How do we, as Christ-followers, develop a healthy, Biblical self-esteem? In Romans 12:3- 4, Paul states that we need to begin by making a sober assessment of ourselves: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Paul indicates that we can’t have a proper biblical self-esteem by looking at ourselves in isolation from others; as Christians, we need to think in terms of “we,” not “I.” One of the Bible’s well-known metaphors for the church is that of a human body, which is why the church is often referred to as the “body of Christ.” Two thousand years ago, Christ walked physically on the earth, ministering to people. Today, he ministers to others through us. Corporately we are his body; individually, we are his hands and feet and mouth and ears. When each of the various parts fulfill their roles, the body is healthy. When they do not, the body suffers.
Romans 12 lists seven spiritual gifts: The gift of prophecy involved foretelling both future events and God’s truth in terms of exhortation and instruction. According to Ephesians 2:20, this particular gift was related to the foundation of the church. Because the foundation of the church has been laid and the Bible completed, there is no need today for the gift of prophecy in the foretelling sense. Today, those with the gift of prophecy are those with a burning passion to speak up on behalf of God. The gift of service is the God-given ability to organize and accomplish practical and necessary activities which meet the needs of others. The Greek word is diakonia, from which we derive the word “deacon.” The gift of teaching is the God-given ability to understand, clearly explain, and help people practically apply the Word of God in everyday life. The gift of exhortation seems to include two dimensions: On the one hand, it involves the God-given ability to urge people to action. On the other, it involves the ability to strengthen the discouraged by offering words of comfort, consolation, and encouragement. The gift of giving is the God-given ability to cheerfully contribute significant resources to the work of the Lord, and to stimulate others to acts of generosity as well. These people often have the gift of making money, which they use to build the kingdom of God. The gift of leadership is the God-given ability to cast vision, motivate, and direct people to harmoniously accomplish the purpose of God. This gift enables people to govern and coordinate the activities of the church. The gift of mercy is the God-given ability to feel deep empathy for those who are hurting, and then to act to meet those needs—and to do so cheerfully and in a way that brings a blessing.
How can you discover your spiritual gift(s)? Perhaps the best way to do so is to jump in and serve in a ministry where you think you could make a contribution. Ask yourself, “What am I motivated to do, and what am I good at?” It also can be helpful to take a spiritual gifts inventory (included in Talking Points, Walking Points).
Every secular organization exists for the benefit of its members, but in the church, we exist for each other. We’re not in it for ourselves; rather, we exist for the glory of God and the good of others. And we don’t leave when “our needs aren’t being met” or our church is poorly functioning. The solution to a poorly functioning church is not to leave it, but to improve it, because as Paul tells us in Romans 12:5, we are all members of body. And the strength of our church is tied to all members exercising their unique spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body. When they don’t, the whole church suffers. Remember, if you’re a child of God, you have been given at least one spiritual gift by which God intends for you to bless and serve others (1 Corinthians 12:11). And when you acknowledge and begin using your unique gift, it’s not a difficult, painful endeavor, but instead something you delight in doing. And not only will you enjoy serving God and blessing others, you will be good at it, and the entire church will benefit as a result! So if you haven’t yet “opened” your gift, won’t you determine to do so today?
Application / Challenge
- Make a sober assessment of yourself. Don’t think too highly of yourself, nor too lowly.
- Recognize that God has given you a gift, designed to make TCC better. If you’re not using it, we all suffer! Check out your options at TCC here.
- Refuse to grumble and complain. That accomplishes nothing. Rather offer to help.
- If you don’t know what your spiritual gift is , you’re responsible to find out! Take the spiritual gifts test in today’s Talking Points, Walking Points.
- Don’t wait to be asked to serve! Find a need and jump in. Try something. Get feedback. Develop your gift and use it.