3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
(Romans 12:3-8) (KJV)
We are to use our grace-gift in proportion to our faith. Both therefore has proportion that must correspond.
Grace differs, therefore gift differs.
Grace is what God gives and can increase and the gifting is the expression of it in the natural world.
We have gifts according to the measure of God’s grace. And we should expression the gift in proportion to our faith. Our responsibility is to use our gifts recognising that it takes faith to do so.
Grace comes from God (calling) gifts is what is released to man in the glory of God.
Faith is the level of confidence you have and grace is capacity, gift is the expression.
That does not sound like the concept of faith in which you are supposed to become a millionaire.
But since the concept of faith (as it deals with service) is in the Bible, we do ourselves a lot of harm if we don’t pay attention to it.
We have a measure of faith that needs to be applied in service, operation of spiritual gifts, becoming functional members of the body of Christ.
But I have never heard a sermon on faith for service it has mostly been faith for things.
That is why we have things but most church folks are not functioning in any service role. If at all, it is well below what is possible because of the lopsided emphasis of what faith is.
Why is this the case? I absolutely don’t know. But it is really *unfortunate.*
And another falsehood I have learnt is that everyone has “The” measure of faith, so that means it is the same for everybody and they will always tell us that means we can all believe for things.
Again falsehood seems to be piled on falsehood in the bid to see nothing from the scriptures except what we can get and not what we can give. And there is nothing wrong with getting, for how can we give if we don’t get?
The man gets on the TV screen and it is about how to get your miracles, how to get your breakthrough. This whole self-involved faith as exclusive view of faith for the practicing Christian is sickening.
This meism has become the new Christianity. But it appeals and the preachers keep supplying it.
The word “the” in KJV is for the translators convenience and not in the original Greek. And measure means an original portion.
And in that passage, Paul was explaining that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to.
If the measure means we have the same measure then Paul should just have said, everyone is the same, but everyone is not the same, because of the difference in measures of faith, innate confidence that comes for the expression of our gifts in which some stand out more than the other.
Paul said that so that we stop jostling for positions, becoming boastful, competitive, feeling inferior or superior. We should think soberly, he said, with a sense of proper measurement.
We should recognize our measure of faith from God, hence the level of confidence with which we express what we express. If we think more, we will burn out, if we think less, we will fall below expectation.
But there is a prevalent self-directed concept of faith that has made us all so self-involved.
Nobody teaches that service needed to be by faith and faith is based on the yet unseen reality of the word of God (the call of God in your life, what is written in heaven about you).
But there is a lack of emphasis on faith for service because of the preoccupation with the felt needs of the people, not their truth need.
We have fallen into the trap warned against by Paul about people -pleasing messages, what will please the people, with immediate relevance to them to keep them coming for more.
So Jesus asked: when I come, will I find faith on the earth. That question extends beyond the immediate premise of prayer but all expressions of faith.
Definitely if Jesus comes now, he will find faith for things on the earth, faith for external transformation, faith that maintains and enhances people’s social standing. But where is faith for service
How many of us Christians move with the sense of call for spiritual service as it is clearly expressed in the Bible? We have been taught that we just need to congregate to hear the big man of God speak and that is enough. Consumerism all over again.
Everything is summarised in: hear the big man/woman speak, give him some money and you will be fine. That is the limit of the faith we have been taught. We are so unwise.
But in spiritual service comes our distinction, and there is the proportion of faith in which we should serve God and that kind of faith needs to be emphasised.
Paul wrote that: if I have ALL faith and can remove mountains…
He might be talking hypothetically using hyperboles, but it shows faith can be in proportions and that is specifically what he taught when referring to the need for us to use our gifts in proportion to our faith.
Jesus with limitless measure of the Spirit obviously had all faith. And the fruit of the Spirit is faith. Later, I will touch more on that.
The master, in a parable of Jesus, gave talents to the servants according to their several ability.
What is given is grace. It comes from the hand of the master as grace, it touches their hands as gift. And they should use it, based on their confidence level, in an **Independent** sense, fully under their direction, bringing increase to the kingdom.
When the master came back he told the man who did not use his talent because he said he lacked the confidence to do so, that he could as well have given it to the bankers and he will receive it with interest when he comes back.
Who are the bankers? It is when we use our gifts under another man’s direction, maybe in a church.
That also is a proportion of faith, but it seems to be the lowest proportion to give the talent to the banker, so that the banker risks the money for you, while you are almost a passive onlooker.
But the least level of faith expression in service is what is being mostly hailed as the ultimate today.
From that parable, giving the money to the banker was a concession the master was willing to make, not the ideal he wants to celebrate. Taking the money to the banker is low risk and therefore low faith, if faith is defined by Peter walking on water. It will therefore please God the least. But not doing anything is really bad.
Another word for grace for service is anointing. It is grace we serve others (we are meant to, according to the Bible, be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God”) using the conduit of our gift and in proportion (size of the pipe) to our faith. The contact the anointing on our lives.
It is all about using your gifts for increase. People need their faith, confidence, boosted in the service of God and preaching needs to be directed to that direction to unleash the gifting in the people of God.
Faith and grace worked together in our salvation experience and we need them in an ongoing sense for spiritual service.
Paul wrote that we have been given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. So we find the measure used for gift and proportion and measure used for faith. The measure is the deposit, the proportion is the activity. In a particular context we may have more proportion than in others as Jesus was not able to do many miracles in his home town, even though he did much elsewhere.
The operational words are Recognition and Use.
The call of God comes for us to recognise what we have been given in grace-gift. Recognition is first.
Because of the almost nonexistence teaching of this in the body of Christ, those who have discovered their calling and are walking in it seems to be the odd one out. Many people are content to blend with the crowd, focus on the rat race of an earth-defined and confined existence.
Have faith first that truly you have a gift as part of the body of Christ, because that is what the word of God says.
How would you feel if some parts of your body refuse to work because they are not aware they are even supposed to work? You won’t like it. Physiotherapists will have something to say to that. We need divine physiotherapists released for the body of Christ.
Picture the look on Jesus now, when a large swath of His Body, the church are ignorant of their calling.
What calling have you? It takes faith, not a big revelation to recognise it.
We have been inundated in the church with big revelation ministers so much that we believe that if seven thunders did not sound calling your name from heaven, you won’t believe you are called.
What a shame, as everyone is called.
Paul however said that we have a measure of faith. We already have it. The word is near us, the word of faith, we don’t need to climb a mountain or swim the ocean. It starts with faith-recognition that what God said is true, that we have all received a measure of faith. We are worth something to God, to his kingdom.
This faith connects us to the plans and purposes of God for us from the foundation of the earth. The devil hates that as he is no longer willingly and actively involved in the plan of God. He is jealous to no end. And would want nothing more than for you to be preoccupied with meism.
Oh that our eyes are opened to see this! We are not required to do something extraordinary, just believe we are gifted, that we are called to walk in a particular direction of service.
Paul said that according to the grace has has received, he wrote to the church in Rome. He was not boastful about it, but grateful about it.
Faith is the disposition to embrace and express the grace poured out on us for service. The combination of the grace (what you are given by God different from someone else’s) and the faith (what you do about the grace) makes the gift functional.
I know why the devil and some church leaders are so scared of having that emphasised and affirmed. For the devil, he does not want that army unleashed on him, for the church leaders, it means their position of supremacy might be threatened.
Grace is divine ability/enablement (and we can grow in grace), faith is man’s capacity.
So grace for teaching comes but the capacity differs from one to another, and faithfulness delivers more capacity.
The one who was faithful and returned 10 for the five talents received, doubled his capacity.
But when the master gave him one talent more that is grace. So he grew in grace and his proportion of faith increased (capacity), in what he can do. The master giving them talents according to their several ability is the measure of faith.
The grace is inclusive of the platform that God gives (Paul’s writing was a power platform), but the faith is what you do in diligence. But faith*fulness (consistency) leads to more grace, as it leads to more faith (confidence).
Both grace and faith has a link to prayer. We approach the throne of grace in prayer to find GRACE to help in time of need and James said we should build up ourselves on our most holy FAITH, PRAYING in the Holy Ghost.
So the one who emphasises prayer emphasises increase grace and faith for service. But this won’t happen if faith and by extension prayer is all about meism. We need a shift.
Paul said we should not be slothful in business but be fervent in spirit serving the Lord. He said that a few verses after his gift-grace-faith discussion.
The measure of faith may differ, the grace calling may differ in the special ability you have to perform a certain function, we may differ in longevity of service, available resources and platforms, but we all need to be passionate, fervent, red hot, devoted, lavish in serving God.
(Faith is also reflected in the size of the projects embarked on, the authority in the voice of the speaker, e.g. in prophesying.)
Red hot devotion was displayed by the woman who poured oil on Jesus before his burial, an alabaster box of precious ointment.
Others wanted to analyse it, but Jesus rewarded her with fame. She was faithful (expressed devotion) in little and God gave her much. That is grace for grace. For releasing her grace-gift she was given a greater platform. And hundreds of years later, she inspires a song by Cece Winans. And her story has impacted many.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is faith (consistent confidence in the word of God and acting on it).
Faith delivers consistency wherefore Peter sunk while walking on water because his confidence level in the word dropped.
We need to have an unshakable confidence (faith) in our calling (what God has said we should do on earth) (and it is written somewhere in the scripture) and start acting it with confidence (faith).
After Jesus rescued Peter when he sunk, he asked him: why did you doubt? It means why did you neglect your faith?
Faith is both a gift and a fruit, that is how important it is that it has to come in two flavours.
You may have much grace but little faith meaning little faithfulness, as you are double-minded vacillating between confidence and lack of confidence, being sure you are called and not being so sure.
The Bible says let not that person think he will receive anything from God. One thing we receive is grace.
It may be released but we may have not received it, just as the grace of salvation which we read has been released to men, has not been received by all.
And we are all supposed to strive to receive the words: well done good and faithful servants. Those are the words that the Master used to those who traded/used their talents.
“Faithful” means not looking back so you are fit for the kingdom of God. It means consistency, being undistracted.
Faith is also a gift that comes in the grace package. And the fruit of the Spirit is faith.
Both are gifts in a sense, emanating from God. But we may need to walk in the Spirit for the latter, while for the former, is received from God.
The former has a positional quality while the latter has an ongoing quality. They are like two sides of the same coin.
So we all received faith (noun) in a measure but we need to start showing it in being faithful (consistent) (adjective) in service, labouring in the service of God. Paul said I laboured more than the other apostles (similar grace-gift-faith deposit, but different level of active faith).
It is not enough to just do whatever your hands finds to do. That takes little or no faith.
It means that you pick on what is available and you labour away or you see someone you admire and want to be like him or you seek attention, or you see a need and try to meet it. These underutilise faith. In all of them the place of recognition is missing.
After recognition, we need to use the gift. And what is needed is the right motivation, orientation of what we have so that we so not despise it as the man given the one talent dealt with his own, burying it because he did not think much of it.
Faith takes an healthy view of the gift we have received. And Paul wrote that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to but to allow faith to define our perspective.
We should appreciate ourselves because God appreciates us enough to deal us a measure of faith to operate our gift. We are to think soberly, in moderation is our appraisal of ourselves, is what Paul said we should do as we have been given a measure of faith.
But we should think of ourselves according to our function as part of the body of Christ. Let that form the core of our self concept, not in comparison to others which is what we will do, if we reduce faith to just getting things in a vicious cycle.
Let’s not fight in envy, jealousy, recognising that the other person has grace that you don’t have; proportion of faith that you are yet to have, because that person is called to be a blessing to you.
Paul said “I magnify my calling, I make much of it, make the most of it”. See the impact everywhere now.
He did that by faith, we should too.
Focus on increasing in grace, increasing in faith, and having a close relationship with the Spirit being the source of fire, passion in our hearts for God. Humility (being willing to play at a “lower” level) qualifies you for more grace.
After recognition, as mentioned before, what we need to do is use the gifts and we will increase in what we use as the parable of the talent taught us.
It takes faith to connect with the divine plans specific for you. Many of us just go with the flow. We are either not just bothered at all about living accurately or we are burnt already from trying the wrong shoe. You don’t decide what your grace-gift is, you discover and recognise it.
But faith that connects with your service calling comes by hearing words affirming that. Christ told Paul he has a job for him, an that created faith in him.
But most churches are not bringing forth such a word. The church has become the centre for emotional therapy, rather than centre for equipping/readying the people of God for ministry/service. With that they confirm that they are building people for themselves and not for Christ.
Faith for salvation comes when we preach about the need for salvation, In a similar vein, faith for service comes when we preach it. Faith, we read from the Bible, comes from hearing the word of God in a particular area.
If we look at the words of Paul where he listed the fivefold ministry and if we rescue that passage from the old traditions that have compromised its meaning, the primary role of the Apostle-teacher spectrum is shown to be to equip the saints for the work of ministry, functional service, in the Kingdom of God.
So equipping for service is basic to the calling of the leadership of the church. But since they have refused to even preach about it, then the potentials of the church remain locked up.
Faith comes by hearing the word, but we have really neglected the word of service to build faith in us for service so that we can do great things for His kingdom. We are therefore deprived of heaven’s reward, asked to go about chasing shadows.
Paul said he preached the whole counsel of God. Will you? Will you preach faith in all its facets, or the narrow purview of the so called faith movement?
Paul told some people, I have not neglected to preach to you all the counsel of God but the counsel of God concerning faith for service has been neglected overall in the church.
One of the problems is the narrow definition of service to God. It’s either solely in one extreme of going abroad as a missionary or the other extreme of only seeking to have members make millions so that they can contribute to the church.
In the latter, which is more prevalent, we have focused on Mark 11:22-24 type faith (faith in God) neglecting the Romans 12:3-6 type faith (faith for God).
“Teach my people faith” does not mean Mark 11:22-24 only and there is nothing wrong with but that is not all of it.
Therefore, we have a lopsided/skewed Christianity.
Let the people develop great faith for God. Let my people go that they may serve me was the cry before Pharaoh, it is the cry tofay.
Paul wrote: “How shall they believe, have faith, without a preacher,” without an emphasis on the matter, without someone preaching on it?
Who will preach about faith for service?
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