Are you a prophet? Does God work miracles of healing through you? Perhaps the Spirit inspires your teaching or preaching. According to 1 Corinthians 12, these are just some of the gifts the Spirit bestows upon us, “for the common good.”
I know that some faiths believe that the Spirit no longer gives gifts. I disagree, but it’s a familiar controversy. But I was recently surprised by someone insisting that spiritual gifts are also given to unbelievers, those who don’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. I had never even considered this possibility. Could it be true?
Are you a Christian?
Sometimes the answer is obvious. Sometimes it’s not.
If you have a vibrant, intimate relationship with God, where you hear His voice and tell Him your innermost thoughts, where you rely on Him to guide you and strengthen you as you live your life completely entwined with His, loving and serving others… then I’d feel pretty confident agreeing that you are a Christian.
If your claim to faith is based on being born to Christian parents, or into a “Christian” nation, but you never read a Bible or pray, you never go to church (on only on Easter), you have no interest in God whatsoever and are pretty satisfied with that state of affairs, well, you might want to read the fine print on your fire insurance policy (start with Matthew 7:23 or Luke 13:27).
Most of us who call ourselves Christian fall somewhere between these two examples. At some point in our lives, we’ve prayed the “sinner’s prayer” acknowledging our failings and subsequent need for mercy and forgiveness. We own a Bible and read it at times. We go to church, unless there’s a big game on. (If we’re super spiritual, we only skip church if our team is in the playoffs.) We can speak fluent “Christianese.” And we pray for God to help us, especially if life isn’t going our way at the moment. God is in our lives, but is He in charge?