By Melissa Henderson, Crosswalk.com
What are spiritual gifts and how do I recognize them? What is my purpose in life? How will I know my specific spiritual gifts? Will there be an extraordinary experience that allows me to recognize the gifts given by God? These are questions asked by many people on a daily basis. Some people may learn the wanted answers and some people will keep searching. Others will remember God has a plan and the fact of having spiritual gifts will be accepted. The need to know how, when, where, and why may unfold in time or not. There are various places in Scripture that provide a spiritual gifts list. The New Testament shares passages which mention spiritual gifts. The Bible shares that there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit and a variety of activities, but God is the one who empowers them all (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NIV).
Perhaps our spiritual gifts change from moment to moment, day to day, depending on how we are able to share the love of Christ.
Some days, my spiritual gift might be faith as I lean on God during a particularly difficult situation. I have faith that God will guide me through the journey. Another day, my spiritual gift might be helps, as I reach out to offer help to others in need. When I serve as an Elder and Deacon in the church, I am using my spiritual gifts. Another time, I share my gifts by offering a lending ear to a grieving friend.
I want to be alert and ready to share the love of God in every moment.
What Are Spiritual Gifts?
Spiritual gifts are given to build up the church, share His message, and glorify God. Paul shares in Scripture that there are a variety of gifts. These special gifts are given through the Holy Spirit. One person may have the gift of faith, another person may have the gift of healing, while someone else may be gifted with prophecy or one of the other spiritual gifts listed in the Bible.
Have you ever taken a spiritual gift assessment? You may have learned about an area where you are already excelling, or you may have learned of an area God is calling you to focus on.
Administration, being an apostle, discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith, giving, healing, helps, hospitality, knowledge, leadership, mercy, prophecy, serving, speaking in tongues, teaching or shepherding, and wisdom. There may be times when one area of our spiritual gifts is stronger than other times.
Think of ways you have shared your gifts with others. Have you helped a neighbor? Have you served a meal at a homeless shelter? Maybe you have shared the Gospel with a stranger? Do you serve in your church? Have you donated clothing, food, or funds?
God calls us and equips us. When we have doubt in our ability, that doubt is not from God. When questions arise, go to God and ask for His guidance.
Why Are Spiritual Gifts Important?
Every gift from God is special and important. We are created by God, and He loves us. By acknowledging the spiritual gifts from God, we are glorifying Him. Each gift has the ability to help draw others to a relationship with the Lord. God’s people are like a body with many parts, yet those parts work together. Even though there are many people in the world, we can work together to share His love and glory. One body part is not better than another. Every person has a purpose and is gifted by the Holy Spirit.
What Does the Bible Say about Spiritual Gifts?
Scripture shares that God has given gifts to each of us. We are called to use those gifts to share His love and the message of God. (1 Peter 4:10 NIV) By using the gifts given to us, we are helping others with their relationship with God and we, too, are drawing closer to Him.
The gifts from God are not earned, they are given by Him (1 Corinthians 12:18 NIV).
Scripture shares that we are not to boast about our gifts. Our actions will not earn spiritual gifts from God. They are not rewards. They are gifts from the Father. Therefore, we do not boast about actions taken to share our spiritual gifts. We are called to share the love of Christ, not place ourselves on a pedestal. The glory goes to God, not us.
Will we know how to use our spiritual gifts the moment we receive them? Just as we strengthen our faith and walk with the Lord through studying Scripture, sharing conversation with God, and worshipping Him, our gifts may strengthen as we use them.
If there is a time when you don’t know what your spiritual gift is or how to use the gift you’ve been given, go to God. Pray and ask for His guidance in sharing the gift.
Perhaps there may be a crisis where you need to use your gift. Pray and ask God how to best share your spiritual gift so He will be glorified, and you will be able to help someone in need.
God is ready to help us whenever we reach out to Him.
A Comprehensive List of the Spiritual Gifts
Researching and searching for a list of spiritual gifts may take time and effort. Some notes include only part of the lists, while other notes provide a detailed list. Scripture shares the lists of gifts in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and 1 Peter.
Leadership: encouraging and helping others to build the kingdom of God (Romans 12:8 NIV)
Administration: helping with long term goals and remaining on task ( 1 Cor. 12:28 NIV)
Teaching: instructing in truths and doctrines of God’s Word
Knowledge: teaching and discipleship. The ability to learn, know and explain God’s Word
Wisdom: the ability to discern works of the Holy Spirit and apply teaching and actions
Prophecy: proclaiming the Word of God with boldness (Romans 12:6 NIV)
Discernment: being able to recognize the truth about a situation
Exhortation: people with this gift are enthusiastic about the Lord and they can motivate others
Shepherding: looking out for the spiritual welfare of others
Faith: trusting God to fulfill His plan. People with this gift are encouragers
Evangelism: the building up of the church so others will be led to Christ
Apostleship: motivators, church planters, missionaries: people who look beyond the walls
Service/Helps: helping those in need of practical assistance (Romans 12:7 NIV)
Mercy: The person with this gift shows acts of compassion
Giving: People with this gift will give freely and with joy to further His kingdom
Hospitality: Making people feel welcome, appreciated, and wanted (1 Peter 4:9 NIV)
Do you recognize your gift? Do you see more than one area where you feel gifted? Are you a Sunday School teacher, an Elder or Deacon in your church, a volunteer in the church office, or do you serve on the church prayer committee? Do you pray for others? These are different ways spiritual gifts are used to show His love and to bring people closer to Him.
Pray about your own spiritual gift. Ask God to help you recognize the special gift He has given you. Ask God to help you use your spiritual gifts to lead others to Him.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AnnaStills
Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers.
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