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Dysfunctional Approach to Spiritual Gifts: Health

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One of the definitions for “dysfunctional” in the Encarta World English Dictionary is “affected by disease or impairment.”  In this post we will look at the effect of a dysfunctional approach to spiritual gifts on the health of the Body.  Previous posts have considered its effect on interpersonal relationships and performance.

Dysfunction Defined in Regard to the Health of the Body:

Think of the metaphor of the Body of Christ being like a human body.  When a human body is not functioning as it should, there will be issues that affect its well-being and growth.  So it is in the Church.

When a limb of the body isn’t used, atrophy sets in.  The limb gets weak and it become harder and harder to use.  Compare this to a disuse of our spiritual gifts.

When the there is some kind of blockage and messages do not get from the head to other parts of the body, we can do abnormal things.  Compare this to a lack of fellowship with the Lord, who is our Head, blocking the power flow and our reception of directions from Him.

When we are sick or have some sort of disease or infection, our human bodies don’t function up to par.  Compare this to sin in our lives and the effect that has on how we serve.

When we try to use a part of the body in ways for which it was not designed to be used, we must compensate in certain ways and often are not as effective.  Compare this to the misuse of our gifts, being in ministry for which we are not gifted.

Effects of Dysfunction Due to Poor Health:

Think of your own tendencies when you physically do not feel well.  These same effects can be experienced in the Body of Christ.

  • affects the morale … more likely to get frustrated, perhaps even despondent
  • affects the energy level … easier to do the minimal of what is needed just to get by
  • affects the perceptions and reactions  … tend to be quicker to misinterpret things, get irritated or defensive, ensuing in conflict
  • affects the quality … harder to put a wholehearted effort into what you are doing

Dysfunction Broken:

Truth

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps. 145:18)  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24)

Be honest about your condition.  Remember Achan.  His sin affected the whole camp.  Remember Ananias and Sapphira.  They were judged not so much for what they did but for lying about it.  “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. … But everything exposed by the light becomes visible.”  (Eph. 5:8-13)

Grace

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9)  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. ” (Eph. 1:7-8)

If we have done something to cause our spiritual unhealthiness, God’s grace is the answer.  He might not rid us of the consequences of our sin but He will forgive and bring healing to our souls.  If our condition was the result of someone else’s wrongdoing or something God allowed to happen to us out of our control, still, His grace is sufficient.  His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

Power

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  (Eph. 3:16-21)

Sometimes when we are sick it is hard to imagine ever being well again.  Don’t despair or give up hope.  God can strengthen you through His Spirit and do far more in and through you than you can ever imagine.  Why would He do that, particularly if the problems were your own fault?  Through it He is glorified as His power is made known.

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