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.
Spiritual gifts work through faith in God. The purpose is always to give glory to God, not to man. Those who walk in pride, seeking glory for themselves, find such faith hard to come by. In John 5:44 Jesus told the religious leaders, “How can you believe, who seek glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the one and only God?” Humility, not pride, is the key to walking in faith.
Jesus Christ is our prime example of humility. When He, the very Word of God became a human being and dwelt among us, He didn’t come in a flashy display of power. Instead, he came as a baby, weak and defenseless. He was born in a stable, not a palace. 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).
The ability to do miracles was like a super power, for the miracles weren’t natural. They were supernatural. They didn’t come about through human effort. Jesus made that clear, for though he was in very nature God, He laid aside his creative powers in order to live among us as a man. He could have done things differently, but 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.