Practice Time!

In life, everything we are skilled at has come through trial and error and many times of practice.  We learned from our mistakes, perhaps, asked for help from another person, and tried again.  After a period of time, we learned how to feed ourselves, or read, or ride a bicycle, or give a talk, or play an instrument, or any number of skills.  Even when born with a gift for singing or athletics, that gift could be honed into a greater effectiveness than just raw talent alone.

We did something with the basic material we had been given.

However, a strange mindset often is present regarding the ministry of spiritual gifts. Somehow, even though, we expect the pastor to have studied and prepared how to deliver a sermon on Sunday morning, and we expect the choir and musicians to have spent time preparing the music, it is somehow not expected that any study or training is beneficial or even necessary for ministry of the gifts of the Spirit.

“For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another {various} kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Cor 12:8-10 NAS)

I am not suggesting that the Holy Spirit requires any kind of training, but rather that WE may indeed! He is speaking, revealing, leading, and moving, but we do not always hear, see, follow, or yield very well.

An often-overlooked verse reveals that our spiritual senses may improve with practice:

“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Heb 5:14 NAS)

No Longer Ignorant
Most of us have heard of gifts such as prophecy and miracles, but fewer of us have any kind of working knowledge, or experience, in ministering any of these nine gifts.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (1 Cor 12:1 KJV)

The word “ignorant” here means precisely that– “to have no working knowledge of”.

I may read a book on how to operate a car, but until I sit in the driver’s seat, turn the ignition, and start to move, I am experiencially “ignorant” of how to do so. And before receiving a driver’s license, a demonstrated proficiency is required behind the steering wheel.

How to Stop Being Ignorant

  1. Be teachable. This requires humility and a desire to learn.
  2. Build your faith through reading what the Bible teaches on the subject, including the many examples given.
  3. Learn from those who already are doing.
  4. Find a safe, healthy environment where you and others are encouraged to practice.
  5. Seek to be a blessing to others and to allow the Holy Spirit to move through you.
  6. Mentors and seminars can shave years off the learning curve! Remember, God wants to partner with you for the building up of the Church and for demonstrating His love to those who do not yet know Him.

“So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual {gifts,} seek to abound for the edification of the church.” (1 Cor 14:12 NAS)

What a glorious thing to partner with God!