Teacher? Preacher? Beseecher?
I am a teacher at heart. Any spiritual gifts assessment that I take, be it recently or when I was a younger woman, comes back that my three strongest gifts (in order) are exhortation, prophesy, and teaching. If we know anything about natural abilities or spiritual gifts, we know we must use them because they do not simply go away. To choose not to use our spiritual gifts robs Christ’s body, the Church.
I’ve started this blog several times. I stopped counting how many times I started over. I know there were at least four. As I ask God to mold me more into His image, I’ve learned that I must soften my approach. A friend of mine says, “Roni, you are powerful; like a brick. Could you cover your brick with some velvet, please?” My husband says, “Roni, the world simply isn’t ready for your level of transparency or honesty.” Some find me offensive while others call me “brave.”
Just when I think I need to tame myself a little more, someone greets me, meets with me or writes me a note saying, “You say everything the rest of us are thinking but are too scared to say.” If we know anything about the spiritual gift of exhortation, we realize it not only builds up the body – it also “beseeches” the body. Scripturally, the gift of exhortation is defined as “asking others urgently and fervently to do something; to call on; supplicate.” Supplicate? Sounds offensive. <wink>
Supplicate is the action of begging. Do I ever come across as begging? I seem to remember doing a lot of begging throughout October 2016. <wink again>
With all of this said, I have a lesson I’ve learned that I believe God wants me to share with you. Someone out there needs to hear this message. The first four times I wrote it, it seemed more about me and less about “you,” the reader. I am asking God to help me get it right this time.
If you are in a hostile environment – GET OUT. For almost three years, I received regular doses of negativity against me. I lived under a cloud of continual attacks against who I am. My spiritual gifts were harshly judged and minimized. My entire being was place under the microscope and I was constantly told what is wrong with me.
Please do not live that way, work that way, play that way, or conduct your relationships that way. If you are in an environment that is constantly attacking you, please find a way to leave. If you are in a bad situation but you cannot walk away, please consider at least mentally and spiritually breaking free.
Reasoning does no good because the types of people who go after our spirits are not typically reasonable humans. They are task-orientated, overachievers, and their goal is to climb ladders. They really are not concerned about who they put down or step on to get further up the mountain of what they see as “success.” Do not feel like you are going to be able to convince them of anything other than what they choose to believe. Do not – DO NOT – allow them to convince you that they are 100% right and you are 100% unworthy.
We all have areas in which we need to grow. Grown people do not need to attempt to raise other grown people. Professional development is not a personal attack. It’s suggested improvements. There is a definite difference.
Exhortation isn’t an attack. It’s a call for spiritual improvement. Again, there is a difference.
I am not a person that can compartmentalize my spiritual self from my operational self. I encourage you....no, I exhort you as a Christian, do not agree to be one person on Sunday and a completely different person the remainder of the week. Be you.