God gave spiritual gifts to the church, but how many of us are actually using our gifts for God? I don’t know about you but when I was younger I thought spiritual gifts were a form of God-given superpower. Would I be able to know things before they happened? Would I be able to lay hands on someone and heal them of their ailments?
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For some persons, that may be how their spiritual gifts manifest themselves. But for the majority of us, it might be a lot less superhero movie and a bit more like enhanced ability.
Before we dig into this topic, you may want to know, "Are there are still spiritual gifts in the church today?" The best way to answer that question is to find out why these gifts were given in the first place. The apostle Paul teaches:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV).
We learn from this passage that spiritual gifts are for the edification of the church. We get our gifts so that we can build up the body of Christ. The ultimate aim is the spiritual maturity of all believers.
After understanding the importance of spiritual gifts in the church you may be wondering how to receive spiritual gifts from God. Or, you may want to know what your gifts are. Before we get to that, please remember that it’s a process. The next step is identifying your gift.
“But Ami,” you shout, “I don’t have a gift.” The Bible teaches that once we are members of the body of Christ we receive at least one spiritual gift.
I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that (1 Corinthians 7:7 NIV).
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: (1 Peter 4:10 ESV). God has given you a gift, but how do you identify your spiritual gifts?
Pray—the first thing you need to do is pray about it. Ask God to reveal your gifts and to guide you as you begin the search to uncover what your spiritual gifts are.
Survey—do a spiritual gifts survey. There are a number of resources available online. Here are three you can try:
Spiritual Gifts Inventory—this survey has 45 questions and relates each gift to a body part.
Spiritual Gifts: Key to Ministry—this questionnaire has 90 questions and includes a key for you to identify your dominant gifts. Also contains a brief explanation of the gifts and the scriptural references of the various spiritual gifts.
Team Ministry Survey—this survey has 108 questions and requires you to create an account to view your results. This spiritual gifts survey focuses on team gifts and how you fit into the body of Christ.
The key to doing a spiritual gifts survey is to answer as honestly as possible. Don’t try to skew the results. Simply answer the questions as truthfully (and quickly) as you can.
Confirm—get confirmation from those who know you. Ask the members of your church if they have seen the manifestation of the gifts hinted at in your survey results. Ask trusted members for feedback and be sure to ask multiple persons.
There are three major lists of spiritual gifts in the Bible. They are found in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, Romans 12:4-8, and Ephesians 4:11.
Some of the spiritual gifts listed are:
Please read the entire passages referenced above for a more detailed inventory. Is this a complete list? No, there are other gifts hinted at in Scripture:
I believe there are spiritual gifts not mentioned in the Bible for the simple reason that the gifts are for the edification of the church. Some of the gifts needed for today's church would have been unnecessary (and unknown) in the early church.
Whatever the church needs to make it a vibrant part of society—actively carrying out the Great Commission—those are the gifts God will provide. So if your church needs to use technology to equip the saints, then someone in the church will have that gift.
Don’t believe that because your gift is not mentioned by name that you don’t have one. That would make God a liar and He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).
Okay, so now you have recognized your spiritual gifts, what should you do with them?
You may be asking, “How do I to use my spiritual gifts?” Paul told Timothy to fan into flames the spiritual gift God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6); I give the same advice to you. Before you start to use your gifts to serve others, you have to know how to develop your spiritual gifts.
Learn how to use your gifts. Identify someone in your congregation who has the same gift. Ask them to mentor you (you may need several mentors as there may not be one person with all the gifts you have).
Conduct some form of research to figure out how to use your spiritual gifts. Thank God for the internet which we can use to learn more about using the gifts He has given us.
Take classes or webinars. Attend seminars that teach about your area of giftedness. Now you may ask, “Why doesn’t the church teach me how to develop my gifts?” That's a good question and one I used to ask. I have since learned that not every congregation has the resources to equip its members.
Maybe you are not part of a congregation which helps its members to develop their gifts, but guess what? Timothy wasn’t told to have someone fan his gift into a flame. He was instructed to do it for himself. Even if the church doesn’t provide resources for us to use our gifts, God still holds us accountable. It is our responsibility to develop and use our spiritual gifts as good and faithful stewards.
Serve. The church has a number of ministries in which you can practice using your gifts to serve others. Volunteer in various departments to see how your gifts fit into the body of Christ.
I hope by now you know why we should we serve God. We serve Him because He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them (Nehemiah 9:6).
We serve God because He alone is worthy to receive honor and glory and praise (Revelation 4:11).
We serve God with our spiritual gifts because He redeemed us from sin (Isaiah 44:24) bring us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
As we remember why we serve Him, we should get excited to use our gifts for God's glory.
What are your spiritual gifts and how are you using them for God?