The Bible has much to say about spiritual gifts and the purpose of them. Peter says:
“As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:1-11
Spiritual Gifts in the Bible
Regardless of where you read about spiritual gifts in the Bible, the underlying theme is that we should always use those gifts to minister to or edify others in the body of Christ; the Church.
Here is a summary of some of the Spiritual gifts as listed in the Bible:
- Administration (1 Corinthians 12)
- Discernment (1 Corinthians 12)
- Evangelism, Exhortation & Pastor (Romans12; Ephesians 4)
- Giving (Romans 12)
- Helps & Service (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12)
- Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9-10)
- Leadership (Romans 12)
- Mercy (Romans 12)
- Teaching (Romans 12)
So how is it that we can recognize our Spiritual gifts? Some believe that we have only one Spiritual gift but I believe the Bible teaches that we can have more than one. I offer the following three things on which to meditate.
Does it Please God?
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
Regardless of what gift(s) you have been given, know that the ultimate purpose is that we use our gifts to please God. So if you are spending time doing something that you believe is the result of a Spiritual gift that you have been given and that activity does not please God, dig a little deeper and ask God to reveal to you His good pleasure. If it doesn’t please the Lord it is not fruit of the Spirit and therefore cannot be a Spiritual gift (Galatians 5:22-23).
Is it the Desire of Your Heart?
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)
Believing that God will gift you and then also make you happy exercising that gift makes perfect sense. God loves you and He wants you to be happy. He also wants you to be happy serving Him in whatever capacity that is needed by the body of Christ. I must caution you to be careful not to confuse “desire” with “motive”. James warns that we cannot all be masters (James 3:1). Sometimes people accept the “call to service” because they believe that they can exalt themselves above others. A desire to be better than everyone else is not a good motive, but a desire to use the gift of leadership to serve others is a proper motive.
Learn from the Evidence
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Corinthians 12:6-7)
Some of the things that I frequently see in the church are things like the lady who spends much of her time in the nursery but then continually complains about how no one else comes in to help. There is a good possibility that this nursery lady does not have the gifts of help or service. How about the man who believes he wants to be an Office Manager but because he is so disorganized he finds it hard to believe that he has the gift of administration. Or perhaps you have a degree in education but when it comes to teaching Sunday school you struggle developing lesson plans – maybe you do not have the gift of evangelism. It is a common error to believe that just because someone is a mother that they belong in the nursery or as a teacher by trade and education that they would be a good fit for a Sunday school teacher. Take a look at what you do the best and use that talent to serve the Lord and everyone else.
I have spent time taking written tests to determine my “spiritual gifts” and something I noticed is that no matter who developed the test or where I took the test, the results were always the same. It always came down to looking at what I spent most of my time doing and of that time, what is it that I enjoy the most. What I mean to say is that God loves us and He created us to bring glory to Him (Colossians 1:16). He wants us to be happy and He has given us time and talent to serve Him and others in a way that brings joy. The spiritual gifts that God has given to us are given for us to grow and develop. The best way to develop the gifts is to use them to show how we love God and our neighbor (Luke 10:27). Looking at what pleases God, the desire of my heart and the evidence of things in my life I have learned that my most prominent Spiritual gifts are administration, discernment, service and teaching.
So think about this, is it more important to spend time taking tests to recognize our Spiritual gifts or is it better to find a place to serve and then do whatever we can to serve the Lord and others? When you love God and concentrate on service it will become abundantly clear what gifts God has given to you and you will use them to His glory.
Read this related article: 9 Powerful Gifts of the Spirit From The Bible
Resources – The Holy Bible; King James Version