Charisma, Greek for gift or favor, has a slightly different meaning in English. A person with charisma displays magnetic charm and/or a persuasive personality.
We recognize human charisma when we see it.
If you are a Christian, you have super-human charisma. Do others see it?
In the New Testament, Paul’s writings in particular, the word charisma refers to God’s gifts to us, the most important gift being eternal life in Christ. God, also gives us every spiritual blessing in Christ and uniquely equips each and every believer for service in the Body of Christ.
In other words, charisma is God’s grace in action through ordinary human beings like you and me for service to each other and for the building up of the church.
God wants the Body of Christ to be magnetic, attractive, and powerful.
It is my perception (and I’m open to correction) that the church is lacking some charisma because many Christians are not fully using their gifts. Why? I have a few ideas, and I invite yours:
1) The obvious first step to full gift utilization is to educate Christians on the subject of spiritual gifts. Spiritual gift tests and studies have been used by churches and study groups toward this end for years. It’s a good start.
2) Perhaps we confuse natural talents, skills and aptitudes with spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are by definition NOT natural gifts.
The successful business executive might not be the best candidate for church treasurer if his or her strongest spiritual gifts are showing mercy and offering practical help. The kindergarten teacher with a gift of evangelism might not want to teach young children in Sunday School.
3) Let’s encourage a wider range of creative outlets for the exercise of spiritual gifts. Too often the end-game in spiritual gift assessments is to staff ministry programs in the church. Of course, those are valid and important needs, but something tells me that God has a broader scope in mind for the activation of his charisma.
4) It takes experimentation, time and maturity to fully recognize and express God’s gifts. Try it. Explore. See what feels right and what doesn’t. God might surprise you. (In fact, I can almost guarantee that he will.) Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried to serve in an area or two and it hasn’t gone well. Try something else, or give it some more time.
5) Remember that spiritual gifts are not about you. Human charisma attracts followers to a person; the gifts of the Spirit activate the Body of Christ (the Church) and attract people to God. Human charisma is often self-serving; God’s gifts are always for the benefit of others.
How do you express your charisma? Do you agree with me that God’s gifts are underutilized? If so, why?
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Cor. 12:7