222. Complementary Gifts – Redemptive Gifts (6)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

When we first began looking at the different redemptive gifts that Paul lists in Romans 12:6-8, we saw that each had a colour associated with it. The colours have frequency and vibration that we resonate with in the spiritual realm. And we recognise that when the different coloured flags and banners are waving in our meetings, they open up particular spiritual connections.

But also associated with each gift are different primary areas of the soul:

  • Prophet – Red – Mind
  • Servant – Orange – Will
  • Teacher – Yellow – Mind
  • Exhorter – Green – Emotions
  • Giver – Blue – Mind
  • Ruler – Indigo – Will
  • Mercy – Violet – Emotions

The spirit/soul wheel

In this diagram the colours represent the gifts and are linked to the soul areas associated with them.

spirit-soul-wheel

If we are looking to overcome the stronghold areas in our gift, we can use the complementary areas of the soul to do that. These are the areas next to our own gift, both clockwise and counter-clockwise on the wheel. So, for example, red is the prophet gift which operates primarily in the mind. To overcome the weaknesses in the prophet gift you need the servant gift’s soul area, the will, and the mercy gift’s soul area, the emotions.

The most effective way of achieving this in community is to get alongside people with complementary gifting/soul areas, because you will be able to provide a perspective that each of them needs as well as drawing on them yourself. You may even find yourselves naturally drawn together in relationship because you instinctively know that you need one another’s support and help. This is why it is so important for us to overcome any mutual suspicion or distrust of our differences and to honour God’s gifts in one another.

Follow the wheel around and you will see that each gifts needs the strengths of two other gifts.

How does this work? There are connections between the human spirit and the human soul. Each portion of the human spirit is connected to a portion of the human soul. So we need our spirit to engage with our soul to enable it to be led and directed into the things that God wants. A culture of honour and a dependence on each other (in a right sense) will enable each of us to be a fully functioning individual – and together to become a fully functioning body.

Calling forth

God wants to call forth our spirit, and to call forth those gifts in us, so that we will be able to function in the things He has called us to. Just as the Father spoke over Jesus He wants to speak over us as His children today. He wants to speak truth, to call forth His desires for us.

So now, I encourage you to be open to the Holy Spirit. Let’s open up our spirit to hear what He says over us. The gathering angels come as He speaks, to help us remove some of the things He does not want in us. Seraphim angels come with fiery coals from the altar to bring healing and wholeness as they touch areas of our lives. He does not want to just speak to our minds, He wants to engage our emotions, our will, our imagination, our conscience, our choice. He wants to engage through our spirit: through reverence, fear of the Lord, faith, hope, prayer, intuition, revelation, worship – He wants to engage us fully as a person.

Let’s take a few moments to sense His presence: Father, Son and Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts, speaking to our spirits, calling forth those redemptive gifts of sonship which He has placed within us. Hear what God is speaking over us:

I call forth your identity as My child.
I call forth your redemptive gifts.
I call forth your identity as an overcomer and a conqueror.
I call forth your ability to subdue and to rule your soul.
I call you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
I release the gathering angels to expose and remove stumbling blocks and lawlessness from your life, to expose and remove demonic strongholds, to expose and remove iniquitous roots, to expose and remove birthright curses.
I call you to surrender and trust Me.
I call you to know your true identity, gift and destiny as My child.

cosmosGod intends us to be part of bringing all creation back into His original intention and purpose, that of redeeming not only this planet but the whole cosmos. True, we are imperfect people, but if we are willing to surrender to Him then He can do that through us.

He is looking for the response of our hearts: for us to say ‘yes’, to draw closer to Him, to allow Him deeper into our hearts, to let the barriers down so that He can bring healing to some of those deep areas of hurt and pain which we have been carefully protecting. Let’s allow our spirits to worship Him in freedom, and to open up our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit, the angels and the presence of God to bring healing, wholeness and restoration.

Let’s come into agreement with Him, let’s realign ourselves back into who we really are, so that we can come into wholeness, into peace, into that place of rest. Not striving or struggling but enjoying the relationship with God that He designed us to have, walking with Him in the cool of the day in the garden of our hearts and in the garden of heaven, we can bring heaven to earth and see His kingdom come, manifested here on earth as it is in heaven.

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221. “Does This Apply To Me?” – Redemptive Gifts (5)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are going to look at some of the behavioural characteristics again in each of the redemptive gifts found in Romans 12:6-8. However, just because you have a particular gift that does not necessarily mean you will have all of the strengths and weaknesses associated with it. As we saw a couple of posts ago, there are all kinds of reasons why the way each of us expresses a particular gift will be different from how others express it. And if you are more mature in the faith, you may well be developing some of the strengths and overcoming some of the weaknesses already.

So as you consider these things, I suggest you just ask God ‘does this apply to me?’

Prophet – black and white

The prophet sees things in terms of black and white, right and wrong: a simplistic worldview in which it is imperative to make sense of everything. As a result, the prophet is able to assess situations quickly and discern whether they are good or bad. Prophets will seize the initiative quickly, and like new things, especially those that threaten the status quo. They are quick to form an opinion, and have no qualms about expressing it without reservation.

But prophets are likely to be moody and to experience emotional highs and lows. They may tend to be impatient or find difficulty with timing in other ways. They are quite hard on themselves, so may struggle to forgive themselves. If an organisation is running well, don’t ask a prophet to maintain it – he or she will try to change it, ‘improve’ it, or quit. Because they don’t do ‘maintaining’ or the ‘status quo’, they can find it hard to maintain excellence, and need vision to see the next ‘new thing’. They can also be poor at maintaining relationships with others.

Servant – meeting needs

Servants are very practical, adept at seeing needs and meeting them. They are committed to the present moment, to meet present needs. They are disposed towards saving things that they or others might need in the future, but not always in an organised way. They have very few enemies, and are considered ‘safe’ people. They extend honour readily to others, because they always see the best (or the potential) in them. They rarely get angry, but when they do it usually revolves around questions of loyalty, and then watch out! They have a purity of motive like no other gift, never counting up what’s owed to them or holding a grudge.

The servant is a team player, relatively free from the desire to build his own kingdom.

But in thinking the best of others, servants may make excuses for them (especially their own children) and conversely struggle with their own self-worth, apologising for themselves while serving others. They struggle to see their innate value and don’t readily believe God’s truth about themselves or their calling. They may be unable to affirm themselves or accept affirmation from other people, especially around excellence in work.

Their desire to help may draw them into enabling others’ neediness by doing things for them instead of teaching them and empowering them to act for themselves. They will often become anxious by taking on other people’s problems and worries, and be disproportionately affected by disappointment. Because they have a strong desire to please, they can find it hard to say ‘no’ (even to mutually exclusive demands), so are often both overcommitted and taken for granted. They risk being easily victimised and exploited and may attract dishonour (especially at home) which they fail to resist even as they honour others.

Teacher – validating truth

The teacher typically has a need to validate truth. Teachers usually do not normally receive or reject new ideas – or people – right away. They tend not to overreact or jump the gun but make new decisions slowly and carefully. They like to save things.

Teachers are highly relational, with a great sense of humour, and may have a reputation as emotionally safe individuals because they can listen to someone’s brokenness and sin without rejecting them. Very patient and slow-tempered, they will usually be the last to speak in a group.

They are unwilling to begin a process until they can see how it’s going to turn out, and can be indecisive, impractical and theoretical. They are self or ministry focused and often unwilling to confront or challenge others. They find it hard to return phone calls and are typically late, not good with handling money and poor at returning borrowed items. They usually resist using human illustrations.

Exhorter – a party waiting to happen

Highly relational, the exhorter has the ability to understand and relate well to others, often forming an instant rapport with strangers. The exhorter is able to avoid alienation and maintain relationship even though solidly disagreeing (and even arguing loudly) with the other party. Family is very important, and the exhorter will always seek to nurture and facilitate family members.

A high energy person, natural leader, dramatic (often melodramatic), an obsessive-compulsive verbal expressive master communicator who governs (and is governed) by persuasion rather than principle. May have a tendency to seek the approval of others, and their flexibility allows them to abandon a plan easily.

The exhorter is finely attuned to feelings, which may lead them into prioritising people over God. In fact, exhorters can struggle to spend time with God, partly because of their time management issues. They do not always prioritise their best abilities and may spend (waste) their time doing things which would be better left to others.

They can seek to rule by relationship, leading them to be manipulative and controlling (though with the best possible intentions). Non-confrontational by nature, they will wait for an opportunity to get the best out of any situation rather than knocking down hurdles and making things happen. Exhorters often have an immense heart for evangelism but stop short of actually sharing the gospel overtly.

Giver – flexible, adaptable

This is the most diverse, adaptable and flexible of all gifts.

The giver is designed not to be needy, so is very independent, not looking to others for help. Insightful and intuitive, the giver can look at a problem and see a solution without anyone else’s input. A good listener, for the other person’s sake not their own.

The giver is not a big risk-taker, cannot be hustled and accepts the need to accrue money before giving. Givers tend to be cautious and concerned about safety and can look at themselves objectively, without shame.

But their independence can include independence from God. Faith, being a risk issue, is hard for a giver who needs a sure thing and whose security is likely in money or family. Caution can lead to overprotective behaviour and to giving mental assent rather than heart agreement.

The giver may lack holiness, and find it hard to receive from God and others.

Ruler – thriving under pressure

The ruler is skilled at time management, thrives under pressure, and expects the same of others!

Rulers readily own their problems, but will be their own solution and do not have a welfare mentality. They are not interested in apportioning blame, only in how to fix a problem and move on. Empire builders, they are designed to look at things and want to make them bigger, so are really not into details. But they are implementors, who will take a vision, break it down into pieces, and make it happen. If necessary, rulers are able to stand alone on an issue of principle or integrity.

It is difficult for a ruler to partner with others unless loyalty is built. They are big on loyalty, which they see as far more important than competence in their colleagues and co-workers, and will draw the best out of imperfect people. They are expert in dealing with people in projects, but will not choose to place themselves on a team unless they know they are really wanted and have the loyalty of others.

Rulers have an innate ability to measure character. They don’t micro-manage, and hate to be micro-managed themselves, but do tend to be task oriented and neglect to nurture team members.

Empire building can quickly turn into self-aggrandisement. They may overlook the faults of others, lack moral authority and exhibit casual ethics: ‘the end justifies the means’. They can be overly independent and unwilling to volunteer.

Mercy – non-confrontational

The mercy gift finds common ground with just about everyone, so has few enemies (or none at all). Conversely, the mercy may have only 1 or 2 close intimate friends but many acquaintances with whom they are on friendly terms.

Easily confided in, non-judgmental, the mercy provides a safe place for wounded people and is able to pick out those who are troubled and to see through facades.

Mercies connect readily with the heart of God, very intuitive when it comes to following God’s leading, but may have difficulty explaining why they feel God is directing in a certain way. Their fierce anger usually only surfaces around issues of loyalty, and they have been known to take up offence on behalf of others. They can be drawn into spiritual warfare when someone they care for is being spiritually attacked.

They find it easy to blame themselves but difficult to express their own feelings. Stubborn in the nicest sort of way, they can be slow in making life transitions because it takes a while to disengage emotionally and move on.

The mercy gift loves beauty, and has a strong predisposition to worship, moving more easily into the presence of God than the other gifts.

The mercy hates confrontation, avoids issues, is indecisive on matters of right and wrong and unwilling to step on other people’s toes, so may allow injustice to continue and tolerate abuse and exploitation. The mercy may even have a tendency to be exploited and become a victim because of unwillingness to confront even a predator.

Being non-confrontational can lead into compromise, accepting a mixture of holy and unholy without calling people to do what is right. The mercy can be enabling rather than empowering, wanting to nurture and protect others from pain, but needs to learn that expressing love alone will not suffice. Seeing all pain as bad, mercies will tend to flee their own pain and unwittingly keep themselves and others from the discipline of God when God intends to use that discipline to build maturity and wholeness. This can be because of unresolved fathering issues in their own lives.

Mercies can choose to be life-giving when they want to, how they want to, and where they want to, but can stubbornly resist doing all the other things that God has called them to do.

The mercy gift craves intimacy and needs physical touch – the danger is that this can lead to sexual impurity.

Kingdom benefit

Please remember, this is not about looking at anyone else and pointing the finger. Our aim in all of this is to look at ourselves and see what God wants to do in us. And let’s look not only at the gift we think we have – if we show some of the tendencies of other gifts, not only can we embrace transformation there too, but also it may indicate that we have been given a portion of those gifts in addition to any we had previously recognised. So if you skipped over any of the sections above, thinking ‘I don’t have that gift’, I would encourage you to go back and read them again!

Above all, let’s seek first His kingdom, pursuing understanding of how God has made us and looking to mature and develop in our gifting, for the benefit of His kingdom purposes.

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Attribution of main image at the head of this post: Flickr image ‘Golden Spiral’ by Ian Muttoo, used as a background under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence. The original photograph is of the underneath of the staircase in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. We used a mirror image.

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

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

rg4My 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 (it was the only thing that could rule). 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 should 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 coming 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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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 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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Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

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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 

217. Redemptive Gifts (1)

Mike Parsons

 

Creation

In this series on ‘destiny’ we have looked at ‘who I am’, and it is time now to move on to our redemptive gifts or ‘how I am made’. After that we will go on to ‘what I am made for’.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

If we want things to work together for good (and not just our own good but for the good of everything and everybody), then we really need to know that we are called and that we have a purpose.

Do you know His purpose for your life?

Have you accepted His call?

His purpose and His call will work together to enable us to see our lives outworked for the glory of God and bring transformation to this earthly realm. If we know His purpose for our lives and know what He has called us to, both in this realm and in heaven, that will enable us to be a gateway of heaven on earth.

Transformed or conformed?

‘A redemptive gift is the grace of God woven into who we are; that when we are made right with God we become able to honour Him with how He has made us to be’.

Sadly there may have been other threads ‘woven into us’ which have affected us negatively.

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… (Rom 12:2).

God’s will is for an open heaven over us, for us to engage with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in intimacy, and for that we need to be transformed (not conformed). The world wants to conform us to a particular pattern and rob us of what God intends us to have and experience.

The world may have masked, damaged or perverted our identity, our gift and our destiny, because of our own experience and that of our generations. If we don’t know who we really are we will forever be asking ‘where do I fit?’ and ‘where do I belong?’

God desires to transform us to outwork who we really are, in His service. In that way we will be able to fulfil our part in restoring the whole of creation.

Redemptive gifts

Redemptive gifts are different from the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 (healing, words of knowledge, wisdom, distinguishing of spirits, tongues etc.), and from the offices appointed for the church in 1 Corinthians 14 (apostle, prophet, teacher, miracle worker etc.), and from the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4 (apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist, shepherd).

Redemptive gifts are found in Romans 12.

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).

There are seven different gifts, and these are given to ‘each of us’, which leaves nobody out. We are to line up with what God has given, rather than what the world has attempted to impose on us. Each of us is to exercise the gift(s) He has given us; and as we do we are to be that gift to the rest of the body.

The seven gifts are: prophet, servant, teacher, exhorter, giver, ruler and mercy.

Paul writes that faith is intrinsic to being a prophet and that a servant will actually serve (you cannot be a servant in theory). The same with teacher and exhorter – it is only in teaching or exhorting that they express themselves. The next three are interesting. ‘With liberality’ describes how a giver gives. ‘With diligence’ describes how a ruler rules. Finally, mercy operates ‘with cheerfulness’, indicating that the mercy gift may perhaps struggle to be cheerful. We will look at each gift in more detail in coming posts.

Why ‘redemptive’ gifts?

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be redeemed from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21).

Everything God created in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm is waiting for God’s sons to be revealed, and to bring back to creation what is missing. And so ‘creation itself will also be redeemed’, and we are called to be part of God’s plan to do that. That plan includes the gifts God has given us, and when we discover who we are then we can discover how we fit in to God’s overall purpose. The way we are wired and designed enables each of us to fulfil our destiny and engage in the process of restoring creation.

Redemptive gifts are dealt to each person in differing measures of faith.
God gives people as the different gifts.
God gives these gifts as necessary to fulfil his redemptive will on earth.
Each of us is a gift, differing according to the grace given to us by God.

Each person is and has a primary gift, but will have others as well, and the mix and degree of the various gifts in each of us is a unique combination.

Received at conception

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Redemptive gifts are received at conception, rather than salvation. We are born with them and they will influence the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or not (though they will be more effectively expressed if we do). Psychologists term these differences in people ‘basic temperaments’ or ‘personality types’.

We are designed on (and with) purpose.

Redemptive gifts tend to shape our personality. They also affect the way in which we may receive or express one or more of the spiritual gifts, offices or ministries.

So my redemptive gift is how I am intrinsically made to function, ideally with spirit and soul in harmony. But because of separation from God, my soul or heart personality traits developed independently of my spirit. I need to discover the gift, then purify and refine the heart to define and polish it, so that it begins to shine.

There are some common behavioural characteristics which can help us identify our redemptive gifts (primary and secondary). Compassion, for example, may come more easily to servants and mercies than prophets and rulers. However, we must not use our gift as an excuse for not growing in love! We are all called to walk out the fruit of the Spirit, whether it comes naturally or not.

Arthur Burk has done a great deal of research into redemptive gifts. Here are some of the characteristics he has identified and how he correlates them with other sevens in the Bible (click here or on either image to view or download them both in one PDF file):

slide-1-hd
slide-2-hdGod is your Father and designer, and He desires to call forth your identity as His child. He desires to reveal your redemptive identity. He wants you to know who you are and how you are designed. You are called to be a world-changer.

As you exercise your own gifting you are free of the need to compare yourself (favourably or unfavourably) with anyone else. You can be comfortable in your own skin, not having to try to be like other people.

You are you.

You are unique;
Everyone else is also unique.

You are messed up in some way;
Everyone is messed up in some way.

You are a mixture;
Everyone is a mixture.

Every one of us is in a process of being refined, purified and transformed so that we can be ‘us’ as designed by God.

We must learn to respect and honour the differences and uniqueness in each other. As members of the body we will not all see things the same way, but when we put it all together we (as a body) will see things as Jesus does.

Next time we will begin to look at each of the gifts in more detail.

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