Spiritual gifts are like super powers. God gives these powers to those who trust in Him. Those who know Him can’t help but be transformed by His miracle power.
Sarah received power to conceive a child in her old age, and Abraham had even more children after Isaac was grown. Joseph understood prophetic dreams which helped save a nation from seven years of famine, and Moses who talked to God face to face like a friend used his staff to part the Red Sea.
These spiritual gifts came from God, not by the sweat of man’s brow. Such gifts are what enable believers to do miracles with powers they haven’t earned. Such powers come by faith. They are gifts of God’s grace.
When God Himself, the “Word,” became a human being to dwell among us, He didn’t come as a king. Instead, he came as a baby. He who made the universe as described in the first chapter of Hebrews didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be seized or grasped (see Philippians 2:6) but laid aside his creative power to live among us as a man.
While He was on earth, Jesus did many miracles. He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, made lame people walk, and raised the dead to life. He cast devils out of people, thus restoring their sanity. Moreover, He promised that those who believed in Him would do the same things He did, and even greater things (see John 14:12).
But wait a minute! Didn’t Jesus lay aside his creative powers in order to live among us as a man? The answer is yes. Though He could have done things differently, He put the same limits on himself that we have and relied on the Holy Spirit’s power to do the miracles. According to Hebrews 4:15, He was tempted in every way we are, yet without sin. After his forty-day wilderness fast, the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread. But Jesus refused to use his power to serve Himself. Instead, He laid His life down to serve us, taking the punishment for our sins so that we might live forever.
Forty days after His resurrection, he ascended into heaven, from whence He poured out the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. The Holy Spirit, source of all spiritual gifts, empowered them to speak in tongues and prophesy. Some Christ followers seemed to receive rather unique spiritual gifts. Philip, for instance, possessed great speed. First he caught up to an Ethiopian man’s chariot. Then, after leading him to Christ, he vanished. He didn’t have control over his spiritual gifts. God did. Philip simply surrendered to the Lord’s leading, which is the only way to live a super-powered life in Christ.