If you are a believer in Jesus, when you received Him, you were given one or more spiritual gifts. The purpose of the gifts are not for self-fulfillment, but to be a blessing in the body of Christ to others. Most of us want to be a blessing. We want to use our gifts to help others, but we often feel inadequate for the task. I know I do.
One of my gifts is exhortation/encouragement. I love to encourage people to look at things from God’s perspective. I want them to gain hope, strength, and courage for their situation. I think the hardest time to encourage someone is when they are a mature believer. I start to second guess their thoughts and the despair they feel. I’ve been there. I know they know what the Bible says about their circumstances. So, for me to say it to them feels like I am either hitting them over the head in their pain with scripture, or sounds condescending. I hate to be/do either.
Sometimes they just need someone to love them, and pray with them. Or even just for them.
When I need encouragement, it depends on how well I know a person, how much I respect them, like them, and how comfortable I feel with them as to what level of encouragement or truth I can receive from them.
Our responsibilities and abilities to use our gifts increase with the depth of relationship we have with people. That’s why relationship building is so critical. The little, daily things that create trust and allow people to get close enough to us to see our true motives. I’m learning that great influence comes most easily with great love.
Next time you feel inadequate to use your spiritual gift with someone. First remember; you are inadequate (don’t you feel better, now?)! It’s called a spiritual gift, and it can only be used effectively, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, assess what you need to do. Do they just need a friend to listen to them? Love covers a multitude of sin. Be a friend. Do what you would want them to do to you. Have compassion, knowing you can’t see or understand all of what they may be going through. But never allow your compassion to outweigh the truth of how God sees their situation. There are answers in his Word. When I’m physically sick, hugs are okay, but I need to be reminded to take Vitamin C.
We can only be set free from the burden of our trouble by looking at it from God’s view. He is our Savior. He is full of compassion. He hears the cry of the oppressed and the discouraged. He rescues those who look to Him from all their troubles. The truth shall set you free (but you have to know it!).
He also said He would give us wisdom if we asked Him for it in faith. Don’t be afraid to ask!