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“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

This time of year, when we hear the words gift or present, our minds go directly to Christmas presents under the tree. The images are everywhere. We are surrounded by themes of Christmas in every store we enter. At home, we experience television and other forms of media that provide us with shows about Christmas and interject commercials of the perfect gifts to purchase for friends and family. As Christians we know the most precious gift we have been given is the reason we celebrate: the gift of our Savior, the Son of God.

But we may take for granted the personal gifts our loving Father has given each of us. Daily we may take care of our families without thinking of the miracle of life. We may volunteer in church or community functions without realizing that the individual gifts of service, interpersonal communication, and organizational skills are not gifts to all people. We may cook for a neighbor or friends without thinking of the gifts of knowing how to cook and having plentiful food to eat and share.

Within each of us who are followers of Christ, we have been given such individual miraculous gifts of wonder.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12: 6-8

These individual gifts were differentially given to us. Our Creator, who wonderfully made us, provided us with the uniqueness to serve each other, to love each other, and provide for each other in specific ways. Some preach, others teach, and yet others serve. But why? For what purpose are we to use these gifts?

I learned the true answer this week during church The real reason for personal gifts given to us was tucked within the message given by my pastor. I always figured the reason for my own unique gift of writing was to carry out my small piece of the Great Commission; to bring others to Christ or strengthen their existing faith. I attempt to use the gift of writing for the very purpose of sharing faith through my Christian books and blog posts and pray that God leads a reader to those pages. But this is not the only reason. When I heard the other reason God gives us gifts, it gave me pause.

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“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-13

As Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, we are equipped with gifts to build up Christ’s church. Additionally, these gifts are provided to increase our own faith. A finished product of a book may bring a message to a reader, but the act of creating the message serves to increase my own faith. God planned it that way. He selected this gift for me because He knew I needed to increase my own faith and going through the process of writing helps me to do so. In fact, God gave each of us a gift to use that will help others increase their love of Christ, their hope in Christ, their faith, and to help us strengthen our own faith. These are equally important. Understanding the purpose of my writing is to work on my own faith provides a new perspective. Every message to a reader is crafted to help me attain “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Will our faith ever be perfected? Will serving and using our individual gifts ever bring us to the full understanding of Christ? Will any person ever truly know and understand all there is to know and understand about God? All I am sure of is that I am called to continue working, striving, moving, closer to that aspiration. My own faith will be increased by using my gift and staying close to His Word while I work.

Today, use your own gift. Help your neighbor. Serve in your church or community. Tend to your family. Teach a child. Mentor a friend in their faith. Let every action cause you to feel closer to God and strengthen your faith in Him.

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