Serving God together can bring great joy into your marriage. And when you use the spiritual gifts God has given you, that joy is increased. But do you know what your spiritual gifts are?
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11
Ronald Reagan became the 40th president of the United States at the age of 70. He is the oldest man ever to be elected president. He was interviewed by news journalist Mike Wallace when he first announced he was going to run for president. Mr. Reagan had already been the governor of California, and had planned to retire to his California ranch. Wallace asked him what had led him to give up retirement on that beautiful ranch to run for president at this point in his life.
Mr. Reagan answered Wallace with these words: “Someone once said, ‘Life begins when you begin to serve. Maybe if there’s a feeling that you can be of service, you feel you have to do it.”
God says to us that as long as He leaves us on this earth, we can and are to serve Him and others.This goes directly against the “me-centered” culture we live in, but God’s ways are often counter-cultural.
I recently received an email from a major online book store that recommended some books they thought I might be interested in. One of them was Life Begins When You Do by Mary Anne Radmacher. The description of the book included these words: “It incorporates inspiration coupled with being more active in the areas of your life that will better serve you.” (italics theirs).
This pretty much describes the attitude of our culture. But we as Christ’s disciples are not to be slaves to the world’s ideas. We are to be faithful to God’s truth as found in His Word–that of selfless service to others in His name and for His glory.
God has made us one in marriage for the purpose of serving Him and others. He brought us together as husband and wife to do the good works He designed for us. And He desires for us to know what those plans are. He has gifted and equipped each one of us to carry out those plans and gives us the power we need to do them.
We find this in 1 Peter 4:10-11: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
A Marriage of Service
This week we continue our study by discussing how we can discover ways to serve God together as husband and wife. We discussed last week how we must begin by recognizing this life is not about us, but about serving God. Then we will serve others because that is His heart and desire. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 20:28: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Serving God together by serving others is not just something else we add to the list of things we do as a couple. We don’t only work to support our family, attend church together, have a date night, and study the Bible and pray together weekly. Those are important. But we don’t just add on serving together if there is time.
Service must be at the heart of our lives if we are going to follow Christ. Jesus said He came to serve and to give. And this should describe our marriage. It should be a marriage of service.
The central question of our marriage should be, “Whose needs can we meet?”
Using Your Spiritual Gifts to Serve God Together
So having determined the purpose of our marriage is to serve, the next question is how do we serve?
Let’s look again at 1 Peter 4:10 for the answer: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” God has brought you and your spouse together. He has gifted you both, and He has a reason for that. How you are gifted and how you can use those gifts together will determine how you serve others.
Many of us think that serving others can only mean going to another part of the world and ministering to the people there. It might mean that. But our heartfelt prayer should always be that we are willing to serve God anywhere, in any way.
God wants you to serve Him where you are right now with the gifts He has given you. And He will make it clear if He wants you to do something else or serve Him in another place.
How to Determine Your Spiritual Gifts
So how has God gifted you? This is a question many Christians struggle with. God is not trying to hide it from you. He wants you to know so you can serve Him and others with your gifts. But how can you discover those gifts?
Let me provide you with some suggestions. This is not an instruction list like you might use to assemble a bookshelf you purchase at Walmart. It’s not intended for you to use as step one, step two, and so forth. But each of these suggestions is to help you seek the gifts God has given you, no matter the order you follow.
1. Take a Spiritual Gifts Inventory
There are a number of spiritual gifts inventories that have been developed by some fine Christian leaders. Many have a solid biblical basis. And they can certainly be helpful. At the least, they can help point you in the right direction. But I have one warning–do not use them as your only source, and do not think they are the way to discover your gifts.
Remember, God wants you to know and use your gifts. So when you ask Him to reveal your gifts, you can count on Him to answer you. He promises in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Pray together with and for your spouse as well. Jesus promised in Matthew 18:19-20: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
3. Study about Spiritual Gifts in God’s Word
Another thing you need to do is study God’s Word about spiritual gifts. Do this together as husband and wife. Some passages to begin with are Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. Talk to other believers who know you well, beginning with your husband or wife. Ask them what gifts they see in you.
4. List Things You Do Well and Enjoy
Think about what things you are good at, and especially what things you really enjoy. God wants you to have joy in serving Him.
Jesus told us about this joy in John 15:5-11: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Notice how many ways we find in this passage to know God’s will. Jesus says when we walk closely with Him–“remain in me”—He will make sure we know His will, and we will “bear much fruit”. We can also “ask whatever [we] wish, and it will be done for [us]”. This is because we will know and desire to do His will, and so pray His will. The result of all this is the “Father’s glory,” which should be our ultimate desire for our marriage. And what does all of this bring about? Jesus tells us “that [our] joy may be complete”.
Later Jesus talked to His disciples about His death on the cross which was coming soon. He told them in John 16:22-24: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
God wants us to have joy in serving Him. And promises to provide all we need to serve Him when we ask Him through prayer.
Serving God together using our spiritual gifts to bless others brings great joy to the Lord and to us.
Questions for Discussion
- Read the post together, and make certain to read the Scripture carefully. Discuss what God is teaching you about serving Him together.
- Discuss together about your spiritual gifts. Each of you reveal to the other what you believe your spouse’s spiritual gifts are. Then tell each other what you think your own spiritual gifts are. Discuss where you agreed with each other, where you differed, and why.
- Discuss together ways you believe your spiritual gifts complement each other, and how they can be used together to serve God and others.
- Pray that God will reveal to you together how He wants you to use your spiritual gifts together to serve Him and others.
Now that we know that we need to serve God by serving others, and we know He has given us as a couple the tools to do so, we need to discuss some ways God shows us in His Word to do that. That is what we will do next week.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the SERVING GOD TOGETHER series:
Part 1–Made for Good Works
Part 2–Keeping Him First in Your Life
Part 4–Learning from a Bible Couple
Part 5–Finding Ways to Serve
Part 6–An Inspiring Example
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® (bold mine). Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.