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Advice to God's Gifted
December 2009 • by Rev. Dave Roberts.+

Anyone who has been reading my messages for the past few years will realize that I am a big proponent of people finding their spiritual gifts and calling in God. I cannot be content with folks sitting by warming a church pew doing a spectator sport of sorts called ďchurch service.Ē I firmly believe that if those who call themselves people of God were to exercise what God has given them, both we who say we are saved as well as those who are lost (among whom we are to be the salt God told us we are) would benefit. (Matthew 5:13).

Some of you reading this are folks who have, in fact, come into an understanding of your call and are functioning in it or are headed in that direction. Some others know you have a call but havenít yet understood what it is but the desire is in your heart to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to make Him known even in the face of hostility.

All of that is noble and a wonderful aspiration and Iím thankful for it. But I feel that, before the times weíre living in become yet more perilous, I should give you all who can receive what I am saying a warning:

As soon as you embark on service to God or start to head in that direction, you can expect opposition. I donít want to say that the Devil is behind it all and every obstacle is Hell-initiated. No. Some of your opposition is from the world, for example, just a societal system with which you find yourself crossways. This particularly can happen in a country that is hostile to the Christian Faith. Or, what if you were pursuing a course that could have been leading to disaster and The Lord knew He had to resist you? Would He be able to block your path and have you not confuse His move with the Adversaryís? A number of folks Iíve known over the years have rebuked the Devil for something that God is opposing for their own good. Before we misplace the blame and question the reason, it might be good to get to know the Heart of God in the matter. That often will require discernment that will require patience. Few American Christians I know have that kind of patience but it is a good thing to ďwait on the LordĒ at times like that. (Psalm 27:14; Psalm 37:34; Proverbs 20:22). But sometimes the opposition that comes IS, in fact, from spiritual forces and you can sense its origins. You see, when you became a Christian, the Bible says that all of Heaven rejoiced over it. (Luke 15:7). (Now THAT would be a wonderful scene to see. I hope God can replay that for us when we get There). But if Heaven rejoiced over you being saved, you can be sure that Hell knew of it as well. It was then that you were marked as someone who has crossed from death into Life. OK, so if you can just stay at the threshold of that Life and not do much with it for the rest of your life, you wonít really be any real threat to the Kingdom of Evil Ė a very real realm.

The moment you start to become active in your faith, having been filled with the Holy Spirit or just self-dedicated to Godís purposes, THEN you have become a threat and you are marked. The opposition can mount as you grow but the Lord gives you the Grace to make it and offers His Protection, sealing you until the Day of Redemption with His Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30).

It doesnít mean you wonít feel opposition but the Devil canít touch you without Godís permission. And he certainly canít kill you because he doesnít have that authority any longer once you are saved. So he tries a different tactic: Subtlety. In ways we canít imagine, he finds your weak point, a blind spot where you canít see him approach and thatís where heíll throw his temptation and/or deception. He can only do this once he has observed you long enough to know where your weaknesses lie. He doesnít know you on the inside as your Creator does; he can only know what he hears you say and sees you do. Once he can assess your weaknesses (and we all have them), he has discovered his avenue of approach.

At the risk of sounding simplistic, let me just say that this is a very real area of spiritual battle and something to which perfectly good men and women of God succumb. And men, especially you pastors, beware of the day that people praise you. A man is tested by the praises he receives. (Proverbs 27:21). It feeds the pride that comes before the fall. Remember, we are generally tempted in the areas of money, power and women, but there are other categories within those that can feed our ego and compromise our ministry. If the devil canít defeat you, heíll pollute your ministry so it has lost its integrity and youíll have lost touch with the Reality that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. How many anointed men of God Iíve seen who have lost their connection with God in their ministry because they were overtaken by a subtlety!

Another way we can see our gift robbed is if another more powerful personality with a charming spirit (not a good thing) comes by to exploit what God has given us. This one is never talked about because it is seldom recognized but I have seen many pastors and evangelists over the years take some promising young person with good gifts from God under their influence only to usurp the anointing that was there to selfaggrandize their own ďministry.Ē I put that in quotes because their ministry has become a bondage to many. The Shepherding Movement of the 1970s and 1980s was such a movement in many quarters and there are still casualties from it around today who are isolated and without fellowship or spiritual moorings. This kind of ministerial exploitation is the spiritual counterfeit of the mentoring God intended for younger ministers coming up.

I am out of space for this month but I think you get the idea. Let me encourage you to follow a course of finding your gifts in God and living a Holy Spirit-fulfilled life in turn but be watchful for those who would distract you from the prize of the High Calling of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:14).

In the Name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Dave.+

© Copyright 2009 by Dave Roberts

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