Webster’s definition for brave is as follows: having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage. What’s your best day ever? It certainly wasn’t a day when you ran away, cowered or failed to do what you knew you should. Much of life doesn’t go as you plan. Stuff happens and you are placed in situations you never prepared for or anticipated. What you do in those moments with the gifts God has given you says everything about where you place your trust. Paul had the gifts of preaching and teaching. He was compelled to preach the truth of Jesus Christ wherever he went, despite the threat of imprisonment, persecution, and torture. He also faced hunger, exhaustion, shipwreck and all kinds of difficulties because of his ministry. Paul could have run away, avoided the obstacles, saved himself a lot of pain and problems and simply escaped. He could have squelched his God-given gifts, his purpose, and lived a comfortable life. However, Paul met the challenges that were ahead and used his gifts. He saw the difficulties as opportunities for God to display his power by enabling him to endure and keep moving forward in the midst of all he faced. Not using your gifts is cowardice. It robs God, the church and the world of blessings only you can bestow, but you have to be brave.
2 Co 11:23-27, 12:10; 2 Ti 1:6,7; 1 Ti 4:14-15
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (1 Ti 4:14-15) I’m writing to encourage you to fan into flame and rekindle the fire of spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Ti 1:6-7)
Christ followers, God has entrusted you with gifts so that you can make a difference in the church, in people’s lives, in the world—to mark eternity for Jesus Christ. However, too many Christians lack confidence and are overwhelmed with fear when there’s an opportunity to put God’s gifts into action. In 2 Timothy 1:6 we learn that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self-discipline. When you tap into the power God has placed within you, it supercharges your giftedness. God’s power will strengthen and encourage you as you use your gifts for Him. God also gave you the spirit of love. When using your gifts, you must look through the lens of love so that you use your gift with kindness. A powerful gift needs to be used with discretion when dealing with the people God wants to reach through you. God has also given you the spirit of self-discipline. This isn’t a bad word, contrary to its initial affect. Self-discipline means to be level-headed, calm and collected even when circumstances could make a “regular” person panic. Self-discipline means being who God made you to be and not trying to be someone you’re not. Be thankful for the gifts God has given to you, and be thankful that others possess gifts that you do not. Your gifts are amazing. Don’t be jealous of the gifts others have; be thankful that you are gifted to be exactly who God has called you to be!
How does God supercharge our gifts? Give an example from your experience. What happens when someone uses their gift without the spirit of love or self-discipline? Give an example from your experience. Do you ever feel fear when you are called to use your gift? If so, how do you cope with that fear? Is there a gift you wish you had, but don’t? If so, what is it, and why do you wish you had it? Can you think of a reason why God didn’t give you that gift?
Pray for opportunities to use your gifts. Journal about your experiences. Describe how your gifts were used by God.
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to bravely use my gifts for your glory. Renew the spirit of power, love and self-discipline you have placed within me. Give me opportunities to use my gifts to touch the lives of those around me. Use me to bless your church and to have an impact on a world in need of your love. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.