Spiritual Gifts Reimagined (SGR) is now out there and available, and for my money, one of the best parts of the book may be the “Agape Evaluation” on pages 198-206 (print version).
Do you like to feel valued by others? Do you want people to be patient with you? Have you experienced arrogance (yours or others) as helpful for building close relationships? How has defensiveness affected the groups you hang out with?
These and more are some of the areas of agape (the Greek word for love) that the Apostle Paul tells believers are important as they live as groups of diversely gifted believers (in 1 Corinthians 13). Yes, right alongside his words about spiritual gifts (in 1 Corinthians 12), he emphasizes that they’ll need deep and authentic love among themselves if they expect to be and function as Christ’s body.
I’ve heard many pastors say they think we’re supposed to discern what our spiritual gifts are in community with others, not through tests we take. I agree. But what does that mean? How does that look? Part of the reason I wrote SGR is to flesh out the answer to that question.
Basically, Paul fleshes it out in 1 Corinthians 13. We just need to do a deeper dive into his gems of wisdom about love. That’s where the “Agape Evaluation” comes in. It takes each of the qualities of love Paul selects in his love chapter and asks us to evaluate ourselves, and our small groups, in how we’re doing in each area.
And it’s a rather revealing experience. When it comes right down to it, Paul gets very picky about how and why we respond to one another in the ways we do. He does that because the goal he cherishes is that each of us would be growing up into the uniquely gifted person we are in Christ. And it is this high octane love he describes that is powerful in fueling such growth.
It is God’s plan that, in loving relationships, the gifted uniqueness of each of us will be discovered and affirmed. The “Agape Evaluation” is a tool that helps us, as individuals or small groups, to use the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 13 to raise the octane of our love for one another. The giving and receiving of such love will spur us each on to grow into our gifted potentials.
After you’ve become familiar with the “Agape Evaluation” and the chapters in SGR that explain it further, it’d be great if you could share with me and others your feedback about using this tool. Please note that, for small group use, it should only be used after the group’s been meeting weekly for at least 3 months. That’s because it requires vulnerability and trust in the group. But you can use it to evaluate yourself individually also.
Share your feedback in the Comment section after this blog, or at my Bill Smart, Author Facebook page. Here’s to learning high octane love!
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