“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:11–14, ESV)
There are two things I added to the 40 Things NOT to Give Up for Lent list today. They are gifts and abilities! These are all part of a larger category of all the ways in which God equips us to serve.
Maybe you have learned about discovering your S.H.A.P.E. These letters stand for:
- S – spiritual gifts
- H – heart
- A – abilities
- P – personality
- E – experiences
Spiritual gifts are ways in which God supernatural empowers us for service. These are qualities and characteristics with which we are endowed. They are not learned or acquired. They are given to us by our good and gracious Father in heaven.
Heart is our passion. This is what we get excited about. This is what gets us out of bed before the alarm clock goes off. We have greater motivation in our areas of passion.
Abilities are those things which we have acquired over time. You may have gone to school to learn a skill such as accounting or engineering. You may have studied music or art. Abilities are skills that have come through practice and study.
Personality is about the way you interact with others. Some of us are more introverted and others of us are more extroverted. Some of us will jump before we look and others of us will look before we jump.
Experiences are about things we have been through. It is the things you have seen. It is the people with whom you have shared life together. It is the challenges you have overcome.
All these things make you uniquely you. There is no one who has lived who has had the unique combination of spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences that you have had. There is no one who will come after you who is like you. You are God’s masterpiece. He did not create you to be anyone else. He created you to be who you are and do what you do.
Take some time to reflect on what God has given you:
- What are your spiritual gifts? Have you taken a spiritual gifts inventory?
- What are your passions? How can these passions be used to bless others?
- What skills have you acquired? Do you have an outlet to use these skills in a kingdom building manner?
- Describe your personality. Are you serving in a way that aligns with your personality or is there a better way to align your serving?
- How have your life experiences given you the ability to minster compassion to others?
The next step is to put your S.H.A.P.E. to work. Where is God leading you to put those things to work? How can you use these gifts and abilities for God’s kingdom?
- Describe your S.H.A.P.E.
- How can you put these things to work to serve God’s kingdom in a unique way?
- How is knowing your S.H.A.P.E empowering?