Angela first knew of Jesus as a child but did not walk with him until she was an adult. She now hopes to share the Good News with the world.
A spiritual gift is different from being gifted in other areas of life. Everyone, Christian or non-Christian, has natural abilities. What makes a spiritual gift different is that it is a gift God instills when you become filled with the Holy Spirit. One might have been born with an innate ability to speak in front of a crowd, but when filled with the Holy Spirit, they can easily teach about God's great grace.
Every person filled with the Holy Spirit has at least one if not more spiritual gifts, although no one is gifted with them all. These gifts are given to us so that we can serve the body of Christ efficiently. These gifts can grow. So just because you have a spiritual gift of teaching when you became a Christian, does not mean that He will not provide that gift to you if you find yourself teaching a Sunday School class. On the flip side, these gifts will not grow unless we use them.
It is essential to understand that not everyone has gifts in the same areas. We need one another to be a fully functioning body of Christ. Just like when you are building a house, you need many tools to build it. You can not build a house, only using hammers. You need saws and a plethora of other tools as well. In the church, you need many people gifted in different areas, as well.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously. if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
— Romans 12:6-8
Prophecy is probably the most misunderstood of the spiritual gifts, as well as one of the most disagreed about. Some people believe that this, along with tongues, was only used when Jesus walked on the earth and is no longer given as a spiritual gift today because it is no longer needed. Others believe that this is just as prevalently given as when Jesus was here. Those in the second category often disagree among themselves as to what a true prophet is. Some believe that it is someone who can warn others against sin, while others believe it is giving future revelations, such as John did in Revelations.
When looking to see what you believe, it is essential to look to the other parts of the Bible to better understand a verse you may have questions about. Often learning the Hebrew roots of words and which Hebrew root is in individual verses is also helpful. In terms of this article, I will not be taking a stand on my personal belief, and encourage you to seek your answer through scripture.
Many believe prophecy is the "eyes" of the church or as some people put it the "seers." The purpose of a prophet is to warn others and help steer them from entering into sin.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
— Mark 10:45
Those who serve are the "hands" of the body of Christ because they meet the needs of others by doing the work. Someone gifted in serving is the volunteer within the community who take it upon themselves to make sure things are done. They are often in the background but are completely necessary. They will often excel at God's command, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." (Romans 12:10)
We are all called to serve, regardless of whether we enjoy helping or whether we have this natural inborn gift. It is important to give recognition to those who serve. They are often taken advantage of due to their eagerness to help. Those who serve help in many areas of the church from the janitorial staff to the childcare workers. They are often willing to be teachers, even when they are not necessarily gifted in this area.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
— Colossians 3:16
Teaching is the "mind" of the body of Christ. It is possible to have a natural gift for teaching algebra, but not a natural gift for teaching the gospel. The spiritual gift of teaching refers to the gift of teaching about God's truth. A teacher often enjoys research and studying and is commonly known for emphasizing the accuracy of words. Their primary motivation is to commit to sharing and discovering God's truth.
They often are committed to making sure that church doctrine is accurate and notice when teaching does not properly align with scripture. A teacher, of course, usually will be drawn to teaching or pastoring. They may also want to be a deacon, or they seek out younger generations and help disciple them. They desire to bring people to a real understanding of God's word.
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
— 2 Timothy 4:2
Depending on what version you have, you will read one of two words: exhortation or encouragement. Dictionary.com defines exhortation as "an utterance, discourse, or address conveying urgent advice or recommendations," while encouragement is "the act of inspiring with courage, spirit, or confidence." Either way, a person with this gift wants to see others grow to spiritual maturity. They often seek to counsel, teach, or disciple others.
They feel confident in correcting others but do so in a very encouraging comforting way. An exhorter needs to have a full understanding of the Gospel and be willing to seek out God's truth. They are the "mouth" of the body of Christ since they speak Truth, as well as the church's cheerleaders.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
— 2 Corinthians 9:7
Those with a gift for giving are the "arms" of Christ because they reach out to others. Givers love blessing people cheerfully and quietly, often in secret, and yet they motivate others to give as well. They give sacrificially and generously and do not do so in self-serving ways. They do not seek the praise of giving, but genuinely want to bless the recipient. Since givers tend to avoid the limelight, it is not surprising that those with the gift of giving do not appear in the Bible frequently. It is possible that Matthew, the disciple may have been a giver, as he was willing to quit his lucrative job as a tax collector to follow Jesus.
Givers often use their resources well because they are motivated to bless others. They often maintain a reasonable budget and able to find great buys. A giver often understands that all things truly belong to God, which motivates them to give generously.
Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
— 1 Peter 5:3
Those gifted in leadership are the "head " of the body of Christ. They are good at administration and seeing the big picture and making long-term goals. They are generally well organized, analytical, and capable of delegating. A leader may not purposely seek to be a leader but will step up when one does not present themselves. They usually can see the gifts and ability in others, which makes them effective at delegating.
Leadership is not those who hover above others, but those who lead through servant-hood. Although they love the organization, they need to learn to be flexible when things do not go well and are sensitive to others. Patience and wisdom are vital to becoming effective as a spiritual leader.
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
— Luke 6:36
Those who have the spiritual gift of mercy are the "heart" of the body because they easily sense the feelings in another person. They often seek those who are hurting and have great patience when dealing with them. They sincerely want hurting people to feel better and will act sacrificially when doing so. They often are very understanding, compassionate, and expressive in their love. They usually have a very meek spirit and avoid firmness.
Those with mercy as a motivational gift need to protect themselves from inappropriate relationships or having others view them as having different intentions than they do. They also will often not feel encouraged in their mercy giving, because many who receive mercy do not receive it well, yet mercy givers will choose to do it anyway.
The best way to figure out your unique spiritual gift is by considering what you enjoy doing and ask your friends within the church where they feel you are gifted. Regardless of where you are gifted, you must act in all the ways God has called you. Just because giving is not your gift, does not mean you should not give- same with teaching, showing mercy, encouragement, etc. God has called each of us to do these things, regardless of our spiritual gifts.
The reason we may want to know where we are gifted is to make sure that we tap into that area of ministry. We will find great fulfillment when we are serving the way God designed each individual to serve. It is also good to encourage those in the areas they excel at as well.
Paul gives the exhortation in Romans 12:3 that "we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought." We need to make sure we give credit to God for the gifts God has endowed us with, not ourselves. It is only because of God we are capable of doing anything holy. Gifts from God are a measure of His grace, and not evidence of our spiritual health. They also do not indicate our worth within or outside the body of Christ. Those who are most subject to falling into this trap of pride are those with gifts that are more noticeable than others, such as teaching.
On the flip-side, Paul cautions us in 1 Corinthians to not devalue those who have a less prominent gift, when he says,
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-16).
Some gifts are easer to see. Just like on a body, the hands and feet are seen, but the heart is hidden, yet very essential to everyday survival. Some of the more hidden gifts are entirely essential for the spiritual health of the church. None of us should feel less part of the body of Christ just because we have less visible gifts, nor should we discredit others in the church because we do not see their spiritual gift.
- "30. Thinking Straight About Spiritual Gifts (Romans 12:3-8)." Bible.org. Accessed March 11, 2018. https://bible.org/seriespage/30-thinking-straight-about-spiritual-gifts-romans-123-8.
- Admin. "What are the seven motivational gifts?" Institute in Basic Life Principles. August 30, 2016. Accessed March 11, 2018. https://iblp.org/questions/what-are-seven-motivational-gifts.
- Fairchild, Mary. "How to Easily Identify Your Spiritual Motivational Gifts." ThoughtCo. Accessed March 11, 2018. https://www.thoughtco.com/know-your-spiritual-gifts-701017.
© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz