I looked across my desk at a teenage girl and saw the look only a teenager can give you – the look that lets you know you are old, out of touch, and paining them with every clichéd word. Much to my dismay, words rolled off my tongue to the tune of my own mother’s voice, hearkening back to my teenage years when my face contorted into that same look. I couldn’t stop myself. Though terribly aware of how uncool I sounded, I knew I was telling the truth…
You are made in the image of God. You reflect God in a way that no one else ever has or ever will. You have been woven together with divine intention and purpose, given an assignment that was designed for you to fulfill. There is tremendous freedom when you walk in your God-given identity and calling. What’s more, the world sees a more complete picture of God Himself when you are fully yourself, a picture they would otherwise miss without you.
I’m not sure how much she heard, let alone believed, as her look of condescension had been replaced with a mixture of boredom and fatigue. I’m 99% sure she didn’t get the message, but my sincerest hope is that she does one day. How I wish I had listened and believed those truths much sooner in my life.
The reality is that you bring something to the table. You are gifted, hand-crafted, and divinely inspired. You may not be the prettiest, smartest, smoothest kid on the block but you have been created with at least one gift, one much purposed gift. Sometimes I struggle to believe that I have anything unique to offer. I can acknowledge my gifts but quickly point out someone who is more gifted than me. I would describe myself as average at best, but that is not how the Lord views me.
In Ephesians 4:1 Paul urges the church in Ephesus to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” He encourages them to walk with humility, gentleness, patience, love and peace, which sounds impossibly utopian and begs the question, “How?” By using the gifts God has given us to equip and to edify one another, namely the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:7-15).
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the whole body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV
When we walk in the fullness of our gifting, when our part is working properly, then the body of Christ is able to build itself up in love. Think about what happens when a part of your physical body stops functioning as it is designed. When your stomach hurts, the efficiency with which your body functions properly is seriously diminished. When your eyes stop seeing as well, your body is greatly hindered. It doesn’t matter what part of the body it is, when it stops working as it should the whole body is impacted. Likewise, when that part’s function is restored, the body operates more efficiently and effectively than before, affording you the opportunity to accomplish much.
If you want to derail a body, you don’t have to assault each body part, just a few key ones, and mission accomplished! In 2 Timothy 1:6 & 14, Paul urges Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God in you” and to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you.” I believe God knew we would wrestle with our identity and that Satan’s greatest blow to the Church would be an assault on our individual gifts. Since Satan is the author of lies, it makes sense that God would repeatedly encourage us to speak the truth to one another about the gifts He has placed inside each of us. In Ephesians 4 alone he mentions speaking the truth to one another repeatedly. In verse 25, Paul writes, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
Walking in unity is essential for the Body of Christ to function as it was designed with great health and efficiency. When we walk in the gifts God equipped us with, God’s fullness is present within us and we function as one body for the glory of God. In order for us to walk in unity we must do two things:
- Make the conscious decision to put away falsehood.
- The lies you believe about yourself, the lies you believe about others, the jealousy, the insecurity, the pride, the anxiety, the fear that all comes from believing lies from the Enemy will always keep you from walking in your gift, and ultimately walking in freedom.
- Make the conscious decision to speak truth to each other
- It isn’t enough to stop believing lies, we must replace them with truth and we must share that truth for complete health.
- If we love one another, we will walk in truth with one another, because when we walk in truth we are able to build the Body up in love and function as we were meant to function.
Last week my pastor brought a new perspective to the Tower of Babel story that I had never seen before. He pointed to Genesis 11:6: “The LORD said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.’” In the context of this story, you see a people unified in purpose, vision, and language accomplishing great things for their own glory. And you see the Living God recognize the force that is a united group of people who have set their minds to a task.
What would happen if, rather than envying the gifts of others, we clung to the truth that God has given us something valuable and worthwhile as well to share for the sake of His glory? What would happen if we, as members of the Body of Christ, walking in our gifts, were unified in purpose, vision and language? What would happen if we grasped a hold of the Gospel and ran after Jesus with one heart, speaking to one another in the same language marked by truth and love?
Dear friend, you are truly, divinely, and purposefully gifted. Explore that gift. Cultivate that gift. Speak truth into that gift. Walk in that gift, eyes fixed on Christ, and you may just find freedom like never before. Furthermore, you may invite others to discover more of God as they see His image on display like never before.