Read 1 Corinthians 12
The apostle Paul describes the spiritual gifts given to the church by God and administered by the Holy Spirit.
It is sobering to realize that the fruit of the Spirit did not include how well I could preach or how effective I was at giving altar calls. Nowhere in the Bible could I find a Scripture that said, “By their gifts you will know them” (trust me, I searched the whole Bible). I realized that there could be no doubt that I had been examined by the Lord and found lacking. Deep within me, I came to accept the fact that I had a long way to go in my spiritual walk. We all have areas relating to our soul muscle that need to be strengthened!
I had obvious gifts in my life—and I put them to good use in a growing church. I took all too seriously 1 Corinthians 12:31, which tells us to “eagerly desire the greater gifts.” Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the gifts of the Spirit are given by God to strengthen the Church, but when we seek them at the expense of the deep and often unseen internal work of God, that’s when it becomes a problem. In my case, although externally I was moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, my soul couldn’t sustain me. The fruit of the Spirit were absent in my life, and as a result, my world fell apart.
Sadly, all too often I hear of destinies that have been sabotaged because Christians have been focused on developing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives rather than seeking the fruit. They have mistaken a gift given to them by God, which they have done absolutely nothing to merit, as evidence of spiritual maturity. They have convinced themselves that the manifestation of the gift is an accurate measure of their success as a Christian. They could not have been more wrong.
When the gifts of the Spirit on a person’s life are greater than the fruit of the Spirit in a person’s life, that life will begin to crumble. The indicators of an unbalanced life may be health issues or an inability to have close relationships, depression, addictions, eating disorders, promiscuity, insecurity, and so much more. This kind of fruit is the outcome of a weak soul muscle.
But here’s the great news: As we grow in relationship with God, and our soul muscles gain strength, we have God’s power working within us to bring about our transformation into the image of Christ that each one of us—and, more important, God—desires.
God has given us great and wonderful gifts. As we grow in our commitment to Christ and the fruit of the Spirit become manifest in our lives, these gifts play out beautifully on God stage.