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SPIRITUAL GIFTS

By Samuel Olusegun Akionla,

Human beings are spiritual creatures, even though living in physical world and subject to natural order and matter that has weight and occupy space. There is spiritual side to every human being even though most are not aware of this, or completely ignored this special fact in their day to day physical living. This is reasonable since Jehovah their creator is a Great Spirit Being Himself, He just like clad up humans with mortal flesh; there is special thing inside every human – something more spiritual. Apostle Paul depicted this spirit-man and natural-man all bundled up inside this mortal flesh, in his epistle book of Romans 7:19-23, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me… For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Here the good apostle was talking of the conflict between the spirit of a man and his natural nature, all inside him – the inward man is spiritual while the members warring against the inward man here is the nature of human body.

‘Spiritual Gifts,’ to understand the meaning of this it is proper to study these two words apart. The word ‘Spiritual,’ has diverse meaning and usage; it is connected to mind and soul of human being, connected to ecclesiastic order of the Christian church, related to immortal things and beings, related to Astral Order and Astral projection of the human soul (this is a common term in occult realm, and not new to esoteric Christian practice), and related to elemental forces and forces beyond scientific and natural fields. Gifts on the other hand, are something given to another without duress or effort from the other person. Gifts most time are not what we go and get for ourselves, though quite possible (this would have made it not gifts in the first place). Gift, by dictionary meaning is ‘a thing given willingly and without payment for it; and a natural talent or ability.’ With this token of enlightenment, I like to divulge deeper into this special topic.

There exist spiritual gifts and natural gifts. Generally, every human being created by God is endowed with special qualities or natural ability to function in certain areas of life or certain field (though this should not be taken for spiritual gifts). Some were able to realized these and utilized these potentials in them (in the right path or wrong path), and harnessed them to their advantage. In the like manner, many people today did not know of their gifts none to talk of using them; so they lives as people with no gift or special ability at all. However, good training can go along way bringing out great qualities, special abilities, already inside an individual to a glorious light. Imagine a man naturally talented in speech; good training in the field will definitely make him a great orator in little time. Likewise a man with natural ability to lead, good training in leadership will bring out the best in him – all these and more are natural gifts (but gifts nonetheless).

Now spiritual gifts; these are much deeper and powerful than natural gifts. They are rooted in the spiritual realm, realm of prevailing immortal forces, realm of super-natural powers, realm of invisible spirits natural man cannot reckon with, realm that completely defies Natural Order of things, realm of mysteries and mysterious beings completely elusive to the scope of science. For a man to be able to discern different kinds of spirits, this is no ordinary at all. For a man to be able to divine the future, foresees it, knows it, and probably averts it; take my word, this is no ordinary or natural. For a man to be a living oracle among the living, his words are just like wisdom of god, is no ordinary. For a man to be able to manipulate and possess the mind of another, this is real serious.

Spiritual gifts are not only found in Christendom, it is proper to be fair and diverse in treating this special topic. Jehovah God is the source of all things, spiritual and physical; the source of all known and unknown powers in earthly and heavenly realms. Light and darkness all have their origin from Him, and He is a diverse Holy Being – unfathomable, indiscernible, cannot be pictured and unlimited. He is what we known Him to be, what we do not know Him to be and what we can never know Him to be. So outside the Lights of Christ (Christendom) there are spiritual gifts that produce occult powers, esoteric powers, Order of Astral and Terrestrial spiritual activities; sorceries and witchcraft, Mantra Sound Vibration, a spiritual language, spiritual mind manipulation etc. bestowed by Satan the devil as gifts to his human hosts of darkness on earth.

Spiritual gifts in Christ Jesus give greater spiritual powers and abilities, which darkness cannot overcome. If a faithful Christian attain state of oneness with Christ, his spiritual gifts or powers can be unlimited, for Christ is unlimited and as partakers of His divine body unlimitation has been purchased for us (I speak not in humanly term).

Apostle Paul carefully enumerated the spiritual gifts in Christ, in the book of 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, saying, “Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed…Now there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, or to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit.  To another faith by the same Spirit, to another the gifts of healing by one Spirit to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills,” (RSV).

Spiritual gifts in Christ, according to the scripture above are: Manifestation of the Spirit, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working miracle, prophecy, ability to distinguish between spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Truly, spiritual gifts in Christ exceed these, when the Holy Spirit takes hold on a believer He can manifest diversely beyond expectation; producing series of spiritual gifts greater and powerful beyond familiarity or scope of expectation (spiritual manifestation of the Holy Spirit). Manifestation of the full powers of the Holy Spirit increase spiritual powers of a Christian immensely, he or she can wrought great  or fearful things as the Spirit leads; perform unimaginable feats or wonders, immune against even the deadliest weapon, pass through terrible fire unhurt – all as the Spirit leads. We should recall that a poisonous viper fastened itself on the hand of Apostle Paul, who just shook it off into the fire and suffered no harm as the natives were expecting (Acts 28:1-6). “What manner of man is this,” was very common on the lips of the people for the great super-natural abilities of Jesus Christ in His days on earth.

Prophecy too, is another very powerful spiritual gift (truly very powerful if not the most powerful gift), so important it is that Apostle Paul says, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy,” (1 Cor. 14: 1, NIV). Now, prophecy entails more than foretelling the future, seeing visions of the past, present of the future. Prophecy is a distinct spiritual gift, so spiritual that it can turn a man so-gifted with it into something else – something divine. Now, to be gifted in prophecy and to be a prophet is not to be taken as the same. The Spirit of God, if come upon a human, can make such one prophesies, but this do not make such a prophet or prophetess. As in the case of King Saul in the book of 1 Samuel 19:20-23; he sent messengers to take David who has fled to Samuel the prophet, only for the messengers to end up prophesying when the Spirit of God came upon them. The king sent other messengers too, only for them to meet the same fate of the first set of messengers. Saul went to Ramah himself but, “…the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah,” (RSV). Office of a prophet is peculiar in nature, for prophets are chosen of God, ordain by Him and establish by Him (for He is the Spirits of the prophets), not by human training or according to theological standard (for a God-ordained prophet to learn more about the office is not that bad though). A prophet can become one later in his life by God’s calling and ordination, or be thus right from birth as in case of Jeremiah to who God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations,” (Jeremiah 1:5, RSV). The duties of prophets (according to God’s directives and leading) differ greatly from each other. If we carefully  study the lives of these ones: Moses, Deborah, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and even Jesus Christ Himself, we will come to know their distinct services, duties, ordinations and purposes of being ordained as a prophet greatly differs from each other, and they function in the same office differently.

Prophet, (gifted and called as one, or born as one) this office is never an easy one at all; he knows, sees spiritual beings and things, demons, evil beings, powers of darkness, horrifying things and beings mortal man will see and recoil in dread, most time have to wrestle with host of darkness one-on-one; understands spiritual things far more than other vessels of God – as the Spirit leads.  For a prophet of God (even some other offices in Christ Jesus too) must constantly be at alert spiritually all time – living half-man half-spirit consistently to be able to function effectively for God and Christ according to his ordained field in such powerful office. If not well-guided in Christ spiritually, it will be too easy for Satan (who is always on look-out in the realm of spirit for these kind of vessels of God because of their great spiritual abilities, to manipulate according his whims) to deceive him into falsehood; a good example is when a lying spirit left God’s presence to deceive the prophets of King Ahab into encouraging him to his death.  Though prophecy is the most powerful and totally spiritual among all the spiritual gifts in Christ, but there is yet a better gift – much better gift.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away,” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 ASV).

There is no spiritual gift, no matter how powerful and spiritual it is, is above LOVE. Love, though mild and gentle, is the greatest of all known spiritual gift. This is what we should seek the most, and make it part of our nature to the glory of God and honour to our great Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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