by Leon Mazin, Shavei Tzion Messianic Center, Tents of Mercy Network
The world and everything in it belong to God, for He is the ultimate Creator. He gave dominion and rule over the created world to man (Genesis 1:26-28). I believe that when a person is in harmony with God's Spirit, creativity is increased and he is better able to generate ideas, "mastermind" plans and complete projects. The authors of Psalms and Proverbs confirm this: "All my springs are in you" (Psalm 87:7), and "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
According to the Scriptures, there is a correlation between man's obedience to God and his ability to "bear fruit" or be creative. When our hearts are directed towards our Maker, good fruit is produced. Gifts of the Spirit are revealed as we create and fulfil our God-ordained purpose. If we faithfully follow our Heavenly Father, we will grow into His image and likeness.
The following passages speak of this connection:
"These signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:17-18).
"There are various gifts, but the same Spirit ... To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge ... to another faith ... to another gifts of healings ... to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:4-10).
These verses refer to supernatural spiritual manifestations. Yeshua the Messiah and His apostles spoke of them and performed them. Throughout the Bible, and even in recent history, we find similar manifestations revealed through His servants. The hearts of people who witnessed such moves of God were opened to God's work and His purposes. When submitted to the will of God, these were mighty instruments of influence, even helping change the course of history.
Today, there are two opinions in the Christian world regarding the gifts of the Spirit. Some people consider the gifts as belonging to the distant past, needed then to spread the Gospel. Others see them as part of a promise ("for gifts and callings are irrevocable"), powerful and equally present in our day.
I would like to look at this subject through the lens of my favorite preaching topic: Tikkun Olam.
Tikun HaOlam - Restoration of the World
In the opening verses of the Bible we read that "God created man in His own image ..." (Genesis 1:27). Soon after, in Genesis 2:15, we discover that God's mandate for Adam was to tend the Garden and guard it. When reading Adam's story, we unintentionally disregard how special he was.
Entrusted with Perfection
Adam had been charged to oversee the Garden. This shows how much confidence God placed in Adam, for He entrusted him with something that was already perfect. It also reveals the level of man's intellect and his ability to do the work, the quality of which could potentially rival that of God. Interestingly, from this vantage point, we can get a hint of what Yeshua meant when He referred to those who believe, doing "greater works".
Gifted to Protect
Spiritually, Adam was also in a position to protect the Garden from any threat. God would never give someone a task that could not be fulfilled. Adam's mission included the protection of Eden from a certain enemy. From the story recounted in Genesis, I assume that the enemy was the Devil and his servants, as only they could have posed such a danger. This also suggests that the capability to guard the Garden from such a powerful adversary was included in the spiritual strength planted in Adam from the outset.
Gifted to Create
We can now draw a clearer picture of who Adam really was. His spiritual, intellectual and physical potential was fully at his disposal. His "inner springs" were available to accomplish the work at hand. Therefore, when he walked with God in the cool of the day, he could have fellowship with the Creator, the Author of the heavenly and earthly realms. And, as a result, Adam could create things about which we can only dream today.
Put on Pause
Unfortunately, this idyllic state was soon interrupted. Sin's invasion and God's intervention limited man's capabilities and development. Adam's access to his God-given potential became limited, because he had forfeited the perfect, sinless condition which fostered it. The peace of God and fellowship with Him was restricted. People turned to wickedness, and God's judgement was meted out. Following the flood, God promised to "never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ..." (Genesis 8:21). Even though man's heart remained unchanged, God made a commitment not to destroy humanity ever again. What had changed? Man's creative potential and the abilities first seen in Adam were reduced so that future generations would not use them to destroy the rest of creation.
Reactivated and Revealed
The world is still fallen and separated from its Creator. Yet we, as followers of Yeshua are encouraged to continually seek Him. "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah" (1 Corinthians 11:1). And as we draw closer to God, our inner gifts and the gifts of the Spirit will be increasingly accessible to us. The supernatural realm will begin to open up: "... creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19).
Fruit and Gifts
As we pursue renewed life in Messiah, it is important to consider the following questions. What are we seeking? Where do our hearts lie? What do we actually need these gifts for? Do we want to impress other people and use them for our own advantage? There is a reason why we are warned that "by their fruit you will know them" (Matthew 7:20). Scripture lists the gifts of the Spirit. Just as important is the fruit of our lives - the way we live and how our actions manifest the image of the Messiah, at the pinnacle of God's creation.
"If death ruled because of one person's failure, those who receive the multiplied grace and the gift of righteousness will even more certainly rule in life through the one person Messiah Yeshua" (Romans 5:17 CEB).
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