If at times your attempts to fit together with others seem like you’re putting a puzzle together without the benefit of the picture on the lid, Benefit #3 may be analogous to the board games Battleship, Clue, and Sorry rolled into one.
In Benefits of Studying the Redemptive Gifts, we briefly looked at the first two of three identifiable benefits: one, a light bulb turning on that illuminates understanding your design and two, to benefit the Body of Christ.
To study the redemptive gifts is to gain understanding for redemptive living for both one and the many. Or to say it another way, you the individual and you the ‘member in particular’ 1 helping make up the Body of Christ. Then there are others in between who are more up close and personal puzzle pieces in your life.
Benefit #3 – To Improve Relationships
I doubt most people go through life without feeling they are navigating relational battlefields, at times without a clue, and sorry that they have to – for a variety of reasons and emotions. Some healthy and some not. One of the first principles that affects your choice between non-redemptive and redemptive relating is:
We are wounded in relationships, and we are healed in relationships.
It is also a primary key as to why it is often difficult to find or fit together with others. The very means by which wounding comes is also, by God’s design, the means by which we are healed – in relationship. Note that I did not say the very ones by whom wounding comes is the source of healing…there are numerous facets to take into account for whether or not relationship repair can or should be sought or encouraged.2
God may move upon the wounded and the wounder (such as in marriage, parents and children, friendships, etc.) to effect willingness to re-establish communication and desire to rebuild where damage has occurred. Why? When it’s so much easier to write off the relationship, close off your heart, and go your wounded way?
That motivation alone makes a strong case for the study of the redemptive gifts, both the strengths and weaknesses of all seven. Wherever two or more people are experiencing wounded relating, you can be sure accompanying traits listed in the seven checklists are being engaged. Becoming the wise as God regards wise3, involves and includes setting your heart to know and honor Him. Then we can learn how to honor others, including ourselves.
So you want to be you. Others do too.
To clarify: Others want to be, not you, but themselves, too. If there is one strong point of bondage to be broken in order to live your life in the freedom God alone can grant, I believe this one could claim that dubious honor.
The desire to be the same as others conflicts with the deeper desire to know and live from one’s unique, God-imprinted personage. Add to that, others’ need for you to model yourself similar to them, and it soon becomes the recipe for a confusing explanation of “same same but different”.4 Which means what exactly?
To know who you are, what you like and don’t like, and how you are designed to fit with others requires time, effort, godly curiosity, and venturing forth even if lacking anticipation at the outset. You begin and you continue.
It is the difference between allowing life’s wounds to define and keep you living out of the non-redemptive side of your design5, and choosing to engage your life with God’s purposeful intentions of redeeming, restoring, and rebuilding you according to what He put within you in the first place. His design is still there.
the Enemy’s sweet spot
We live in a day of all-consuming struggle with identity. Few are immune because one’s identity is the very arena the enemy is pulling out all the stops.
If the father of lies can prevent you from knowing who you were created to be, he can accomplish a just-as-useful secondary achievement – that of robbing you of your birthright.
He could not prevail over Jesus though he tried hard. He hasn’t employed any new tricks either. The more you embrace your design for redemptive living, the greater and sweeter each life-giving victory over his cursed hold. Do you know you are not the cursed one? Adam and Eve were not cursed. The curses pronounced in the Garden were on the serpent and on the land6. The enemy of your soul is not you or anyone else. Satan is.
Benefit #3 – to improve relationships starts with acknowledging that being wounded in relationships need not become or remain the defining factors of your identity. The same is compelling truth for viewing others. God has provided redemption for spirit, soul, and body; it is ours to choose to learn how to live in it.
Relationships abound. Understanding the redemptive gifts, initially and more fully, is a gift you give yourself – through which you may keep on giving.
1 I Corinthians 12:12,27 │2 abused and abusers are not outside God’s power to heal and transform, nor are collective relationship issues common to people universal │3 I Corinthians 3:18 │4 a phrase that described unconvincing selling tactics to potential buyers │ 5 page 2 on the redemptive gifts checklists, ie. that portion’s battlefields to overcome │6 Genesis 3:14,17
Click here for a printable PDF of this article: Benefits of Studying the Redemptive Gifts, Part Two
Puzzle Pieces photo credit: 335006 © William Stall – Dreamstime.com