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  • Writer's picturesonnyholmes

5 ignition points for personal passion | gifts

Just as God wires us for life, he also endows his people to serve his purpose in creation. He produces the fruit of the spirit, that is, the character of Christ, in us, and further manifests his spirit in us through spiritual gifts that enable our kingdom service. Being aware of this giftedness is an ignition point of personal passion. When I understand my place of service in his kingdom assignment, my effectiveness ramps up. That is passion!

So, we can run in circles for hours debating spiritual gifts. They've been a sidetrack for church people for generations now. If you drive the baseline on this one you'll find dozens of definitions, explanations, positions, and arguments, all worthy of consideration and study. After plodding through them all, however, the LifeWay definition works for me, from Gene Wilkes How to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts (you can view the PDF file @ So, a spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers which empowers them to serve the body of Christ, the church. In my own simplification, a spiritual gift is how the Holy Spirit shows himself in each of us.

Then, there are the cessationists and the continualists, those who believe that the gifts of Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 continue in effect today or ceased at some point in the ministry of the church or the Apostolic Age. Who knows this one with certainty? Now we see in a glass darkly but then face to face (1 Corinthians 12:12). Of course, it is obvious that I am a continualist and believe to the core that he reveals himself in me through the presence of these gifts. My three primary gifts are teaching, faith, and exhortation, as revealed to me in a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, also by LifeWay. is the survey foolproof? No, not hardly. But, the three primary gifts I usually verify in the assessment are affirmed by being things I do well, things I truly am blessed by doing, and feedback from others. I know this: the three have been on my list consistently for 35 years and they are service points that truly get me jazzed. They light my fire! No, really, they ignite my passion. When I'm teaching, believing in impossible situations, or exhorting and encouraging others, I'm doing my best work.

If your life, family, church, or organization is in a lull or a valley, help the people under your care through a process of...

(1) affirming the tenets of faith [conviction]

(2) asking God for his guidance and revelation [vision]

(3) clarifying his call in their lives [calling]

(4) discovering their strengths [strengths] (5) discovering their spiritual gifts [gifts]

Their passion will be ignited as you all explore the depths of his provision for the life he designed for each of us. I am simply blown away by home many Christians, not to mention a good many pastors I've coached, cannot recite the essentials of Protestant faith, provide a compelling vision of their spiritual expectations, speak the elements of their calling with clarity, or list their personal strengths or spiritual gifts. Recently I asked a local pastor to list his strengths or spiritual gifts and he asked, "What's that got to do with that anyway?". Give me a break.

Passion should define everything about our faith and life! Paul wrote, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17). Evidently, doing anything in the name of Jesus should take us to the next level of zeal and performance. Just a few verse later he wrote, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..." (Colossians 3:23). Paul had already mentioned "...struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me" (Colossians 1:29), and indication of the passion that propelled him to kingdom service.

That he graciously gifted each of us for service should quicken our pulse and send us forth with great passion. John Knox wrote, “God is not moved by our perfection. He is moved by the passion we have for Him, which is rooted in our faith.”

It's time for some passionate kingdom service. He's given us all that we need for it.

Serve with Lord with gladness.

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