The first time I wanted to study Spiritual Gifts I was a sophomore in high school. I wanted to study Spiritual Gifts, because I was curious to see what mine was, and it seemed like an easy topic to grow spiritually.
Boy, was I wrong. I quickly found out there is a lot behind spiritual gifts than I anticipated.
Don’t worry I’ll break it down for you!
A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to express our faith effectively (in word or deed) for the strengthening of someone else’s faith.
Spiritual gifts are not natural abilities. They are secondary or even tertiary issues within different denominations which hold differing views. While scripture is clear, there is difference in belief on interpretation on certain gifts.
While studying for this, I listened to an old message by John Piper and was convicted. He said, “We are not to be concerned with categorizing our gifts.” Much like personality exams, we can easily make our spiritual gifts about ourselves.
We error in making spiritual gifts about ourselves. We did nothing to earn or achieve them. The purpose of them “is to receive and dispense the future grace of God to those needs.” (John Piper)
We are asking the wrong question when we ask, “what is my spiritual gift?” I’ve asked myself this many times! The question we need to be asking is “How can I serve others?”
Not knowing our spiritual gift is not the basic problem, the problem is not desiring to strengthen other people’s faith. This is exemplified in our grumbling, criticism, and gossip.
Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others, and the Holy Spirit will help you find ways to strengthen others’ faith which helps you discover your gifts. This means helping their faith not give way when some kind of trouble hits.
Spiritual gifts are also not all about sacrifice, because we get helped when we help. We can say “it’s my pleasure to serve you.” Doesn’t that sound like you are about to get some specific kind of chicken nuggets?
The first place spiritual gifts is mentioned in scripture is Romans 1:11-12. Paul isn’t desiring to help them get a gift. He wants to serve them by using his gifts. We can’t earn or achieve a gift. We can desire and pray for them. We can grow in them.
1 Peter 4:10-11 talks about how each of us has received a gift. It may appear we may have “none” but as we will grow in them as we walk in humility and continue to desire and pray for them.
Not all gifts possess the same value. Some are more helpful than others. There are gifts that every believer is called to such as the gifts listed in Romans 12:8, and there are gifts that not everyone will have initially.
There are certain gifts that are more likely to be manipulated and abused (tongues and prophecy), and it can be tempting to refrain from teaching about these gifts or using them.
Paul is clear that we can and should desire these gifts, but he follows with a call to orderly worship in 1 Corinthians 14. These gifts do not necessarily indicate a higher level of faith and are not the only sign of the Holy Spirit working within someone’s life. Remember God often speaks in a whisper. That is to say the flasher gifts are not the only way God works!
“Our gift may look small, but as a part of the revelation of God’s infinite glory it takes on stupendous proportions.” -John Piper
The two main places spiritual gifts is discussed thoroughly in scripture, Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12, are both followed by a call to love. These gifts have to be used out of a place of love otherwise they are a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
God is the source and giver of every good gift. If we remember the Holy Spirit is acting in us when we walk in our spiritual gifts, we will steward them humbly as God desires us.
“What does any one of us possess that we have not received? Our responsibility is to recognize that something has been given us, and that we are expected to exercise due to stewardship with regard to it as those who must render an account to God.” (The Interpreter’s Bible)
Here’s a FREE spiritual gifts inventory list to help get you started discovering your gift(s).
Also, here’s the quiz I initially took to discover my gifts, but take it in mind with everything I discussed!
Here are some more links to help you go further in your study!