Establishing Spiritual Identity
When we are all convinced to care for the needs of others, everyone will see needs met. Some will have great needs and some small but all of us can all admit that we have unmet needs. They may not exist now and maybe they are needs that are yet to come. Whether now or in the future we all experience feelings of inadequacy, want, and necessity which if left unchecked will overrun our mental sanctity and spurn feelings of division and doubt that could ultimately affect every area of ministry.
How to we combat such a violent attack on our psyche?
The answer, while seemingly simple, is also constructively elusive. When each believer embraces their spiritual gift and allows it to flow and operate in the context of ministry we find that the health of the believer is strengthened. It’s not simply the mental and spiritual health that benefits from a cohesive spiritual functionality but also the physical. The physical body is directly connected to our mental process. One can see it in body language (saddened eyes or fatigued posture), as well as biological function.
The role of spiritual vitality should not be a responsibility exclusive to the pastor, although he or she should be a consistent model of spiritual health. This does not assume every pastor is spiritually healthy in totality as sin continues to disrupt even the greatest of leaders with the greatest of intentions. It is to assume, however, that spiritual vitality can flow from our greatest dysfunction if ushered by the Spirit of God.
Whether prophesy, miracles, wisdom, speaking in tongues, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading or compassion is the identifying gift prevalent in ones life, it is not the sole function of any that create spiritual accord. No gift on its own can account for the wholeness of the believer. It is only as each gift complements the other that the needs of the believer are met in totality. The Kingdom of God is not the Kingdom of individuality. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of together.
If we so desire that the local church function at a high level of spiritual accountability, obedience, and trust, we must not exclude or make greater one than the other the spiritual gifts as they operate in accordance with each other. The complimentary nature of the spiritual gifts feeds the soul and nourishes it to an effective level of influence.
It is not uncommon for one to define their identity by the gifting they possess. One who performs miracles can quickly be defined by such a demonstration. One who speaks in tongues may also be labeled, as well as one who is giving or one who is compassionate. Any identity that is sought or given through such gifts is not only a misrepresentation of the Giver but also a dysfunction of the gift bearer.
Our identity was never to be associated with our works. Our identity is to be associated with He who forgave our sins. If ever an identity should be possessed it is that of love as out of this perfect act we were made right with our Lord.