7 What is our destiny?
1 Corinthians 12:18
But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided.
We have all wondered why we are here on earth. What reason does God have for me? What am I supposed to be doing here? What are my gifts? Well, Paul tells us that God has placed us here, in the body, and that He has decided where we should be. In fact, Paul tells us that this is a matter of fact. It is true. You are not on your own to figure out what you are good at, what you are supposed to do, what your best at. God places you on purpose. And if He purposefully placed you, then you can know that He has given you the resources to do what you are called to do.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all.
We are told that there are different gifts, different ministries, different results. All of this comes from God. In fact, when the gifts and ministries produce results, they are the results that God produced. Nothing happens by accident. It is by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives that the things that we do and the results that they produce are manifest.
Perhaps soon I’ll deal with the sovereignty of God, for some of this fits quite snuggly in that topic. But I want to be clear that when we talk about God producing the results, it does not necessarily mean that He is crafting the outcome. Rather He is in the outcome: with a good or bad outcome God is there to help us deal with the results. He is producing results in us, in everyone. So as it says here in verse 7, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to all of us for the benefit of all the rest of us. Until we talk more about sovereignty in a future post know this: God is good and loving; He will not hurt us to get His point across. He is not the cause of our pain, sickness, disease, or handicap. But He will help us to deal with our situations so that His results will be produced in us, through us, out of any situation.
So Paul tells us that there are different gifts and ministries that we all walk in. Do not envy what anyone else is walking in if that is not your calling. Seek out where God wants you, and through that He will be able to produce the best fruit from your life that can be produced.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11
8 For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things.
We can see in this set of verses that there are a number of gifts manifest in us. And all the gifts are manifest by the same Spirit — the Holy Spirit of God. The distribution is as He decides and He will produce the outcome in us from these if they are used properly.
Let us take a look at the practical aspect of this for a moment before we move on in 1 Corinthians. Many people, when speaking of spiritual things, over-spiritualize things. They see the Word speak of things like “the message of wisdom” or “the message of knowledge” and they get an image of being in church and people prophesying over other people. Or as in some churches where the woman with blue hair will suddenly shout out in the middle of service a Word from God for the congregation, and the pastor is supposed to just go with the flow. I’ve only seen one pastor, in an AoG church I once attended, shout down a person who decided to prophesy as such.
But this over-spiritualization doesn’t have to be the answer. You see whatever you do in life, whatever your job is, whatever your vocation is, there is a need for wisdom or for knowledge. Miracles come in many packages, some are truly supernaturally miraculous but then some are small miracles in people’s lives. Your edification of someone could produce a small miracle in their understanding of their current situation. Whatever the gifts that the Spirit has given you, you are to use them throughout your life, not just when you are in church. They are meant to edify everyone. Verse 7 tells us that they are meant to benefit all.
1 Corinthians 12:16-19
16 And if the ear says, “Since I am not an eye, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. 17 If the whole body were an eye, what part would do the hearing? If the whole were an ear, what part would exercise the sense of smell? 18 But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided. 19 If they were all the same member, where would the body be?
As we have discovered, there are many gifts. The Spirit of God distributes many gifts to many people, and whatever gifts we’ve been given we are not be envious of someone else’s gifts. We all have a part to play and a duty to perform a task. God “has placed each [of us] just as He decided.” He is in control. He has decided what gifts you should have. He has decided where you could best be used. And once everyone is in place, their gifts squarely within sight, then the body can function as a whole with all it’s members properly functioning as one body. Then and only then will the results be in concert of one another and God’s will be done in our lives.
1 Corinthians 12:24-26
24 Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.
And here is why finding and chasing your destiny, your gifts, is important. God has “blended together the body.” God has decided where you should be. God has decided what the results should be. We are to have no division, and that will lead us all to help one another. We are to have mutual concern for each other. We are supposed to care. And we are supposed to get involved with each other’s concerns. When you think about how God has sewn us together as a whole, then think about one or more of the parts not working correctly. This will result in the whole body not working correctly. When one of us suffers, when one of us is dysfunctional, then the whole will not be healthy. When everyone is functional, then the whole is happiest and content and healthy.
You are a part of the Body of Christ. You are crucial for the whole to work effectively. There are people who are counting on you to function correctly so that they can then function correctly. If you break down, someone who depends upon you will not be able to do their thing effectively. Of course if you are AWOL, then God will help to move things forward and to produce a proper output in the rest of the body. He will see the outcome according to His will.
This is all part of the sanctification of the Church body. In sanctification God is changing us, teaching us. In sanctification we have a part to play, an effort to make. Sanctification produces a change in us. And as a member in the Body of Christ we are to find and perform our gifts, our destiny, so that other people can continue in theirs. God will place us. God will help us through the Holy Spirit. And God will see that the outcome meets up to His requirements. Do your part. Find your gifts; find God’s plan in your life. And then do it.