Everyone loves a good show.
Whether it be a moving concert, an illuminating art exhibit, an engrossing novel, a spectacular film, a thrilling athletic triumph or some other amazing achievement, such performances often inspire us to leap to our feet or step back in awe at the incredible spectacle of other human beings performing to the height of their abilities.
They also may leave us wondering, could we, too, attain something that great?
While natural ability, talent and proclivity can account for a good portion of such achievement, we also know that, in most cases, the seemingly spontaneous display of supposedly superhuman ability is also the result of incessant devotion to a craft, to a trade, to a technique.
The hands that seem to fly over the guitar strings or the piano keys, raising goosebumps in the listener? The words that seem to string effortlessly together, evoking empathy and connection to the characters on the page? The visual effects captured perfectly in the photograph, balancing shadow and light to perfectly expose the subject?
All those things did not come of themselves. While those who produced such achievements certainly began with gifts of talent, the work you now see, much as the tip of the iceberg bobbing on the ocean currents, is but the visible expression of often years, and perhaps decades, of practice, discipline and commitment.
In the same way, God, in His Word, tells us He gives gifts to His people. But unlike extraordinary physical or mental abilities, these gifts our Lord gives generously, and abundantly to all who follow Him and who ask or have need of them.
The Apostle Paul tells us these gifts include abilities that many would genuinely regard as “superhuman” – the ability to know specific things happening in the lives of others; the ability to know how to respond in pressure-packed or even impossible situations; the ability to stand firm when the world around us crumbles; and the ability to move in power, to bring healing and deliverance to the lives and souls of those around us.
And any who have seen it happen, or believe it can happen, can acknowledge how cool and awesome it can be when the Holy Spirit moves in such ways.
But, as Pastor Bryan shared with us this past Sunday, God does not want us to merely be spectators, marveling at the abilities others may use.
Our Lord desires each of us – Me. You. All. – to move in these gifts, to use them with power, to deploy them as spiritual weapons targeted for one purpose:
To draw all people to salvation through a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
But while the Holy Spirit can enable anyone at any time for this work, they are most effective – and we are most effective - when the gifts have been used and used, practiced and practiced, over and over, until deploying these gifts becomes second nature to us all.
This week, be encouraged to know that the gifts of the Spirit are given to you, for you, to use. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare you for the tasks at hand, to empty you, so you may be filled with the Power of God. Then, get quiet. Listen for the Lord’s voice and His command. And be ready to step out, at a moment’s notice, in power, as one of God’s 300.