Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

          Our identity is not found in our gifting or calling but in our relationship with the Father. An apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher is not who we are. It is how we were created to serve. We find our identity in our loving relationship with the Father, not our gifting.

          Disciples are made when people willingly follow you and your living example. What kind of example are you setting? What are you reproducing if you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father? Do we really need two or more like you?

Our priority should be a growing relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace being alone with God and pursuing intimacy with the busyness of religious activity. Another pitfall is to allow our “quiet time” or “devotion time” with the Lord to become lifeless, where we go through the motions and never connect with God on an intimate level. We can read a daily chapter or two in our Bible, run through our laundry list of prayer requests, and never take time to be quiet and listen to the one we are talking to. I have been guilty of this myself. It is tragic to become religious in our devotion to God and call it a relationship.

            We can learn about God from reading and studying the Bible, but to honestly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, and listen to Him.

          Jesus set a remarkable example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This mindset demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is necessary to be a disciple of Christ.

          If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to honestly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, listen to my responses, and spend time with me. It is the same with God.

          Reading the Bible takes on new dimensions when intimacy becomes a lifestyle. The word of God bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through the lens of His divine nature; we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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