Definition of ability, abilities
Ability, abilities is talent, aptitude, or skill; quality of being able
The Spirit gives the ability
1 Corinthians 12:8 – To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge.
* Don’t let your abilities diminish
The tailors who made Aaron’s garments were given wisdom by God in order to do their task. All of us have special skills. God wants to fill us with his Spirit so we will use them for his glory. Think about your special talents and abilities and the ways you could use them for God’s work in the world. A talent must be used or it will diminish. (NLT)
Exodus 28:3 – Instruct all those who have special skills as tailors to make the garments that will set Aaron apart from everyone else, so he may serve me as a priest.
* Responsibility to use abilities well
Moses asked people with various abilities to help with the Tabernacle. Every one of God’s people has been given special abilities. We are responsible to develop these abilities–even the ones not considered religious–and to use them for God’s glory. We can become skilled through study, by watching others, and through practice. Work on your skills or abilities that could help your church or community. (NLT)
Exodus 35:10-19 – “Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded: the entire Tabernacle, including the sacred tent and its coverings, the clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Ark and its poles; the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement; the inner curtain to enclose the Ark in the Most Holy Place; the table, its carrying poles, all of its utensils; the Bread of the Presence; the lamp-stand and its accessories; the lamp cups and the oil for lighting; the incense altar and its carrying poles; the anointing oil and fragrant incense; the curtain for the entrance of the Tabernacle; the altar of burnt offering; the bronze grating of the altar and its carrying poles and utensils; the large washbasin with its pedestal; the curtains for the walls of the courtyard; the posts and their bases; the curtain the entrance to the courtyard; the tent pegs of the Tabernacle and courtyard and their cords; the beautifully stitched clothing for the priests to wear while ministering in the Holy Place; the sacred garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while officiating as priests.”
* Jesus has told us how to live until he comes: We must watch for him, work diligently, and obey his commands. Such attitudes are especially necessary for leaders. Watchful and faithful leaders will be given increased opportunities and faithful leaders will be given increased opportunities and responsibilities. The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are required to use them effectively. God will not hold us responsible for gifts he has not given us, but all of us have been given enough gifts and duties to keep us busy until Jesus comes. (NLT)
Luke 12:48 – [Jesus said] “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.
* Invest your abilities wisely
This phrase means that we are responsible to use well what we have. When people reject Jesus, their hardness of heart drives away or renders useless even the little understanding they had. (NLT)
Matthew 13:12 – [Jesus said] “To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.”
* The master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. No one received more or less than he could handle. If he failed in his assignment, his excuse could not be that he was overwhelmed. Failure would indicate only laziness or hatred toward the master. The bags of gold represent any kind of resource we are given. God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and he expects us to invest them wisely until he returns. We are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have. (NLT)
Matthew 25:15 – [Jesus said] “He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last–dividing it in proportion to their abilities–and then left on his trip.”
* Some people, well aware of their abilities, believe that they have the right to use their abilities as they please. Others feel that they have no special talents at all. Peter addresses both groups in these verses. Everyone has some gifts; find yours and use them. All our abilities should be used in serving others; none are for our own exclusive enjoyment. Peter mentions speaking and serving. (NLT)
1 Peter 4:10-11 – God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.
* Utilize abilities in the church
As the early church increased in size, so did its needs. One great need was to organize the distribution of food to the poor. The apostles needed to focus on preaching, so they chose others to administer the food program. Each person has a vital part to play in the life of the church. If you are in a position of leadership and find yourself overwhelmed by responsibilities, determine your God-given abilities and priorities and then find others to help. If you are not in leadership, you have gifts that can be used by God in various areas of the church’s ministry. Offer these gifts in service to him. (NLT)
Acts 6:2-4 – So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. “We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program,” they said. “Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.”
* All believers in Christ belong to one body; all are united under one head, Christ himself. Each believer has God-given abilities that can strengthen the whole body. Your special ability may seem small or large, but it is yours to use in God’s service. Ask God to use your unique gifts to contribute to the strength and health of the body of believers. (NLT)
Ephesians 4:4-7 – We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.
* Use well your abilities and gifts
At the time of his ordination, Timothy had received special gifts of the Spirit to enable him to serve the church. In telling Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you,” Paul was encouraging him to persevere. Timothy did not need new revelations or new gifts; he needed the courage and self-discipline to hang on to the truth and to use the gifts he had already received. If Timothy would step out boldly in faith and proclaim the Good News once again, the Holy Spirit would go with him and give him power. When you use the gifts God has given you, you will find that God will give you the power you need.
Clearly Timothy’s spiritual gift had been given to him when Paul and elders had laid their hands on him and set him apart for ministry. God gives all Christians gifts to use to build up the body of Christ, and he gives special gifts to some through church leaders, who serve as God’s instruments.
Timothy was experiencing great opposition to his message and to himself as a leader. His youth, his association with Paul, and his leadership had come under fire from believers and nonbelievers alike. Paul urged him to be bold. When we allow people to intimidate us, we neutralize our effectiveness from God. The power of the Holy Spirit can help us overcome our fear of what some might say or do to us, so that we can continue to do God’s work.
Paul mentions three characteristics of the effective Christian leader: power, love, and self-discipline. These are available to us because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Follow his leading each day so that your life will more fully exhibit these characteristics. (NLT)
2 Timothy 1:6-8 – This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News.
* – God gives us gifts so we can build up his church. To use them effectively, we must (1) realize that all gifts and abilities come from God; (2) understand that not everyone has the same gifts; (3) know who we are and what we do best; (4) dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success; (5) be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service.
God’s gifts differ in nature, power, and effectiveness according to his wisdom and graciousness, not according to our faith. God will give spiritual power necessary and appropriate to carry out each responsibility. We cannot, by our own effort or willpower, drum up more ability and thus be more effective teachers or servants. These are God’s gifts to his church, and he gives faith and power as he wills. Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.
Look at this list of gifts and imagine the kinds of people who would have each gift. Prophets are often bold and articulate. Servers (those in ministry) are faithful and loyal. Teachers are clear thinkers. Encouragers know how to motivate others. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show kindness are caring people who are happy to give their time to others. It would be difficult for one person to embody all these gifts. An assertive prophet would not usually make a good counselor, and a generous giver might fail as a leader. When you identify your won gifts (and this list is far from complete), ask how you can use them to build up God’s family. At the same time, realize that your gifts can’t do the work of the church all alone. Be thankful for people whose gifts are completely different from yours. Let your strengths balance their weaknesses, and be grateful that their abilities make up your deficiencies. Together you can build Christ’s church. (NLT)
Romans 12:1-8 – And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given y9u leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
* Use abilities and gifts regularly in serving
As a young leader in a church that had a lot of problems, Timothy may have felt intimidated. But the elders and prophets encouraged him and charged him to use his spiritual gift responsibly. Highly skilled and talented athletes lose their abilities if their muscles aren’t toned by constant use, and we will lose our spiritual gifts if we don’t put them to work. Our talents are improved by exercise, but failing to use them causes them to waste away from lack of practice and nourishment. What gifts and abilities has God given you? Use them regularly in serving God and others.
We know the importance of watching our life closely. We must be on constant guard against falling into sin that can so easily destroy us. Yet we must watch what we believe (“teaching”) just as closely. Wrong beliefs can quickly lead us into sin and heresy. We should be on guard against those who would persuade us that how we live is more important than what we believe. We should persevere in both. (NLT)
1 Timothy 4:14-16 – Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecies spoken to you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right, and God will save you and those who hear you.
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