What are Spiritual Gifts?
Spiritual Gifts are Unique
God gives believers exceptional, one of a kind, unique gifts, writes Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life.
God gave you "...a unique heart, unique abilities, a unique personality, [and] a lifetime of unique experiences so you would make your own unique difference in the world."
Can you identify your unique gifts? Are you using them for their intended purpose?
Spiritual gifts are special abilities that God gives to all believers, the men and women who accept the gift of salvation that Jesus offers (Romans 10:9-10). They are tools for building the church, and they given according to God’s choice and plan.
You may assume that your gifting arrives at the time of your spiritual birth, or the moment you accept Christ as your Savior. However, Bible verses such as Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 seem to indicate that God gives some spiritual gifts later.
Certainly, your spiritual gifts are cultivated throughout your life and walk with the Lord. This hub provides a short overview of spiritual gifts and their purpose in the Christian life.
Blackaby on Spiritual Gifts
Book by Henry Blackaby and Mel Blackaby / Format: Hardcover Edition
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Spiritual Gifts Point to God
Spiritual gifts come in many different forms. Henry Blackaby, a well-known pastor and Bible teacher, says that gifts enable the church to be Christ-centered, maintain unity and practice genuine love.
Here's how The Message explains spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:
"Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!
"The variety is wonderful: wise counsel, clear understanding, simple trust, healing the sick, miraculous acts, proclamation, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues.
"All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one, by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when."
Stanley on Spiritual Gifts
Ministering Through Spiritual Gifts: Recognize Your Personal Gifts and Use Them to Further the Kingdom (Life Principles Study Series)
Book by Charles F. Stanley / Paperback Edition
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Spiritual Gifts are Varied
Charles Stanley, the founder of In Touch Ministries, says the Bible classifies spiritual gifts into three categories: equipping gifts, gifts of manifestation and motivational gifts. Each believer has at least one of these gifts, and many people possess multiple gifts.
Ephesians 4:11-12 describes the first category, equipping gifts. According to the New Living Translation, "these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ."
1 Corinthians 12:7-10 reveals the second gifts category, the gifts of manifestation. These gifts -- wisdom, knowledge, faith and healing -- are given for the common good of all believers.
"The third category of gifts is motivational," says Stanley, and Romans 12:4-8 describes them. "Motivational gifts include prophecy (rightly speaking the truth of the Word), service, teaching, exhortation, generous giving, leadership and mercy."
Arthur on Spiritual Gifts
Book by Kay Arthur / Format: Paperback Edition
Amazon Price: $3.26
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Are You Using Your Gifts?
Have you identified your spiritual gifts? Are you using them to serve others? Are they revealing God’s grace to the world around you?
This is their purpose. 1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms."
If you're having trouble identifying your gifts, consider your spiritual condition. Are you a Christ follower? Spiritual gifts are for believers only, and they differ from your natural talents. If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus, God has blessed you with at least one spiritual gift.
There are many ways to discover your unique gifting. Take a gifts test or inventory; several websites offer free assessments. Talk to a life coach or career counselor; they can help you identify your gifts. Plan a trip to your church library, public library or Christian bookstore; they have many helpful resources, too.
Finally, don't overlook the simple act of service. "Probably the best way to discover your gift is to serve in a variety of ministry situations," says Charles Stanley. "When you find the area that suits your gift, you will know it."
Kay Arthur and David Arthur Discuss Spiritual Gifts
Reference Sources / Further Reading
- Packer, J. I. (August 1, 2003) "Experiencing God's Presents." Christianity Today. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- Peterson, Eugene H. (2002) “The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.” Bible Gateway. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Stanley, Charles. (2011) “Spiritual Gifts.” In Touch Ministries. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Tyndale House. (2007) “New Living Translation.” Bible Gateway. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Warren, Rick. (2002) The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Print.
Copyright © 2012. Annette R. Smith. All rights reserved.
Published: January 10, 2012 / Modified: January 17, 2013.
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