Basically, the Body of Christ should consist of many different members with many different gifts and we should all submit to one another according to the gifts the others have been given. That is the way the church initially was meant to be when the first Christians had no Bible as we know it today. We read in 1 Corinthians chapter 12,
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Cor 12:4-11 ESV [Colored emphasis in italics mine]
Here we can also see WHY God gives us gifts, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7 ESV) The gift is not for the one who receives it, but for those who are in need of it. And the Body of Christ has many different members. None of them is more important than another. All are equally necessary as Paul describes in 1 Cor 12:12-31. As for differentiating natural talents from spiritual gifts, I would like to point out to you the following definition.
A talent […] is something that you are born with. It’s a personal trait or characteristic. It is not an activity that you are good at (that’s a strength).
The book defines a talent as “any recurring patterns of thought, behaviour or feeling”.
So anything that you do daily, often without being aware of it is a natural talent.
Let me give you an example
If you are a person that thinks a lot and always analyses what you experience, then this is an ever existing pattern that defines who you are. You may wonder how this can be a talent – well simply because you can apply it productively: For example by getting involved on the front end of projects and initiatives.
Maybe you are drawn to strangers and love meeting new people, creating strong connections with them and expanding your network. This is also a behaviour that you do continuously and mainly unconsciously. This is also a talent that can be applied productively – for example in a sales position.
I believe and have seen that God sometimes uses our natural talents and abilities when He connects them to His Spirit so that the initial natural talent we could use how we wanted beforehand can be used in a supernatural way according to God’s eternal plan. However, it is not necessary that someone has a special natural talent so that God can use him. Instead, we might remember that God does not need what the world thinks to be important and impressive,
“For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” […] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:19, 25-31 ESV)
Spiritual gifts are always given by God in order to build up the Body of Christ. From hence, we might understand that a Christian who separates himself from other Christians with who God has put him or her together won’t have that much spiritual power to overcome the attacks of the evil one on his own and will run danger to fall away from faith. Scripture confirms it here,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” (Heb 10:23-27 ESV)
[Attention: If God has not yet put you together with others in the way I describe below, you may forget the verses from Hebrews, esp. 26 and 27, for now – completely!!!]
Fellowshipping in the sense of meeting together ought to have, first of all, a spiritual component. In fact, it is possible that you meet other believers and you try desperately to fellowship with them, but suddenly you realize that something must be wrong. You were looking for a closer and deeper connection through fellowshipping with them; however, it did not work. Whether you made your experience in a church building, in a house church meeting, or elsewhere is not important. Yet it is essential to know that true spiritual fellowship is never a man-made relationship. Indeed, it is a gift from heaven. The psalmist says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Ps 127:1 ESV) And since we live in New Covenantal times, we may know that the house of the Lord, i.e. the Church, cannot be seen with our physical eyes in the first place.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pt 2:4-5 ESV)
Can we see the living stone without our hearts having been enlightened by God’s Spirit before? Can we…? Most probably not. Also, we read that we, like Christ, are to be living stones that together constitute a spiritual house. From my own experience I can tell that as soon as I meet someone with who God wants me to fellowship, my internal eyes see him/her as I see God and Christ and I feel the same supernatural love God initially gave me to love HIM back. Then I know that such a relationship will turn out to be eternal because God ordained it to be so. The apostle Paul said,
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor 1:9 ESV)
Apart from being one with God through Christ’s Spirit before, we cannot have such a spiritual fellowship with one another, however much we might yearn for it. If you still feel lonesome as for true fellowship, please, wait on the Lord. He will provide in His perfect time and then your loneliness will be over. Promise!
“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3 ESV)
❤ Much love ❤
….. Susanne …..