Every Christian is given at least one spiritual gift with which to serve the Lord and build up the body of Christ. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7) But many believers neglect this special empowerment of the Spirit. Although Timothy had some good reasons to forsake his calling from God, Paul advised him to “take pains with these things” and “be absorbed in them” (1 Tim. 4:15). As you look at Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12-16), ask yourself if either of the following situations are hindering you from fully serving the Lord.

Age: No matter how old we are, the Lord wants us to use our spiritual gifts. Because Timothy was young, he could easily have been intimidated by those with more experience. However, youth isn’t our only excuse. Some believers think they’re too old to serve the Lord. Even though our areas of ministry may change over the years, we’re never called into spiritual retirement.

Inadequacy: Have you ever avoided a service opportunity simply because you felt totally unqualified? That’s probably how Timothy felt about leading the church at Ephesus. Our spiritual gifts rarely come to us fully developed. God often requires that we step out in faith and trust Him to work in and through us. Over time, as we obey and serve Him in our areas of giftedness, He increases the effectiveness of our ministry.

Is anything keeping you from using your spiritual gifts? Though given to us, these abilities aren’t for us; they’re for the church. We are capable because we are new creatures in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17) 

As new creatures in Christ, we are called to serve our Lord God in His kingdom. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) To neglect them would not only deprive fellow believers but also rob ourselves: there is joy and blessing in serving others and doing the work God has designated for us.

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