1. Do they know God as pardoning God?
God is love. God loves me so much that he sent his Son to suffer and die on the cross for me. It is only by the grace of God that I have been forgiven from the sins of my past, the sins of my present and even from the sins that I am yet to commit. I know that the grace of God is bigger than any sin that I have committed. I am forgiven and I am free from being a slave to the sin and the guilt that I once carried.
Have they the love of God abiding in them?
It is God, through the Holy Spirit that is alive and active within me, calling me to be the hands and feet of Christ in my home, in my church and in my community and world. I want to share my love of God with others. I seek out opportunities to share the love of God with the all that I am privileged to come into contact with, both within the church and outside of the church. I pray that Christ is reflected in my words and actions.
Do they desire nothing but God?
My only desire is to live my life loving God and loving others. My desire is to continue to grow in the grace of God, grow in the wisdom of God and to continue to grow more Christ-like in all that I do.
Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
I try to speak in such a way that is tender and loving and brings glory to God. I listen when it’s time to listen and try to provide a positive aspect in negative situations.
2. Have the gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work?
I have taken several different spiritual gifts inventories. The most recent one, on the United Methodist website indicated that my spiritual gift is in teaching with secondary gifts in shepherding, exhortation, compassion, wisdom and faith. This most recent inventory also reflects the gifts that have appeared in other inventories I have taken, just in a slightly different order. It is only by God’s grace that I am able to teach youth and children in Christian Education and it is something that I feel that God is currently calling me to do. God provides me with the wisdom needed to lead each class, children’s sermon, devotion or small group that I have had a privilege of leading over the past several years.
Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith?
Gods’ characteristics are best revealed to us through Jesus’ 3 years of public ministry. We are created in God’s image and are called to imitate Christ. As I continue to grow in my faith and study more about Jesus, I become more and more aware of how I am being called to live my life. There have been many behaviors that I have consciously changed in my life because I feel that they do not reflect Jesus. John Wesley’s General Rules also offer a good guideline to how we are to live our lives in a way that best reflects Christ; to do no harm and to do good.
All of us have fallen short of the way God had created us to be. We are all sinners. But we are saved from sin when we accept God’s free gift of grace. Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.” Before someone accepts the free gift of grace and salvation, faith has to already be working in their lives. Faith is the understanding, acceptance and belief that God does have something more and better to offer us than what we can try to offer ourselves.
Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
I am always eager and excited to be able to present the message that God has given me to share whether it is in a large group setting, in a small group or in a one-on-one situation. I am a certified Lay Speaker within the United Methodist Church, and have had the opportunity to speak in other faith based settings outside of the Church.
3. Have they fruit? Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?
Working with kids and youth has been such fun. The younger ones are sponges and soak up every word you teach. The youth are beginning to question and search for answers that they can grasp in a world that can be so negative and confusing. When I am able to tell a teenager the truth about God and the love that God has for her, and I can see the fear that’s been in her fade, that is fruit. When I see youth reach out to comfort one another, that is fruit. When I get to watch youth step out of their comfort zone during mission trips and service projects and serve others with their whole heart, that is fruit. When I see and hear the children singing, full of enthusiasm, in front of the congregation, that is fruit. When the children repeat back to you something you taught them, that is fruit. Being asked to be a reference for the college and high school students is also fruit. When I receive hugs from the little ones through the college kids, that is fruit. It is a privilege to be part of the seed-planting in the children and youth I serve. I pray that as those seeds are watered and tended to that they continue to produce fruit, even if I don’t get to witness all of it. I pray that they will in turn be seed-planters for others and get the joy of watching fruit bloom just as I have seen in them.