For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Romans 1:11,12 KJV
When Jesus enters a person’s life, He recreates that individual into what the Bible calls a new creation. The life of Christ is at that moment deposited in us in seed form. When His life begins to grow in us something amazing occurs. He takes our unique personality and causes it to find it’s fulfillment in Christ. In other words, an individual that has never existed before begins to emerge. It is called “Christ in me”. It may take many years to fully develop, but when His life is seen in us, we become a gift to all those we come in contact with. “Christ in us,” becomes a gift to be opened and enjoyed by countless others throughout our lifetime.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, he was writing to a church he had never visited. In his opening remarks, he states his desire to come to them in order to impart some “spiritual gift.” He also desires to receive some “spiritual gift” from them. But what gift was he referring to? Do not answer that question too quickly. Read Romans 1:11,12 carefully.
By process of elimination, let’s dig deeper. He is writing to the church. They have already received the Holy Spirit by virtue of their salvation, and so it cannot be the gift. We know that spiritual gifts are given by God, not man, and so, these cannot be in view. There is another point to be considered. Even though Paul had never met them, and did not know their level of maturity, he still believed they could offer him a like spiritual gift. What then was the “gift”? It was each parties’ expression of Christ, as seen through their unique personality. It was they mutual faith as displayed in human individuality.
I love the process of staining. No, not the drop of barbeque sauce that drips off a pork rib and onto my shirt. The staining I’m referring to is the oil-based type that causes a piece of bland wood to bust out with character. Sold in a myriad of colors, stain gives definition to the grains of wood buried in a common looking board. The stain makes wood come alive and every piece reacts differently to the stain. No two pieces of stained wood look the same.
Our lives, in Christ, are like stained wood. Jesus brings out the beauty from the hidden grains of our God-given personality. We all look beautifully different in Christ and this is the “gift” we need from one another. This is the necessity of fellowship. This is the importance of being involved in the lives of fellow Christians. This is why we all need to be a vital part of the church we attend. There, the preacher said it. Go to church. Take your gift, “Christ in you” and mix it up with “Christ in them.” God is staining wood and the gift we give other is the beautiful grains He brings to the surface.