Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The diversity of SHAPE that creates community
SHAPE is a six-week course developed by Erik Rees at Saddleback, also available as a book
SPIRITUAL gifts are an important component of who we are, our SHAPE, an acronym first used by Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, best known as the author of the enduring best-seller Purpose Driven Church. SHAPE stands for spiritual gifts, heart, ability, personality and experience, all of which, directly or indirectly, God has given you.
Warren says: “SHAPE is the way God wired you for your life. Every area of your life is influenced by the way you’re shaped.”
Your God-given purpose, and how you fit with your particular mission for serving God, come out of your SHAPE.
We are created spirit, soul and body and all three are in view here. We tend to put dividers between the physical part of us, and the thinking/emotional part, and the spiritual part. God just sees ‘you’ as He has made you – and all three dimensions interact. Body and soul are what made you ‘you’ before you became a Christian and nothing of that has been lost, but the Holy Spirit has fired up your human spirit and equipped you to operate over and above physical strength and skill, and intellectual judgement and reason, on a spiritual level.
There are two aspects to this. One is part of the picture of who you are, and will feed into your heart (or passion) for different engagements, your abilities and indeed your personality – leading to experience.
The other is situational – how God uses us as His channel of grace in certain situations. Your desktop computer, your tablet and indeed your smartphone are all able to run certain applications – we talk about ‘apps’ – which perform different functions when called up, such as weather forecasts, communications, your daily reading from your Bible app, your music, your book, news about your friends and family, etc.
When we open up our heart to the Holy Spirit – for many people that is in successive stages and instances of refreshing – we become increasingly empowered to operate in a spiritual capability: enjoying having opportunities to serve, having the knack of explaining truth simply, as a get-alongside encourager, experiencing freedom in generosity, being capable in leading well or patient in a demanding caring role. We will usually identify with one or two of these particularly – part of our God-created SHAPE.
More on these foundational gifts (Romans 12:4-8) tomorrow, but immediately we can see how these diverse roles, represented by different people in a connected, interdependent body, fit together to create the quality of community that is the Holy Spirit’s trademark.