For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Have you taken a spiritual gifts assessment? Ever done a Meyers-Briggs personality inventory? How about a StrengthsFinder test, or that one with the animals – otter, lion, beaver, golden retriever? I just saw a color test on Facebook the other day. All these tests are designed to tell us what’s in us, to enlighten us about our potential.
I was 43 when I came to know the Lord. My family had been very active in our church as I grew up, but I walked away when I got to college. I bought into the mantra of my young adulthood—sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll—and spent the next 20+ years trying to make myself happy. Then, God finally had me where he wanted me, in a pit of my own creation, a deep, smelly, mucky pit. I finally looked up and remembered who my Father is.
When I invited Jesus to lead my life, he forgave all my sin. My next step was to seek forgiveness from all the people in life I had hurt, and try to mend the relationships I had damaged by my own selfishness and self-centeredness. However, in God’s great mercy and economy, he used many of the experiences from my bad choices to allow me to speak into the lives of others. He had given me unique and particular gifts and strengths. Even when I was not acknowledging God’s presence in my life, he was equipping me for ministry with educational and occupational opportunities that, once I was his, I could use for his glory.
So, what’s in my wallet? My life and work experiences range from teenage mother, waitress/bartender, and police officer to pastor and spiritual director. One of my spiritual gifts is intercession, which often involves listening to what’s going on in a person’s life, so I know how to pray. Part of my job as a pastor was to pray for each member of our church staff individually. (See the link – listening, right?) I have degrees in Law Enforcement, Personnel Administration, and a Master’s of Public Administration. I also have the strengths of Strategic and Developer (StrengthsFinder), with the spiritual gifts of Administration and Faith. Six months after I accepted Christ, I was invited to join God and Lee Powell in the beginning of CedarCreek Church. My faith led me to follow God through Lee; my gifts and strengths were very useful in the beginning of our church.
These are gifts and strengths the Lord Almighty determined that I should have before I was born! (Psalm 139) Isn’t that amazing?! And your story is just as amazing! Or it can be, when you decide to use what he gave you for him.
So, what’s in your wallet? How can you find out how God has gifted you? Well, you can check out some of those tests I mentioned. CedarCreek has a spiritual gifts assessment you can take when you attend week 3 of GrowthTrack. The Bible lists some gifts as well.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
You can buy the StrengthsFinder book and take that test online, too. Then they give you a really cool printout of your strengths and suggestions of how to employ them in whatever arena you want to improve your performance.
To say I am thankful for the gifts and strengths God gave me and the opportunities I have been given to use them is the understatement of the century! I don’t know why he did – wait, yes I do! I love Jesus, but he loves me more! He has always had a plan and purpose for my life. Even in my years of wanton disobedience, he was undeterred. God allowed me the consequences of my bad decisions, but he was in the process of getting the next chapters of my life ready for that which would bring him honor and glory. God is already doing that for you, too! Trust me, it will be the most joyous and fulfilling time of your life if you let him!
Have you ever taken a personality test, a spiritual gifts assessment, or a StrengthsFinder test? Did the results cause you to feel differently about yourself?
Do you believe God has gifted you in a unique way to fulfill the purpose he has for your life? If so, how are you using those gifts?
If you haven’t already, attend week 3 of GrowthTrack to discover how your past, your personality, and your passions have potential with God. Pray, then talk with your Ministry Team or Group Leader about ways to use your gifts, either at CedarCreek or in your family or workplace.
Father in heaven, I thank you for the gifts you have given me and the opportunities I have had to use them. Thank you for redeeming my bad choices by letting me help others. You make all things new, and I am grateful! Amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook.
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