Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spiritual Gifts 02: They Should Alleviate Inferiority

I shared last week that often times, people do not feel the unity that comes with spiritual gifts. One of the reasons for that is that they have an inferiority complex. For some reasons, they have come to think that their gifts they have been given by the Spirit of God, are not as important as someone else's gifts. But the reality is that the different gifts were given to prove just the opposite. They were given so that we would never feel inferior.

The illustrations that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12 is very helpful for us to understand that every part of the body is needed. In verse 15, Paul says that if the foot doesn't feel like he belongs to the body simply because he isn't as cool as the hand, that would not make him less a part of the body. In addition, he says in verse 16 that if the ear says something like, "well, because I am not an eye, I'm not as important," that statement would not make the ear less a part of the body. These illustrations strike home for us.

Think about it. When was the last time you looked deeply at your loved one and said, "I am really drawn to your ears, they are just so beautiful." No, the ears are usually only pointed out if they are too big. Otherwise, they hardly get any attention. And as far as the feet go, they are usually only commented on when they look strange; when a toe is longer than the others; when they are too hairy; or when the toenails look nasty.

Those that are more like the ear or toe might have an inferiority complex. But the hope Paul offers in verse 17 is that there is a need for diversity. If everyone were an eye, how would the body hear? If the entire body were an ear, how would it smell. The ear is needed. The eye is needed. The nose is needed. The implication is that the toe is needed.

There are some who have suffered for years with this sort of inferiority complex, even in the church. But the reality is that God has given spiritual gifts so that it would alleviate this problem. When we look at someone and think, "Well, I wish I had their gift because it is so much better than my gift", we are going against God's sovereign choice for you. It is the equivalent of looking at God and saying, "Is there a gift receipt that comes with this?"

If you struggle with this in the life of the church, let me encourage you in this way. I believe that God would say something like this to you: "I made you special and exactly how I need you for the church. Don't feel inferior. Get to work with your special gift for the good of the church and for my glory."

There is one more aspect of spiritual gifts I will share in a few days.

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