Study Guide: Spiritual Bodybuilding

Sunday September 7, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

This week begins a sermon series discussing the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, or those gifts often referred to as the supernatural gifts. Before discussing each gift individually, today we discuss two pieces of information needed to understand the gifts. We'll discuss listening to the Spirit and using our gifts to build up the body of Christ.

Extended Summary:

This week we begin a sermon series about the charismatic gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are discussed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, and can often be surrounded by confusion or controversy. Woodland Hills Church has always been of the belief that these gifts are for the church today, but haven’t talked about what this means practically for quite some time. We will examine and discuss each of these gifts in detail throughout the following weeks, but for today we will begin with some introduction to the theology behind the giving of these gifts to the church.

Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit throughout our daily lives is the first step in understanding how to use the gifts we have each been given. Our days are made up of choices, some of which we do instinctively and some of which are done with more intentional thought. As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to serve Jesus as our Lord in the choices we make throughout our day. For a person to confess Jesus is Lord, but to not make any daily choices that are brought upon by his Lordship means we are lacking something in our relationship with him. In order to allow Jesus to lead our lives and the choices that make up our lives, we must begin by listening to him. While this practice of listening to the Spirit takes time, we all experience these nudges whether we are aware of it or not. The Spirit does not scream to us, but rather he whispers. The voice of the Holy Spirit is that intuitive nudging we feel in our own spirit or the quiet voice we hear prompting us to act. Becoming aware of these sensations is the first step the disciple must make to begin living a Spirit-led life.

Along with knowing how to actively listen to the Spirit, we must also understand why the Spirit is at work within us. The Spirit that is within each of us is the same Spirit that is tasked with uniting all of us. As followers of Christ, we must always be aware that we are part of a bigger whole and within that bigger whole we have been assigned a purpose. There are many gifts given by the Spirit, both supernatural and natural. It is up to us to determine what gifts we have been given and how we can use them to benefit the whole body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Spirit gives gifts to each one of us. We are each recipients of a gift. If we have been given a gift by the Spirit, but choose not to use that gift, we are failing to give thanks for that which we have been given. Your gift shouldn’t be thought of as the thing you use to impress others, but the thing you use to uplift others. It is when we begin to actively listen to the Spirit’s promptings in our lives and apply the gifts we have been given by the Spirit to build up the body of Christ that these gifts will produce fruit for the whole church.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Are you attuned to the movement of the Spirit in your daily life? How is this movement manifested within you (whisper, feeling, sensation)?
  2. Can you remember a time when you listened and responded to that nudging? How about a time when you heard it, but chose not to respond?
  3. Do you know what gifts you have been given by the Spirit?
  4. How might your gifts be used to build up the body of Christ or in what areas of ministry they would benefit?
  5. What happens within a church when each individual does not seek to identify, accept, and use the gifts the Spirit has given to them?