When I was a teenager, after I had become a Christian, I took a little survey to find out what my spiritual gift was. Now, every true Christian has the Holy Spirit inside him or her, and the Spirit gives us gifts. You know that you have the Spirit when the fruit of the Spirit is seen in your life:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:22-25)
But every Christian should be living a life with these fruit of the spirit. If not, that person is not a Christian. Instead, he or she is taking the Lord’s name in vain, dragging the name of Jesus through the muck of sin.
The spiritual gifts are something that is given to individuals. Some have the gift of mercy, some of teaching, some of service, etc. I figured mine would be teaching or leadership. Instead, I was surprised to see that my top gift was encouragement. (Curious to take a test? Here’s a good one for free.)
In the better half of a decade, I’ve realized more and more that I was made to encourage. Especially because that’s where my flaws are mostly centered: When people come to me with problems, I want to fix their problems. When I see that they are about to make a mistake, I tell them so. Someone with the spiritual gift of mercy would listen and empathize. I want to fix.
One of the things I like to encourage people to do the most is to foster an atmosphere of gratitude and thankfulness. I firmly believe that a thankful heart is the cure for selfishness, greed, and sadness, and I know for me, being thankful only really came after becoming a Christian. I always thought I was entitled to something—that if I just had something else (a boyfriend, more friends, more stuff, a nicer house, a new car, something to do, success), I might be happy. When I became a Christian, I realized that the only thing I deserved was…nothing. Nothing good, anyway. The fact that I had so much was just a testament to the grace of God.
This Christmas, some of the best gifts you can give are encouragement to others and having thankful heart yourself.
I found this blog today: aholyexperience.com. Ann, the writer, is truly a poet. I’ve read a lot of blogs, and I have to say, this woman really has the gift of words, and she shows a lot of grace. I found an old post of hers to be especially encouraging. I hope you read it and are encouraged, too: What to Do When You Want to Give Up and Stay in Bed
Ann talks about being grateful, being thankful, and finding the beauty of every day. Her blog has free gifts, lovely designed calendars and lists to use to document thanksgiving and blessings, birthdays, and beauty.
Go here for a perpetual calendar. (The link to download is below the excerpts and photos)
Click here for a printout of weekly thanksgiving as well as a printout of encouragement for busy moms.
Give the gift of a renewed spirit by sharing encouragement and thankfulness with your loved ones.