Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gifts and Shadows

Let me first start by saying this I don't agree with spiritual inventory tests. Like most tests where we are trying to figure out that "destiny" (any quiz in an old Seventeen magazine), we can clearly learn how to work the system. That is, we can do our very best attempt at getting the results we want. For spiritual gifts, I've learned most importantly to ask God to show you what those gifts are - where do you thrive in serving and worshiping Him. Ask others their opinions because they are in fact on the outside looking into your life or just wait and see how they speak into these areas. Good Christian friends will offer their encouragement. Their encouragement usually translates into your spiritual gifts.

As I was preparing to write a lesson for my "fun" job, I was reading through 1 Corinthians 13 and the commentary page we are provided to help us know the text well. Jeremy and I have been talking about "shadows" in the Bible. It may very well be his most favorite thing to talk about. What is a shadow? I'll do my best. Shadows are dim reflections of the actual thing it is reflecting. Make sense? Think about your shadow on the ground when the sun is actually shining (and thankfully it is shining here today!) For example, Moses was a shadow of a greater servant to come - Jesus. The tabernacle is a shadow of the kingdom of God. The exodus is a shadow of a greater redemption to come. 

Shadows in the Bible reflect and point to the coming, saving work, and eternal reign of Christ.

Working on 1 Corinthians 13, I was struck to understand that spiritual gifts are a shadow. Spiritual gifts are talents or abilities given to believers to be used to tell others about Christ and POINT others to Him. This is different in your normal random skill or two that you have hidden of your sleeve such as juggling or saying the alphabet in a second. (I kid.) Seriously though, a gift is given by God in the power of the Spirit to be used boldly, with courage to share about Christ. 

Spiritual gifts will cease to exist when Christ returns and the new heavens and new earth have been established. They will cease to exist because everything they have been used for and pointing towards will be here! Christ will have come. Our gifts are merely shadows pointing to His eternal reign. I am in awe, y'all. I am in awe that our God has given gifts to each of us to share and steward to point others to Christ. The gift of hospitality (for me) takes on a whole new meaning - a greater meaning. Take heart, own, and claim the gifts the Lord has given you. Recognize they are a shadow of His coming again! And on that day there will be no need for prophecy, no need for teaching, no need for faith- Everything will be fully known, and our faith will be made sight. 

"As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. ... For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully." 1 Cor. 13: 8-9, 12

If you want to know more about shadows in the OT, Jeremy wrote a blog about it. It's pretty darn good!

PS- I do in fact realize it has been a while since I've written something of this nature. I hope for more posts like this to come soon. For He has been good to me... Ps. 13:6

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