Derek Prince talks about the specific measure of faith God gives us. He says:
He [God] has ordained you to serve a specific function as a specific member of the body of Christ. The faith He has given you is designed for your position in the body. If God wants you to be a hand, He will give you “hand” faith”. If He wants you to be an ear, He will give you “ear” faith. If He wants you to be a toe He will give you “toe” faith. But if you are a toe and you are trying to be nose, there willbe a complete imbalance between what you are trying to do and the faith that you have. The reason is not that you do not have enough faith, but that you are trying to use your faith for something for which it was not meant to be used. It was given for the specific job and place you have in the body of believers.
My hand does a wonderful job as a hand. It opens my bible, turning the pages. It does most everything I ask of it. But should I try to do those jobs with my foot, I would be in trouble. If you are always struggling for faith, you are probably trying to do the wrong job. You are a hand trying to be a foot, or a foot trying to be a hand. This is God’s way of guiding you into your place.
The reason for the enquiry was that this man is disabled in some way, is unable to attend church and struggles to see how he can be an effective part of Christ’s body, the church. He said that he finds this situation painful.
It set me thinking again about gifts, callings and positions within the church. Derek has much teaching on this subject because he believed it was imperative that all Christians rise up and take our positions if we are to see the Kingdom of God come in all its glory.
One of my favourite quotes from the booklet The Harvest Just Ahead goes like this:
I believe without a doubt that God knew all along about the population explosion. And I believe He has a purpose for it. Let me suggest it to you this way: if the programme of Joel is carried out, if the Church is purged of its duplicity and immaturity, if the Church is filled afresh with the Holy Spirit, experiencing divine unction and power, if the Church is gathered out of its little corners and sects and from behind its little barriers and becomes one again in Jesus Christ, such a Church could go forth into the world today in the power of the Holy Spirit. And going forth in power, the Church could see more souls saved in the world in a few years than have been saved in all the years from the time of Jesus until today.
Reading this always excites me. It gives me a glimpse of what God wants to do with his church. First there is a purging of the dross (duplicity or double-mindedness and immaturity) and then a fresh move of the Holy Spirit bringing divine anointing and power followed by true unity within the body.
The word unction always reminds me of the beautiful hymn, The King of Love My Shepherd Is, which contains the phrase “thy unction grace bestoweth”. For me, this is a beautiful picture of the Lord pouring out His grace upon us to prepare us for the position to which He has called us.
Most of us will have thought about positions within the body of Christ in the context of able-bodied Christians, but what of those who are not so able whether it be through disability, infirmity, old age or similar? I believe this is a challenging question for both those who are physically strong and those who are not – let’s always remember that God has no second-class children.
As I prayed on how to respond to the e-mail, the Lord reminded me that when we talk about the body, we almost invariably talk about the more noticeable parts. We need to remember that there are extremely important parts that are not nearly as noticeable. Consider bones for a moment. We think of a foot or a hand and perhaps we will think of the muscles which enable it to move. Do we remember that if the hand were muscles and skin it would be basically useless without the bones to give it form and strength or the joints and tendons which keep it moving in the right way?
The abilities that each part of the body has is made up of both natural giftings and abilities and also, and more importantly, spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists nine such gifts with which we are all familiar: To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
Commenting on this passage in Rules of Engagement :
All these gifts are “manifestations.” The Holy Spirit Himself is invisible, but through these gifts He manifests Himself. He impacts our senses in ways that we can see or hear or feel.
All of them are “for the profit of all.” Through them Christians can minister to one another. The gifts all serve some practical purpose. They are tools, not toys.
All these gifts are supernatural. They are not the product of natural ability or special education. An illiterate person may receive a word of wisdom or of knowledge. Similarly, the gift of “faith” goes beyond the faith that we all need for salvation. It is also distinct from the fruit of faith, which comes by a process of natural growth. It is a supernatural faith that goes beyond our natural ability and produces supernatural results.
We need to trust that God has the perfect position for each one of us and that He longs to see us live and move in that place for His glory. When we consider a dancer or artist or musician who does what they love and loves what they do, we see someone who is fulfilled. Sometimes we see people who are completely in the wrong position and the result is misery.
As we find our place in the body, the Lord equips us with unction and power and bestows on us the gifts of His Spirit that we need for that position. Have you ever tried using the wrong tool for the job? It is possible to use a spanner for a hammer just as it is possible to use a stapler to turn up a hem, but the wrong tool for the job is never God’s plan. He positions us and empowers us according to His perfect plan that we might function effectively within the body.
After finishing a job with a plumber friend, he was cleaning his tools and said to me, “If you look after your tools, they will look after you.” It got me thinking not only of the practical application, but also of the spiritual application. The practical application is clear – you have invested a lot of money in buying good tools to be able to work most effectively and efficiently; as a result, you are able to earn a living to look after your family and yourself. Neglect your tools and they will be dull for the jobs and it will be harder work to get the task done.
From a spiritual perspective, we need to use the spiritual tools that the Lord gives us according to His purpose and will, and they will help us to be effective in building the Kingdom. If we neglect those tools, or use them for jobs that they are not made for, they too will be dull and the job won’t be as easy or as well done.
What about those who are disabled then? Do they have a place? Of course they do! Perhaps it is in encouragement or intercession or exhortation or a host of other things, but if God calls, He has a place and a position and will anoint us and empower us to do what He has purposed – all for His glory!
Father, please help us to see myself as you see me – with a specific calling for which You will give me Your anointing and power. May we also see others from your perspective, that every member of Your body has a place and a purpose regardless of their natural strength or abilities.
Purge us, anoint and empower us and bring us into complete unity as we grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ. Amen
- Peter Lindop