THE GIFTS ARE FREE

THE GIFTS ARE FREE—

BUT THEY COST!

You can’t buy them, but they come with a price tag. How much would the gift of healing cost? The price of humiliation, more than we may be willing to pay. Ask Kathryn Kullman, loved by multitudes, hated and mocked by others. You don’t pay in cash—you do in commitment. What does it cost to die to your reputation?

My friend George paid for his ministry of deliverance. Often on ministry trips I didn’t see him from morning until night because many needed him. It wrung him out, but he loved bringing liberty to people, and he skipped meals to do it. Would I?

When I sensed as a local church pastor that God wanted to bring a prophetic word on Sunday, I would call Jean Hahn. She would say, tongue in cheek, “Thanks a lot,” because she knew it meant praying into the night. She paid a price for the privilege of speaking on His behalf.

If Kathrine Cullman was correct, God is looking for people willing to die to their time, their schedules, their opinions, their fears, so that they can “faithfully administer God’s grace.” The Greek word for grace is “charis.” The gifts of the Spirit are gifts of grace—“charisma.” The charismatic renewal has been named from the gifts of the Spirit—the “charismata.” They come from the grace of God. But those who receive them pay a price. And the greater the anointing, the higher the price tag.

God gave Roy Jones, an architect, the gift of discernment. Occasionally people would call to tell me about strange things going on in their home—lights turning off, noises, moving shadows. I called Roy and asked him to accompany me. God had given him a remarkable gift. It seemed that he could smell a demon. He would shake his head to affirm activity of the enemy. I offered the prayers that commanded the demons to leave, which they always did, but Roy discerned their presence. Though a busy man, he made ministry a priority. He knew that his gift was not his own; it belonged to those needing the discernment.

So how do we receive the gifts of the Spirit? Unlike fruit, which is developed over a period of time, gifts can be received in a moment. Scripture says that the Spirit “gives them to each person, just as he determines” (I Cor. 12:11), which might cause us to wait passively. But at the end of that chapter, Paul says to “eagerly desire the greater gifts” (v. 31).

In case we missed it, he says it again: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spirit gifts” (14:1). So divine sovereignty works hand-in-hand with human desire. Could your desire for spiritual gifts be described as zeal? Have you convinced God that you want to exercise the gifts? Are you asking—again and again?

If God has given you an intense desire to prophesy or to bring healing to others or to set captives free or to teach God’s word with accuracy, then perhaps He has also given you the willingness to die to yourself in the exercise of them. Just remember: they are free—but you’ll pay for them!

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