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Giftings and Character
Posted On 11/16/2017 13:43:31 by HomerLes

One of the few themes Wanda and I talk a great deal about is the great contrast between the left hand and the right hand of God. I know it may seem strange but there is an important truth that lies buried here. As we have grown in our understanding, we have learned that on God’s left hand are all His gifts and talents that He gives to people whether they are saved or not. On God’s right hand is the character that is formed when one renounces ‘self’ and embraces the lessons of patient endurance after genuine salvation. Understanding this helped us realize that there is a vast difference between the gifts God gives us and the character that is formed in us as we walk with Him.

After Jesus was resurrected from death, He met with His disciples in Jerusalem. Jesus told them to wait there for the Holy Spirit to come upon them after He had departed. Soon after, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the small group of disciples and He gave them gifts so they would have the power and authority to spread the word of Jesus to the known world. It was a tremendous experience and the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been with us ever since that time. At first these gifts from God’s left hand were a blessing to aid and help the early disciples to overcome limitations and speak powerfully the message of the resurrection. Over time, however, the ‘self’ nature in man has so corrupted these gifts to such a degree, that often they now promote the messenger and holder of the gifts over the person of Jesus. The message has also been corrupted with false gospels and lies that make a mockery of the Holy Spirit and His wonderful gifts. Sadly, now the gifts are no more than a circus side show to the world, in the hearts of those brimming with self. They are universally mocked and derided by those outside of religion who don’t understand that the fruit of love must be combined with the gifts.

The problem is not the Holy Spirit or His good and perfect gifts; the problem is the sole domain of the ‘self’ nature of man that takes the gifts of God and uses them to his or her own selfish advantage. The reason for this is that the gifts of God have no cost associated with them. The Holy Spirit freely gives gifts to His people without repentance. He does this because He knows these gifts can be used to mature the body of Christ into adult sons. What many people fail to understand about the Holy Spirit is why He was sent to us. Many think He was sent simply to give us His gifts but that is not true. Jesus made it abundantly clear what the Holy Spirit’s job really is in John 14:26. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit’s job is to testify of Jesus so that we can follow in His example and become like Him. This is His only goal and His gifts are but one way He brings about this goal on earth.

When one receives the gifts from God’s left hand, they are solemn and powerful tools whereby one can grow into maturity and help others grow into maturity. However, if one does not use these gifts to help bring to death the ‘self’ nature that resides in all of us, ‘self’ will happily misappropriate God’s gifts to further its own selfish agenda. It will do so with so much cunning and deception that the one with the gift, and the one receiving ministry from the gift, may be completely unaware of the worm of death that has crawled in. We have watched with great sadness over the years as so many with great gifts from the Holy Spirit have squandered their gifting. They saw their gift or gifts as more important than getting rid of ‘self’. At this point, Wanda and I cannot even listen to or read all but two or three prophets because the ‘self’ in the prophetic words of others is so overwhelming to us.

Over the years we have seen a very dangerous lie spread like a cancer through many believers. The lie is that the gift is more important than character. If one only ministers and uses their gift, then it does not matter that the vessel is unclean; that is their erroneous thinking. It may not matter to these people but it matters a whole lot to God. You see God knows what His gifts are to be used for; and to promote the ‘self’ nature of man is not the proper use. What God is looking for is character. Specifically, the character of Jesus being formed in the believer until they become a disciple and then finally grow into a mature adult son. When people simply think that the ‘goal’ is somehow just to ‘minister’ or ‘use’ the gift or gifts they have been entrusted with, they have totally missed the point.  They have missed that point because their ‘self’ is willfully in control. God longs to produce the character of Christ in us; but as long as we aid and abet the fugitive from justice, ‘self’, we will not use His gifts in any way that honors Him. In fact, trying to help others with a God-given gift when ‘self’ is in control, is much like trying to smell the color of the letter 8.

There is a stark contrast that exists between those on God’s left hand and those on His right. Somehow we need to learn this truth, in the wilderness, that the gifts from God’s left hand are secondary to what is in His right hand. The Scriptures speak a great deal of the blessings that reside at His right hand for those that are obedient to Him. Those on His right hand have understood the need to lay down ‘self’ so that Christ could be formed in them by the Holy Spirit. They have gone through the trial and hardship in the wilderness to gain that precious patient endurance. They have had to bow low in humble obedience to accept the cross of Christ so they could be like Him in His suffering. In essence they have accepted that the gifts of God were less important than God Himself and they chose Jesus above all else. This is what separates those on His right hand from His left. Instead of seeking what they could ‘get’ from God to promote themselves, those on His right hand are looking to be in intimate relationship with Him. They have moved from Pentecost where they received gifts, to Tabernacles where they dwell with Jesus. These are the ones that stand at His right hand.

Wanda and I have been blessed over the years by the gifts that have flowed through others. In our early days of immaturity, we ministered with others that were also immature. Through it all, God worked past our ‘self’ and immaturity to teach us more and more about Jesus. At first we started out as a part of a large group of people that all professed we wanted more of God. Through time and circumstance, our group dwindled as individuals chose different paths. Some chose to stay immature and pursue ‘self’, while others were simply trapped in their wounding and unwilling to let Jesus heal them. Slowly we found ourselves increasingly alone and abandoned by those we once called friends and had shared our gifts with. We turned more and more to Jesus as we walked by ourselves through the desert. We watched from afar as people rose in prominence with their gifting and then quickly fell from view after moral failure. It was really a failure of ‘self’ but we did not know that truth then. It was only after Jesus completely stripped us, that we were able to see what was in us that was so opposed to God. We ourselves would have corrupted the gifts the Holy Spirit had given us had we not gone into the wilderness. Faced with the stark, brutal reality of our own treacherous ‘self’ nature, we had no choice but to repent. We want Him more than anything else; including His wonderful gifts.

Today we see more clearly what we did not know then. The gifts at God’s left hand are most excellent and very precious but they are for the earth; and like all things on the earth, the gifts will eventually pass away. At His right hand is fellowship for eternity; an intimacy that we have not found on this earth to be equaled. His presence is so precious that we cannot even begin to compare it with His mere gifts. For our family, there is no other option but to be in full union with Him even if there are no other gifts. He alone is worth everything. I call on all who read this to see past the gifts and talents to see Jesus. Move past your gift or gifts to the Giver and get to know Him. Lay down the ‘self’ in you in obedience to Him and let Him form His character in you. If you do this, I promise that the reward from His right hand will be far greater than any gift you could possibly receive from His left hand.

Tags: Gifts Advocate Jesus Wilderness Immaturity Repentance Character


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11/17/2017 16:17:57

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