The irrevocable gifts of God’s grace.
There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
Ephesians 4:4–8 ESV
Gifts of grace.
We have one incredibly gracious God. He calls us into His one hope, forming us into one body, infused with His one Spirit. And in His great grace, He gives gifts to each one of us according to the measure of Jesus’s gift.
Jesus — who is the sum total of God’s fullness — gives gifts to His followers from the vast trove of spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. These gifts are not doled out based on merit or anything done to earn them. They are given out of His victory over sin and death. Believers — when blessed with the gift of faith in Him — receive spiritual gifts as He sees fit.
These gifts of grace have special purpose. They are not the natural talents of genetics but supernatural gifts of great value to the Kingdom of God. All for His glory.
A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that Christ is glorified and believers are edified.
— Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary
Not only does God graciously give His followers these spiritual gifts to foster and equip them to serve alongside Him in His work on earth, but these gifts are given irrevocably. He will not take them away. No. matter. what.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 11:29 ESV
Given for good.
Spiritual gifts are given with great grace, purpose, and trust. God places His faith in us to use them according to His will. In obedience to His way. In response to His calling on our life.
They are given for our good. In God’s particular calling on each Believer’s life there is the potential for the building up of His Kingdom and the forging of the recipient’s character to become more like Jesus.
I received a gift I never expected, a humbling call. The call to write and teach. To glorify Him through His Word and the Spirit of revelation. A weighty call. A gift that comes with greater judgment (James 3:1).
But what I’ve also discovered, is this gift of grace has unearthed an ugliness in my heart. A darkness with the potential to ruin the gift… pervert it… and possibly ruin me…
And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord. But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute.
Ezekiel 16:14–15 NIV
God is the Giver of all good things. But spiritual blessings can cause us to stumble in our natural brokenness.
Deception creeps in: I am the source of my success. The gift becomes tainted when we believe we are what we are, not because of the grace given, but because of ourselves. Good gifts have the potential to bring out the worst.
We trust the gift and not the Giver. Such foolish error.
It blinded Samson (Judges 16:18–21).
Ruined David’s family (2Samuel 12:1–12).
Brought Saul of Tarsus to his knees (Acts 22:2–7).
Gifts gone bad.
It is what began to happen to me. Even though I’ve had no “fame” in this pursuit, a deep dark jealousy and envy began to emerge. After the overwhelming discovery of the gift and the humbling of hearing the call began to fade, I saw other writers, bloggers, teachers as competition. Became judgmental of their work as less than mine and confounded by the accolades they received.
The gift of His grace sucked the grace right out of me! (Or simply revealed a lack that was there all along.)
Yuk! I can’t believe I’m sharing this. It is embarrassing. humiliating. But it is a real danger. One we must be aware of, on guard against. Gifts gone bad can cause so much trouble. But by His grace, if we are willing to be honest with what rises up from the depths of our hearts, confess it, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
The grace of the Giver.
Praise God there is a flip-side to gifts gone bad: the great grace of the Giver.
Samson, from his chains, brought destruction on the enemy. We find him listed among the faithful in the book of Hebrews.
David is remembered as faithful and upright in heart by his son Solomon and by God.
Saul, who was called Paul, worked tirelessly for God’s people, nurturing the newborn Church after trying with all his might to abort it.
Me. By His grace, owned my darkness. Came into agreement with Him regarding my tightfisted greedy heart. In repentance I sought His leading in rooting out the bitterness taking hold. But — OH! — talk about humbling. None of us like to admit our own sin, the evil lurking deep in the shadowy crevices of our hearts. What is often walled off by self-justification, defensiveness, and a critical spirit.
So glory be! The gifts He gives are irrevocable. His grace sufficient for whatever is revealed. And when we fall on His grace, let Him work in us and through us, all things work for good (Romans 8:28). Even gifts gone bad!
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me was not without effect.
1Corinthians 15:10 NIV
Any gift we’ve been given can go bad, if we don’t recognize the true gift is the Giver.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…
Philippians 3:7–8 NIV
Check your gifts. What are they? How are you using them? What are they revealing within you?
Do you have one that’s gone bad? one unearthing a dark bent?
Fall on His grace. It is more than sufficient.