ARE YOUR GIFTS HELD HOSTAGE
So I’m standing at the kitchen sink, tossing together what could be called a salad if I put an ounce of effort into it, and out pours the words “Are your gifts being held hostage?” instead of the salad dressing. Because I don’t have salad dressing, and the light mayo and Ketchup are doing anything but pouring. So why in the heck would this message come to mind, of gifts held hostage? I will tell you exactly why.
I was thinking (as I walked across the little kitchen to start the “salad”) about how desperately I could use help in Social Media, marketing, promotion, whatever it’s all called, for Walk by Faith Ministry. And I thought of a friend who could conceivably do a great job of this because not only does she love Jesus, and is she an amazing woman of God, but because she spends oodles of time on the Internet.
But oodles of time aside, I quickly remembered and realized and rehashed in my constantly spinning mind (ever got your head caught in the spin circle?) – ooh, now talk about a run-on-and-on-and-on sentence. As a former (FORMER) English major who was bound in the bondage of perfectionism, I LOVE – absolutely LOVE – giving up the grammar “rules and regulations” so I can have some FUN!
Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled program. My spin-cycle mind began to consider what my friend has been sharing with me about her relationship with the Internet. And this, in case you’re wondering, is where the “hostage” issue tumbled in.
See, my friend has shared with me that she is consumed with the Internet and with one specific subject in particular. And while the subject is very important, I have questioned whether her focus on this subject is allowing her to use her gifts for God’s glory – or whether her gifts are being held hostage. She is obviously gifted in writing, editing, the Internet, and communication, but for whom is she using these gifts? God? Or the hostage taker himself?
If you’re wondering how in the heck the gifts God has given us can be held hostage, you might be mightily surprised. Think of it this way. If your gifts aren’t being used for the Lord, then how exactly are they being used? Any chance your gifts are being held hostage by the devil? If you have never considered how God’s gifts to us can be used for the devil, think about a few examples that come to mind.
* Some famous athletes are using their talents to make millions of dollars to spend on lives riddled with alcohol, drugs, adultery, violence, etc., while other famous athletes are using their winnings to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to donate countless dollars to people in need.
* Some phenomenally talented musicians are at the top of the radio charts while darting in and out of rehabs, bouncing from one outside-of-marriage sexual relationship to another, and influencing young people to commit acts of violence beyond description; while other people with incredible voices are using their gifts to sing uplifting, inspirational, and educational music about God.
* Some people gifted in cooking, baking, and restaurant management are running restaurants to make a killing, serving alcohol to alcoholics who get on the roads only to mow down people’s lives , and paying overworked staff under the table. Others with the same gifts are using their gifts in hospital cafeterias, nursing home dining rooms, school cafeterias, soup kitchens for homeless people, food pantries for the poor, or restaurants who serve up healthy meals and whose profits bless families, communities, and non-profit organizations.
If you don’t believe me about gifts being held hostage, I can tell you this about my own life. For years, my gift of writing was held hostage by the devil. I used my writing talent to tell the world about false religion, false teaching, false teachers, false beliefs, false doctrines, negative junk, garbage, self-gratifying nonsense, and who knows what else.
Want to know what I did when the Lord convicted me of what I had done? I repented! With true, godly sorrow, I sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness. I learned how to turn away from the sin of what I had done, I committed my life and gifts to the Lord, and I am now doing my very best to use my gifts for God’s glory – not for the devil’s, and not for my own. Easy? No. A process? Yes.
When I repented and committed my life and gifts to the Lord, the devil was none too happy. He did everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – to try to take those gifts back into captivity. And, quite honestly, it’s been a fierce battle. There have been times I handed the gifts right back to him. At times, I didn’t even realize it. Other times, I saw what he had done and felt too weak to do anything about it. Sometimes, I took the gifts back only to hand them right back over.
But more and more, I find myself using God’s Word to keep the hostage taker out of my life and his filthy hands off the gifts I have dedicated to the Lord. And, when I discover that in some way I have allowed the devil to steal them once more, I repent and take back what belongs to me and the Lord.
Isn’t it something that the world is horrified – and fascinated – when there is a big hostage crisis in the news. And there so many of us are with our own hostage crises – and oftentimes not even aware. And, sometimes, we are aware – and we do nothing about it.
Well, I am here to tell you that it is time to do something about it. The blessings, and the privilege, and the honor of getting to use our gifts for the Lord’s glory is without measure.
I encourage you to look at your own life to see whether you you are using your gifts for God’s glory, or whether they are being held hostage by the devil. If you find that your gifts are in captivity, REPENT. Confess your sins to the Lord with true godly sorrow, seek and receive forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ, turn away from your sins and follow the Lord as He leads you forward!
9…”…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
– Romans 9:9-10 NASB
9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
– 1 John 1:9 NASB