When we become new-creations in Christ we go through many stages of growth as the likeness and mind of Christ is “formed within us.” The new-birth does not repair the “old man,” but makes everything within us brand-new. 2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. The change we receive is evidenced in three elements: a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of will. As a result, our goals change to “heavenly” and our desires become “spiritual.” The old things pass away and we are “brand-new” because of the indwelling Christ.
Some Christians never reach maturity. Like babies in the world we often begin by being self-centered and do not know how to be Christ-centered. Immaturity desires to be pampered and have “its own way.” A babe in Christ seldom seeks to feed himself and expects someone else to study and spiritually feed him. Beginners in Christ have no confidence in their ability to pray and be heard, so they constantly seek the prayers of others. These traits are meant to be only a starting point in our walk with Christ. Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.
None of us have obtained all that God has for us. We cannot exhaust the potential riches in Christ nor the gifts and blessings that the Father will bestow upon His obedient children. Few of us ever reach the full measure of God within us because we do not pursue God and His wisdom enough. The “truth of God,” the written word, the living word, and the spoken word, are made alive because it is Spirit, and it makes us “alive unto God.” The more we read and understand, the more our faith comes alive and we realize we can be the “light and witness” God has called us to be. The word, our faith, and the Holy Spirit have the power to release us from our fleshly bonds to soar to the heights God has called us. We are “losers” when we stop “short” of receiving “all” He is ready to give us. If we are satisfied to be a child, then we will never reach the full maturity and the fullness of the gifts and blessings God has reserved for us. Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
We are to walk worthy of the Lord and bear the fruit of His likeness within us and before all men. Christ Himself gives us the fruit of His Spirit so we can put on His nature and be pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Christ’s fruit within us will revolutionize our personality, mind, heart, and will. It is only as we bear His fruit and His likeness that we can be a light and inspiration to the world. When we are given totally to Christ, our lives will bear the fruit of full abundance and blessings from God. When we have the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit, we fully begin to bear the image of Christ, and have the power to finish His works. This should be the goal of every Christian.
Many Christians believe the gifts of the Spirit are not for this generation and do not seek them. We can all agree that we must have the fullness of the Spirit to be effective. Paul the apostle said, “Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Corinthians 2:12-13) Paul also states: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1Corinthians 2:2-5)
I believe in the gifts of the Spirit because I have been given a number of them, and I know that I am not as effective when the gifts are not operating and His Spirit is not anointing me. I believe the gifts operate at God’s discretion, timing, and according to His will and purpose. 1Corinthians 12:4-11 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of Spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Our eyes are to be fixed on Christ alone. We are told by Christ, to rejoice only because our names are written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the Spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Gifts are very profitable for kingdom work, but they demand our total responsibility to the “Giver of the Gifts.” They are not toys, but divine gifts that can bring growth to the Kingdom of God. The Bible tells us that to “whom much is given, much is required!” The gifts can be used to glorify God, or misused and bring shame to the Holy name of God. We must give a full account of ourselves before the judgment seat of Christ. We are fully responsible to God for everything He gives us and we will answer to Him for our words and actions.
Many of God’s children never realize their full potential in Christ because they are not daily pursuing their birth-rights in Christ. Few of us have obtained all of Christ that we need to fully utilize the call and work God has given to us. Those that have fully reached their full calling in Christ stand out as glorious examples of the riches and significance of Christ within them. We must press on if we want the prize. Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We are to walk in the Spirit of Christ and put on His attributes, do His works, and pursue the goals he has set before us. We should seek the revelations of His purposes for us and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. We must be constantly washed by God’s word and pray unceasingly for God’s will to be accomplished in all we think and do. 2Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. There must be determination, obedience, and willingness between our will and God’s will to arrive at our destination of “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Lest we think we can’t attain to our calling, remember the scripture that says: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
As we press on for more of Christ and His Holy Spirit within us, we receive blessings and gifts. Most of all, we receive more of the presence of God in our lives and He brings us a sense of well-being and security. He inspires us to new and greater purposes and heights in Him. The greatest possession we have is: Colossians 1:27-28 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 2Peter 1:4 By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is true that God has given to us great and precious promises, but we must ask for them, willingly receive them, and passionately keep ourselves for Christ alone.
When we ask and seek God, He places the infinite treasures of the Godhead in our earthen vessels and the power to receive His completeness and perfection is of and through God. The Bible itself is Spiritually discerned. To have its full potential of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding working in us we must continually seek the living word and have Him working within us. The measure of the fullness Christ has for us is inexhaustible. Ephesians 4:11-15 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ.