19 June 2012

Gifts of the Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, and Shipwrecking Your Ministry

Tim Keller, via Resurgence:
You may mistake the operation of spiritual gifts for the operation of spiritual grace in your life. . . .

Here’s how this danger can begin. Your prayer life may be nonexistent, or you may have an unforgiving spirit toward someone, or sexual desires may be out of control. But you get involved in some ministry activity, which draws out your spiritual gifts. You begin to serve and help others, and soon you are affirmed by others and told what great things you are doing. You see the effects of your ministry and conclude that God is with you. But actually God was helping someone through your gifts even though your heart was far from him.

Eventually, if you don’t do something about your lack of spiritual fruit and instead build your identity on your spiritual gifts and ministry activity, there will be some kind of collapse. You will blow up at someone or lapse into some sin that destroys your credibility. And everyone, including you, will be surprised. But you should not be. Spiritual gifts without spiritual fruit is like a tire slowly losing air.
 I can imagine this little article, and the larger one from which it is adapted, saving a Christian leader's ministry. 

1 comment:

Joshua Van Der Merwe said...

Wow. "Spiritual gifts without spiritual fruit is like a tire slowly losing air." Thanks for posting this, such a reality check.