Spiritual Gifts and Perfectionism

The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
— Isaiah 11:2-3

Traditionally the Scripture in Isaiah is used to talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are seven: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might (Fortitude), Knowledge, Piety, and the Fear of the Lord (humility)

Some of our Christian brothers and sisters believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were perfected in Jesus Christ but these gifts are also present in the lives of anyone receiving God’s sanctifying grace.

I would submit that all these gifts are not present in anyone but all these gifts are present in everyone. These gifts not in one person (sans Jesus) but in a group of people - not an individual but a community. 

What would it look like if you gave your friend a gift and as soon as they opened the gift your friend said, this is great, but when and how can I get another gift? Would we see gratitude in our friend? Would we see greed in our friend? Would we think our friend is caught up in materialism? Is there a way you could tell your friend how much more important it is to want what you have rather than to have what you want?

Are we not doing the same thing when we look at the gift God has given us and then wonder when and how we can get another gift? Are we not just as blind as our friend?

The Good News is the spiritual life is a life that is not alone. We live in connection and community with others. We understand that interdependence is not an infringement on our independence. 

The Good News is the spiritual life is one that is in community so that we don't have to take on the individual burden of being perfect, we don't have to have it all or do it all. We live in community that embraces that some are gifted with wisdom and others are gifted with courage. 

The Good News is that the spiritual life is one that cultivates relationships so that we are all aware of how everyone is gifted so that we do not have to constantly seeking out how and when we are going to get the next gift.

This is why it is important to know what you gift is, but it not enough for just you to know what your gift is. It is not enough for you to know your gift but not the gift of others in our church community. If you are in search for the next spiritual gift, just look at the lives of the person next to you. God has placed gifts in those people. Build a relationship with those persons and you will have access to a broader Spirit.

I have toxins that a celery/prune juice cleanse cannot purge

In our culture's endless pursuit of immortality and illusion of control over the things of our world I have experienced a detox cleanse. For one week I attempted the Master Cleanse. It was okay. I am not adverse to these sorts of cleanses, but I have to admit that I have toxins that even the Master Cleanse cannot purge. 

We all have toxins that cannot be purged through a bodily cleanse. I know that we all are convinced that if it is not material than it is not "real". The grip of Aristotle's understanding of forms married with materialism and the supremacy of the scientific world, we are willing to talk about and even entertain a cleanse of our material body but resist (or discount as less important or less "real") a cleanse of our Spirit. Again, I confess that I have toxins that require a different detox. 

Enter the spiritual disciplines. 

I have the toxin of anger. I have the toxin of envy and pride. I have the toxin of lust and the toxin of idolatry. I have the toxin of violence. And no amount of lemon juice can detox my Spirit. 

Buy organic, great. Drink celery and prune juice, awesome. Workout and sweat our the toxins, super. But let us not fall into the trap that the way to the healthy life is just to be free from bodily injury and illness. Cancer can form on areas that cannot be measured on the PET scan. Our hearts can be beating normally but be hard as stone. Our vision can be 20/20 and still be blind. Our teeth may be perfectly clean and inline but our tongue can be full of venom. We may be slim but carry crushing weight. We may able to hold complex yoga poses but still remain inflexible. The healthy life is more than the body.

We all have toxins that a celery/prune juice cleanse cannot purge.

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
— Jesus in Luke 12:23