DEVOTION FOR WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17TH, 2017
CALLING: USING SPIRITUAL GIFTS TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH
Kids have loved building with Play-Doh for more than 60 years. First introduced at schools in Cincinnati, this soft modeling clay was featured at a national education convention in 1955 and marketed in department stores the following year. It is estimated that children have played with some 700 million pounds of this famous material. In 1998, Play-Doh was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The spiritual gifts of believers are the building materials of the church. That is, with our Spirit-given gifts, we serve the church and build up one another. Living worthy of our salvation is not an individualistic activity, as we often think of it, but a community enterprise. We “do life together,” as the current saying goes. The key is God’s grace (v. 7).
Salvation is about God’s kingdom and victory. In something of a rabbinic style, Paul comments on Psalm 68:18 to make this point (vv. 8–10). Christ descended became human and died) in order to ascend (His mission of redemption finished). He humbled Himself in order to reign. The “captives” are sin, death, and Satan. The “gifts” are grace and life.
Living worthy of our salvation happens when people use their spiritual gifts to serve and edify one another within the church (vv. 11–13). This is why the Spirit gives the gifts at all—to build
up the body of Christ. Apostles and prophets were the “foundation” of the church (2:20). Evangelists, pastors, and teachers equip believers through their work. Other gifts are listed elsewhere in Scripture, and all serve the purpose of building up the church toward unity.
Just as salvation is both finished and in process, so also is unity. We both possess it and are reaching it. It will be complete when our knowledge of Christ is mature and perfect.
APPLY THE WORD
Are you using your spiritual gift as God intended? Sometimes we treat spiritual gifts as tools for selfunderstanding or self-expression. But they’re meant to be used for the benefit of God’s people. To learn more, read Ministering through Spiritual Gifts: Recognize Your Personal Gifts and Use Them to Further the Kingdom by Charles Stanley.
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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