Discovering Spiritual Gifts

Discovering Spiritual Gifts - What Are They?
Discovering spiritual gifts is not a hunt for lost treasure. 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12:3-8 make it clear that every believer is given spiritual gifts according to the Holy Spirit's choice or direction-for the purpose of edifying other believers (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:12). The exact timing of when these gifts are given is not specifically mentioned. I had always assumed that they were like "spiritual genetics," meaning you received your spiritual gifts at the moment of salvation and then had to develop them. However, there are some Scriptures that seem to indicate that God may bless us with spiritual gifts later in our Christian life as well. Both 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 refer to a "gift" that Timothy had received at the time of his ordination. Most Bible teachers interpret this to mean that one of the elders at Timothy's ordination proclaimed-under God's influence-of a spiritual gift that Timothy would have as an enablement for his future ministry. These two verses indicate that Timothy had a responsibility to stir up, develop, and use this gift.

Discovering Spiritual Gifts - Which Gifts Do I Have?
Discovering spiritual gifts is accomplished through serving God. We are taught in 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 and 1 Corinthians 14:12-13, that it is the Holy Spirit who chooses the gifts. Not everyone will have a particular gift. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that if they are going to covet after certain spiritual gifts, they should set aside their fascination with the "spectacular" or "showy" gifts and instead strive after the more edifying gifts such as prophesying (speaking forth the Word of God for the building up of others).

Why would Paul tell them to strongly desire the "best" gifts if they had already been given their gifts and there was no further chance of them gaining these "best" gifts? This may lead one to believe that even as Solomon sought wisdom from God in order to be a good ruler over God's people, so God will grant to us those gifts that we need in order to be of greatest benefit to His church (other believers). Having said this, it still remains that these gifts are distributed according to the Holy Spirit's will, not our own. It could be that Paul simply wanted the Corinthians to "stop being fascinated with those gifts that they thought were 'neat' and start being fascinated with those gifts that are truly useful to the church! If every Corinthian strongly desired a particular gift, I cannot imagine God giving everyone that gift simply because they strongly desired it. Then the body of Christ would suffer from a lack of people serving in other roles (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Discovering Spiritual Gifts - Why are they important?
Discovering spiritual gifts is crucially important! There is one thing that is especially clear "God's command is God's enablement." That is, if God commanded us to do something (such as witness, love the unlovely, disciple the nations, etc.) then He will enable us to do it. I may not be as "gifted" at evangelism as another, but God commands all Christians to share the Gospel and help others to grow spiritually (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Therefore, I need to prepare for witnessing (1 Peter 3:15) and actually do it, whether I feel that I have the gift of evangelism or not. Secondly, I have seen people who have less of a natural gift with music become better musicians than those who were naturally gifted, simply because of determination. So, I believe that a determined Christian who strives after learning God's Word and develops his teaching ability by accepting opportunities to teach can most definitely become a better teacher than a person who has the spiritual gift of teaching, but neglects it.

Discovering Spiritual Gifts - The Heart of the Matter
In the process of discovering spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:31 says to "earnestly desire the best gifts." You can seek a spiritual gift from God and be zealous after it by seeking to develop that area. God may give you that as a spiritual gift, but He may also feel that you are better fit to serve Christ with a different gift. No matter how much we have been gifted with one gift, we are all called upon to develop a number of areas mentioned in the lists of spiritual gifts. We are all to be hospitable, to show acts of mercy, to serve one another, to evangelize, etc., whether we have these spiritual gifts or not. As we seek to serve Him-for the purpose of building up others for His glory out of love-he will bring glory to His name, grow His church, and reward us (1 Corinthians 3:5-8; 12:31-14:1). God promises us that as we make Him our delight, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4-5) and this will include preparing us to serve Him in a way that will bring us purpose and satisfaction.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

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