Ability comes from God. Paul said we are not sufficient in ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, our sufficiency is of God, who has make us able ministers of the gospel, not of the letters but of the Spirit (2Corinthians 3:6).
There is a difference between self-efforts and the Spirit’s effort within us, as he works in us, both to will and to do of the will of God (Philippians 2:13). When Jesus was going to leave the disciples, he told them that he will not leave them comfortless. He was not going to leave them helpless, leave them disoriented, and leave them wondering what to do next, leave them confused (John 14:16-18).
He was going to send an helper to them- the Holy Spirit. They are supposed to take their relationship with the Holy Spirit serious. He was going to be in them (John 14:17). A spiritual flow will come from within them. Their sense of mission will come from within them and the ability to carry out the mission will come from the same place.
Jesus made a public proclamation that if anyone thirsts he should come to him and the water he shall give him shall be in him rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). And that water, according to John, is the Holy Spirit, which means everyone who believes in Jesus can be given the capacity to flow in the life of God, move in the Spirit. Paul will later write that as many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are the Sons of God (Romans 8:14). The same Spirit through whose work made Jesus declared to be the son of God also affirms divine sonship in us through his leading, through his work as the divine ability in us.
In a story in the book of Ezekiel, a prophetic story, there was water coming from the threshold of the temple (we are the temple of the Holy Spirit [1Corinthians 3:16-17]) and that water was life-living (Ezekiel 47:1-9). Wherever the water gets to what is dead comes alive. The power of the Spirit makes us extraordinary. We are spiritual beings, capable of spiritual impact.
Jesus said that he is the vine and we are the branches, i.e. the same level of power and ability in him is also in us (John 15:1-10). That was backed up by Paul when he said that it was the same power that raised Jesus from the dead that also worked in us making us come alive, taking us from the state of being dead in trespasses and sin, to being made alive by the Spirit through faith (Ephesians 1:15-2:9). We are now spiritually alive with spiritual abilities.
Paul said that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection of the dead (Romans 1:4), and we get to share in that reality as parts of his body. We are made alive by the same power that made him alive, that changed him from the dead raising him up to the right hand of power, where we also are in him.
That is why Jesus told the apostles that whoever believes in the words of the gospel will lay hands on the sick and they will recover, will cast our devils; they will walk in the same power he walked in on the earth, walking in the same power he walked in.
He had told the disciples that whoever believers in him will do the works he does and even greater works than that they will do (John 14:12). That means the manifestation in the life of Jesus while he was in the flesh was a demonstration of the minimum that we should walk in as members of his body.
We should recognise that his being in us now (Romans 8:9), we can do much more in us as a collective body. He was just one, and since being Christians is all about being like Christ, we should recognise the tremendous power at work in us, we are multiplied “Christs” on the earth. And Paul said that the whole creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
That is one of the prayer points of Paul. He prayed that the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened so that we make fully walk in the reality of the power that is at work in us, which was the same which worked in Jesus raising him from the dead (Ephesians 2:1-9).
The special abilities that we have through Christ are called gifts. That means we do not work for them, they work in us, they define our spiritual uniqueness, the dimension in which we contribute to the body of Christ. They define our usefulness.
Jesus said that his food is to do the will of God and to complete his work (John 4:34). That is the same for us in a spiritual sense. We all have service points; those are points in which the grace of God flows from us to others.
Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep (John 21:1-17). He was not to think that he was not significant since he denied Jesus thrice (Luke 22:61). He had an assignment to carry out, he had a job to do, and he had the people of God to serve.
We are not supposed to think just about ourselves or our convenience. The highest form of fulfilment that God designed for the Christian is to contribute his role in the body of God. The great challenge for the churches is to turn each member into a minister. That should be noticeable in the “DNA” of the church.
People come from different backgrounds. But we should all move forward to discover the expression of our spiritual gifts and use them. The problem has been the emphasis on the positions of the apostle, teacher, prophet, pastor and evangelist, which are set in the church by Christ (Ephesians 4:9-16) and so are most prominent.
They are the minority, the leadership cadre, but there are myriads of other gifts. These are anything which you do with ease, with joy and in a way that definitely makes you seem alive in a special way. It cuts across all human interests. In that context you are meant to be light, you are to be the salt of the earth, you are to be God’s undercover agent. As people come in contact with you in the course of pursuing your secular or spiritual interests, impacting them for the course of Christ should be the natural course of things. In that context you are the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the teacher, the pastor, and using a whole plethora of spiritual possibilities that you bring to bear there.
Wherever we are, we are representatives of Christ. Paul said that we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 5:20). We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:14). We came with higher power to free the “earthlings” from their endless futile pursuits, helping them to experience the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-21).
Jesus said that he wants the people to be his witness everywhere in the world, and he gives the supernatural ability to make that positive impact, by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), helping them to express the divine life in a way that makes Jesus’ manifest, though he is not physical here.