Have you ever attempted to put a puzzle together without the benefit of the picture on the box lid? It is difficult and time-consuming. You find yourself prone to shuffling random pieces around, trying to make those connections that satisfy when two pieces fit together.
That may describe our lives as well. Whether we prefer to be a hermit, are gregarious, or land somewhere in between – most of humanity does not exist outside of community. Be it family, school, work, places of worship, social structures, cities, states, or nations – we are surrounded by others. Yet many of us go through life like assorted puzzle pieces without a picture of where we fit. There are many who desire healthy, gratifying connections, but wonder why it is easier said than done.
God’s big picture is revealed in part through the seven redemptive gifts of Romans 12:6-8. They shed light on how we are made and are to fit together with others, thus unveiling benefits of studying the redemptive gifts.
Benefit #1 – Turn on the Light Bulb of Understanding Your Design
There seems to be an Aha! button installed in each of us. Similar to seeing the puzzle’s intended picture, then setting about finding and fitting together all the pieces according to the design, so too the study of the redemptive gifts helps to turn on the light bulb of understanding your design.
As understanding comes, the Aha! button lights up. What the light reveals is often liberating as you discover how God designed you. It can be freeing to realize that you’re normal and that there are within the person of ‘you’, legitimate design factors that explain a lot!
That same light can also reveal areas where others have attempted to mold and shape you according to their picture of what is acceptable for you. Where it matches God’s design of you, it’s easy to feel affirmed and accepted. But what if the pieces others have held up as ‘you’ don’t match what God has imprinted within you?
There is encouragement and validation to be found in learning about the characteristics of the redemptive gifts. To discover how carefully crafted you are by God gives freedom to be who God designed you to be. He brings no condemnation with it. Rather, He beckons you on to study to know the facets of your design so you may partner freely with Him to possess your birthright and bless your life-communities in life-giving ways.
God’s intent from the beginning was that ‘normal’ would be His people knowing their redemptive gifts – what He especially placed within, unique to them. And from that knowledge, going on to live from their birthright.1 In His master plan, this was and still is God’s meaning of fulfillment. Jesus called it abundant life.2
Benefit #2 – To Benefit the Body of Christ
17 Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. 18 God was delighted to give us birth by the truth of his infallible Word so that we would fulfill his chosen destiny for us and become…“a kind of firstfruits of his creations” or “the pledge [down-payment] of a still further creation [a more complete harvest].” James 1:17-18 TPT
Wonderful, right and good as it is to receive the redemptive gifts in and for ourselves, God holds a bigger picture than we often do. He gave the gifts to benefit the body of Christ through our individual redemptive living, and as a unique part of God’s corporate blueprint of fitting together a dwelling for Himself in the Spirit.3
Our earthly lives are not the end of our story and certainly not God’s. He is Love Creative, eternal, without end.
Meanwhile, studying the redemptive gifts reveals three ways our being ‘fit together’ may occur over time, by:
- understanding both the strengths and weaknesses of all seven redemptive gifts,
- learning how they relate to each other, which helps people serve with greater and more effective benefit,
- taking our place in God’s corporate plans and purposes by embracing, living out, and ministering from our redemptive gifts in increasing measure
As the teaching and study of the redemptive gifts unfolds, a key difference to bear in mind is full hands vs. fullness. Many know what it is to function with full hands while being left with a hunger and thirst for more.
Being active participants in good things is good. Discovering more about your design as God created you is better. To heal, grow, and mature in order to live from your birthright1 instead of your wounding is God’s best. He has planned ahead and made provision for you to enter into His best, which is His will for you. To do so benefits not only you as first partaker, but the lives you will impact and influence through His providence.
Benefit #3 – To Improve Relationships
No one is an island, and life is never just about the individual. The manner in which we choose to live our life has a ripple effect. As well, the community of faith, ie. the body of Christ, is not the only community to benefit from the redemptive gifts. Understanding the redemptive gifts – and incorporating that understanding into outward life expression – benefits all types of relationships.
Part 2 of Benefits of Studying the Redemptive Gifts will look at Benefit #3 – To Improve Relationships, in more detail. In the meantime, consider the types of relationships in your own life – whether marriage, parenting, single, employee, employer, student, colleague, etc.
Relationships abound, and each one stands to benefit from the life-giving aspects of embracing your design for redemptive living.
1 Birthright: the sense of “this is who I am, who God made me, what He made me for, and I am accomplishing what He called me to do” – C. Wale │ 2 John 10:10 │ 3 Ephesians 2:22
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Puzzle Pieces photo credit: 335006 © William Stall – Dreamstime.com