedness

Everyone has experienced painful situations and relationships that have left them wounded. Wounds can change our perception of ourselves and of God.

For example, someone who grew up with an abusive authority figure may become very self-sufficient and independent because they believe they have to make it through life on their own. If they are an exhorter, servant or mercy gift, this will seriously conflict with how God designed them to function.

How we are broken, the pain in our soul, our wrong response to pain, the coping mechanisms, and how we compensate for those wounds will influence how our gift is expressed. Any walls of self-protection we build as a way of surviving painful circumstances may hinder the proper expression of our gifting.

Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain

Whether a person is right-brained or left-brained is an organic issue.

Right-brained people tend to see the whole picture. They are generally more creative and emotional because emotional concepts and messages operate in the right half of the brain. Left-brained people see the various parts, process logically and in a linear fashion, and think more strategically.

Some people have a fairly effective blend between the two sides of the brain and can transition between them with ease, whilst others may be dominated by one side or the other.

Each of the gifts will be expressed differently, depending on whether the person is right-brained or left-brained. For example, a left-brained teacher will look different from a right-brained teacher. Left-brained teachers will enjoy spending hours researching in the lab or in the library, whereas right-brained teachers will flourish in the classroom and light up when their students “get it”.

Prophet and ruler tend more toward being left-brained in their basic God-given essence and expression, whilst the servant and mercy gifts are more right-brained and therefore may tend to be more emotional and expressive through actions, rather than vocally.

Culture and Time Frame

The family, community and time in history in which a person lives can have a radical impact on how they perceive themselves and express their gift.

A woman with a gift of ruler who lives in a culture where women are subservient will likely have a large reservoir of untapped potential if she is not given an opportunity to shine.

Your nation and family of origin also have an impact.

Your family and your community or country have influenced you because of what they needed or what was expected. If you were raised in a nation with a redemptive gift of prophet (such as the United States or Germany), you will have a natural affinity for more of the characteristics of prophet, because it is what your culture affirms and cultivates. But this does not mean that your redemptive gift is prophet.

While we are on that subject, notice that redemptive gifts are not restricted to individuals. Nations, regions, cities and churches have them too. Here are some more examples of the gifts of nations, as identified by Arthur Burk:

England – Ruler
Wales – Exhorter
Scotland – Prophet
Ireland – Teacher
Brazil – Giver
Canada – Mercy
France – Exhorter
Germany – Prophet
India – Servant
Italy – Exhorter
Netherlands – Giver
Norway – Mercy
Spain – Prophet
USA – Prophet

In summary, then, we may not know a particular individual’s redemptive gift, but we can observe the external behavioural characteristics of the seven gifts. We can observe whether someone is quiet or verbally expressive, whether they prefer to work alone or to be in a group, or whether they are task-oriented or relational-oriented. But we need to bear in mind that we cannot always tell just from observation whether what we see is a true expression of their redemptive gift or is being affected by one or more of the influences we have mentioned.

Here again are the links we gave last time, to questionnaires which can help you identify your own primary and secondary redemptive gifts. But before you jump into them, you might like to read what Arthur Burk thinks of tests such as these!

[Please remember that all of these are only indicators which may give different results, and that those results may be skewed because of the ‘other factors’ we have looked at in this post].

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218. Principles and Blessings – Redemptive Gifts (2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We saw in the last post that every redemptive gift has a particular principle that operates with it, and a blessing or birthright that goes with it as well.

The ‘principle’ is simply how things are designed to work, or (if you are looking for something more technical) it can be defined as a universal, non-optional, cause-and-effect relationship. The ‘birthright’ or ‘blessing’ is how creation and people are supposed to benefit from our gifts.

Let’s look at the principles and birthrights of each gift in more detail:

Prophet

  • Principle: Design – the art of weaving principles together in order to produce change.

God speaks to prophets before He does anything (Amos 3:7), because prophets are wired to bring about change. The principle of design is foundational to all the other principles. God has called the prophet to study principles (to look at problems and opportunities) and assemble them into sets that produce results.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The passion of the prophet is to take themselves and others to the outer limits of excellence with God, to explore the boundaries of what is possible (and nothing is impossible with God). The prophet wants to demolish barriers and expand our understanding so that we can go further.

The prophet will display a picture of God so dynamic and real that it moves people out of their comfort zones (which can become prisons) and into a journey that will bring them to fulfilment of all God created them to be.

Servant

  • Principle: Authority.

God gives more spiritual authority to servants than to other gifts precisely because they will not use it for their own ends. They are not infected with the empire-building germ like the other gifts. The servant’s prayers for leaders carry more weight than other gifts.

The servant has the highest level of authority over the Death Spirit in spiritual warfare because God desires to set people free and servants serve the needs of others. God trusts the servant to do only what He has asked them to do.

Authority over land (restoration of ecology) comes naturally to those with a servant gift.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The servant walks in holiness in their own life. They are willing to embrace a high calling of holiness and bring a sense of purity and cleanliness.

When the servant hears truth spoken it resonates deeply.

The servant has the tenacity to reach out to the wounded and hurting (not limited to, but especially in, family situations).

The servant finds fulfilment in being a life-giver to enable others to do their work.

They provide cleansing and authority to others.

There is a deep desire to empower others to achieve their best.

Teacher

  • Principle: Responsibility

The teacher is to walk in responsibility in every area of their life.

Their highest responsibility is to worship God. They must make worship a lifestyle, that they would anticipate and enjoy being with God.

If the teacher is carnal they will be selectively responsible and unwilling to impose responsibility on others.

The teacher would prefer to work hard at persuading people to change, rather than confronting them (or their behaviour) head-on.

A teacher must realise that their relationship with God is of primary importance, because otherwise they will just be bringing theory. There is no value in expounding theoretical principles to others without having worked them out yourself.

  • Birthright/Blessing: Intimacy

The teacher must know who they are as they walk out God’s will and then reveal the manifest presence of God to the rest of the body of Christ. Again, this must come out of personal experience and not just study. The Lord wants to be present in the life of the teacher, having them experience and celebrate Him.

Exhorter

  • Principle: Sowing and Reaping

Exhorters will use their life experiences to help others: therefore they must embrace pain and suffering. The most difficult area for the exhorter is to suffer rejection. But they must confront sin and be willing to face rejection from within the community without becoming disheartened or taking it personally.

Exhorters must incarnate truth, must live it out, through the authority they receive via their own personal experience. An exhorter who has gone through pain and suffering is well placed to use their own testimony to help others who are experiencing the same.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

Know God personally and experientially, which involves taking some time away from people in order to truly know God and have His authority.

The body of Christ is dependent upon the exhorter becoming all God created them to be; God has called the exhorter to be a world changer!

Giver

  • Principle: Stewardship

The giver knows that God doesn’t want 10% of their finance/assets; He wants everything the giver is and has. This is about establishing relationship so that they are able to release blessing. Money is not the issue, it’s about their relationship with God.

Example: in Job 31:16, Job had an incredible relationship with God, and was a good steward of his money and assets. He walked in high justice, holiness and ethical behaviour in all that he did.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The blessing for the giver is to release a generational anointing. The giver has the authority to release a generational blessing into their family line and community and be a life-giver through blessing (and again, this is not just about money). Givers have a desire to see others succeed and prosper in fulfilling their destiny; they give to enable others.

The giver is to have a generational worldview – to think long-term.

Example: Abraham received authority from God and passed it on. He changed the world and was considered a friend of God.

Ruler

  • Principle: Freedom

The ruler is to go from bondage to obedience to freedom. But rulers have the tendency to be focused on task and do what’s required – and not walk in freedom. The ruler must learn to walk in spiritual freedom.

Like the giver, they are good at making things happen in the natural, but God wants this to be in the context of total dependence upon Him. The ruler is to be first of all righteous.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

Generational freedom from sin.

The ruler is to release generational blessings into the world and the spiritual realm. The ruler who honours God and goes beyond obedience will possess a high level of spiritual authority. The ruler is called to express that immense authority in the heavens and release it to the generations.

Examples: David, a man after God’s own heart, and Noah.

The ruler must seek God to find out what He has called them to do and then honour Him in walking it out.

No other gift has the spiritual dominion that the ruler has.

Mercy

  • Principle: Fulfilment

By design, the mercy is able to engage spirit to Spirit with God. This is the highest fulfilment for the mercy, who loves intimacy with God. In Hebrew thought, every end is a new beginning, so the mercy needs to find fulfilment – if things are partially done, they struggle.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The mercy finds fulfilment in God and imparts blessing to others.

As the mercy is sanctified they sanctify their environment (time, people, place) and are able to transform the sinful into the holy.

Where do I fit?

In going through these characteristics, I encourage you to ask ‘Where do I fit?’, ‘What is it that I resonate with when I read these things?’ so that you begin to see how God has made you to be. Some of us may need to stop fighting against these characteristics and embrace them, especially if the way we have been brought up, or other people’s opinions, have caused us to undervalue or even reject them.

Here is a link to a PDF ‘Redemptive Gifts Survey‘ which you can use to help you identify your primary and secondary gifts: http://bit.ly/2gOFX8i.

If you would like more detailed questionnaires which open as Excel spreadsheets and do the calculations for you, you can find examples of those here (#1)  and here (#2).

Please note that Arthur Burk, an acknowledged expert in the field, says that even the best tests he has seen are only about 60% accurate and he declines to use them! So do bear in mind that all of these are only indicators and may give different results. We will look at some of the reasons for this inaccuracy next time.

Appreciate the other gifts

We need to learn to appreciate our own gifting. And the reciprocal argument is also valid: let’s acknowledge that people with different gifts to us will think and operate in ways we just don’t understand. We need to learn not to be frustrated, but to appreciate! This is part of a culture of honour. We will more readily live in harmony if we recognise that God has hard-wired each one of us to respond to Him in a unique fashion. In music, harmony is created when a number of different but related notes are played together to create a really pleasing sound. We are not all the same, but God has called us to relate together.

Appreciating this can be really helpful if we are working in a team on any kind of project because we can assign tasks to individuals in line with their gifting – and avoid asking people to carry out tasks for which their gift is not suited. Let’s learn to honour the different gifts in one another and receive the blessing and benefits which those gifts confer.

Yet how many of our churches function in ways that reward those who conform and marginalise those who don’t? How would it be if we were to learn instead to prize distinctiveness rather than uniformity, as God does, and to see how beautiful diversity can be in making us a ‘whole church’?

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Header image credit: Meme created using background image ‘Ever Present’  by JD Hancock. Used under Creative Commons licence.
Original image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/5545810212