Day 5 of the Fasting and Prayer Programme
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:10
Spiritual discipline can be described as behaviour that facilitate spiritual growth. The only way to continually grow spiritually is dying to self. Dying to self and totally living for Christ is the necessary condition for the proper use of spiritual gifts. We must die daily to the flesh. There are some people out there who seem to operate in spiritual gifts, but the ways they carry out their operations do not bring glory to God. They have not died to self and so they end up using the gifts that were given to them by the grace of God to bring glory to themselves. The result of this is that there are no real positive harvests as a result of using these gifts. Yes, people may get healed and others prophesied to, but in the end none comes any closer to a dedicated and committed relationship with Jesus.
The gifts of the Spirit and living it has one purpose, and that is to point others to Jesus alone. In order to do that, dying to self has to become a daily occurrence. Every time, and wherever there was a spiritual gift in operation in the life of the early church, it confirmed and pointed the way to Jesus. It was at no time used to bring glory, honour or financial gains to men. If you do not crucify your flesh (your human desire to control and dictate the direction of your life), then invariably you will stop being a servant and start being a master and when you are a master, you start misusing spiritual gifts for selfish gains. St. Paul “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor.12:7). Spiritual gifting is not for personal benefit or selfish gain; rather, for the benefit of the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are not meant to draw attention to ourselves. God gives them so that we can bless and build up others FREE OF CHARGE. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul basically says, “If I have all the gifts but do not have love, I am nothing.” Conceit, pride, and selfish motives will cancel the blessing your gift was meant to bring. Spiritual gifts used for selfish motives will brings division, hatred, pride and competition. Don’t compare your gift with other people. God made you unique.
Acts 20:17-27; Ps 68:10-11,20-21 (R.33a); Accl Jn 14-16; Gosp Jn 17:1-11a WEEKDAY OF EASTER
1. Ask God’s mercy for the times you used spiritual gifts for selfish gains.
2. Surrender your life anew to the Holy Spirit.
3. Ask for the grace to die to flesh and its passions.
4. Spend time in worship to the Holy Spirit.
5. Take the “Litany of the Holy Spirit” in “Amen: It is Done” (pg. 23).
Exercise: Examine your life and resolve to use your spiritual gifts selflessly, and take the “Pentecost Prayer for Clergies” in DSD. Plan to be part of the National Pentecost Camping taking place from the 18th to 20th at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ganaja, Lokoja.
Meditation: Ephesians 4:12.