All the gifts must be bathed in prayer. Often while in prayer I will receive clearer understanding as to the Lord’s specific purposes at work through the gifts. The first time I was aware of the gift of knowledge I had been simply enjoying the quiet of the presence of the Lord. He began to lay on my heart, very insistently, the name of a woman in our church.
I went to the phone and called her, only to find she was hastening out the door on the way to the hospital for emergency treatment. I was so amazed at the timing behind this I didn’t know what to say. Now I would be able to convey God’s love and concern, “God loves you greatly in this time of your trouble. He has placed you in my heart with a great sense of His love and wants me to communicate this to you.” We gradually learn how to use the gifts by practicing them, and if they are real, the body of believers will affirm them by reporting the value of our ministry to us.
Sixthly, God speaks to the Church and through the Church by means of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, 21st-century man or woman has great difficulty in knowing the mind of God. Western humankind, rationally oriented, too often worships his or her own mental acuity. Hounded by schedules, hurrying through a technology-driven society, he or she will not slow down to hear a God who sometimes only speaks to us in silence.
The picture of the body of Christ given to us by Paul is beautiful in its unity and harmony. Each member is employing his gift specialty for the good of the others, no envious, but each in love acting as recipient of another’s ministry. Each is functioning, not merely out of flawed and exhausted humanity, but directed by a supernatural Head, with co-laborers under His direction. An ideal by no means easy to achieve, it is nevertheless the picture of a mature body, lithe with muscles rippling, middle-age at its best, physical coordination combined with seasoned beauty, every inch, every cell sparked with the life of Christ.
What a rare thing for the world to see—harmony and unity! When I begin to allow the Spirit to function through my gifts, and when you begin the same process, when we soak our selves in Scripture and saturate our hearts in prayer, when we learn what submitting one to another means, then we will have something to say not only to one another, but to this calloused and critical world. The Spirit is able to speak to the Church through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and He is then able to speak through the Church to the world.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.