2018-09-08 / Religion

How can we accept spiritual gifts?

tim bowes

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

Do you remember the days of dial radio and rotary antenna? I do! Do you remember fiddling with the tuner and looking for that clear signal? I do!

Well, this is not that! What we are talking about today is not a difficult signal or seeing dimly through a colored glass. We are talking about not having the sort of hearing that makes this sort of hearing possible!

The fact is the natural man cannot receive spiritual things.

It is no wonder so much spiritual proclamation and activity goes forth without subsequent spiritual growth and result, for so many hearers are not receivers. There are no spiritual receivers in carnal women and men.

So, what happens? People follow cultural religion, led by people that people follow over or against other people, rather than living in a dynamic, spiritual relationship with God and other spiritual people whereby God is glorified and people are cared for. Thus, we get caught up in and disappointed by fleshly issues, being careful to watch out for self above others and regularly breaking relationships.

Paul said as much to the believers in Corinth: “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 ESV)

What hope, then, is there for people of the flesh?

First, one must be brought to the place of realization and confession that we are utterly hopeless to receive or achieve spiritual life in and of our own volition.

Secondly, we must become convinced that spiritual life is possible.

Thirdly, we must give up carnal life, die to self and release anything – and I do mean anything – that would prevent or hinder the reception of spiritual life. Many come to the realization of helplessness and possibility, but balk at yielding self, putting off the old man, repenting of the flesh and unbelief, and releasing any self-built realities or ideas of life.

Fourthly, and chiefly, receive by faith the Lord Jesus and continue in faith marked by obedience to the way prescribed by the master. When one gives up this world, one must take up something in its place; more so, someone in its place.

Is it any wonder so many religious places are just that? God’s promise is life – the life – the promise is the reality of Jesus. Is it any wonder we hear marvelous truth and ignore it, forget it, forsake it... lose it before the engines start or the whistles blow minutes after the sermon closes?

Let us consider these things; weigh them. May God give us grace to see it, understand it and receive it.

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