How to Determine your Spiritual Gift(s)!
Online Bible Study 26originally for November 13, 2001
Q: Did you ever wonder why you are given a gift? A: To build the body!
We are diverging from our normal verse-by-verse inductive study into Romans to give general overview of Spiritual Gifts. It is our intention to give an honest Biblical teaching of this topic without adding into any theological or personal agenda. This is a tough task as there are so many views on Spiritual Gifts and it is an emotionally charged subject. But there are also a lot of bad and false teachings of this subject, where people read into their perceptions and agenda without concern to what God is communicating to us.It is our intention to seek plainly what the Scriptures teach us and urge you to do so too!
General idea: Spiritual Gifts, ("Charisma" or "Pneumakitos" in the Greek, is mostly used by Paul except in I Pet. 4:10) meaning, "abilities characterized or controlled by the Spirit, given by grace." This subject almost always brings out a response from Christian's from all walks of life and denominations. Some are passionate with excitement desiring to discover and use their gifts, while others hide in the fear of being convicted. So what does Spiritual Gifts mean? The term means "a gift of grace." It refers specifically to a favor or a special gift given to a believer (Rom. 5:15; 6:23) in the Lord to empower them with a special talent and or an ability to serve the church and glorify Him better (Rom. 12:6-8; I Cor. 7:7;12:4-7; 13: 8-13; 28-30; Eph. 4:7-12; 1 Pet. 4:10). These gifts are to edify the church, serve the community, and build personal character and maturity. They are never to be used to distract people from Christ to uplift a parson or even a church!
These gifts are also a responsibility, as they direct us to sacrificially serve others as He has served us. Yet so often we fight over them, nullifying their true purpose and intent. These gifts also have a supernatural source, the Holy Spirit. And they can be miraculous or normative; however each gift whether it is miraculous or not are all essential to the Body of Christ. Some have a greater need and importance as stated in I Corinthians 12-14. Spiritual Gifts cannot be earned or bought by us in any way shape or form. The Holy Spirit purely and graciously gives them to us for His clearly defined purpose. Thus, they are to serve the body of Christ, His church, not our whims, ideas, plans or greed. They are to be used, they are practical and a church cannot function without them effectively!
Spiritual Gifts have one of two areas of ministry in the church.
1. First are the "assigned offices" such as ministers, elders, and deacons, etc. These are the "offices" of (Acts 6:1-6; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Tim.3: 8; 5:17; James 2:15-16), leadership roles.They must have the appropriate gifts of leadership, as well the gift in their area of ministry (I Cor. 14: 3-40; Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; Heb 13:17).They must be all working together in love and cooperative unity.
2. Second are the Spiritual Gifts that are assigned to each believer, we have at least one.Spiritual Gifts are the abilities given and characterized by the Holy Spirit. "Charisma" means that they are gifts of God's grace. This is imperative to know, because they are not something we earn or even deserve! They are gifts of grace. Regardless of what you have been taught or what you think the term "charismatic" means. (It means being led by the Spirit, and if you are a Christian, then the Spirit leads you. The Question is, are you obeying Him?) On another note, there actually are no non-charismatic gifts, since they are all gifts of Grace by the Spirit. These are the abilities to do a specific function in ministry to glorify Christ with the display of attributes of Christ's character in a specific function that strengthens the church. Such as "pastor/teacher" for the minister, or "mercy" to those who visit the sick.
3. The role of Spiritual Gifts in the Body of Christ:
· It is the believer's responsibility to find and develop and exercise the gifts given.
· Some of the gifts include leadership, teaching, pastoral care, mercy, giving... (See Gift Definitions)
· Spiritual Gifts guide us on how we are to behave and interact with each other.
· We must acknowledge our role in the body of Christ; His church, there are no lone wolfs in Christ! We have a duty to fulfill, and a role to play. We have a duty to find our gifts and then use our gifts for the edification of those in the church and those around us outside of the church. When we refuse to yield to His truths and call we not only hurt ourselves, but each other too, and we hurt our Lord!
· Spiritual gifts are alive and well in the world, to deny their existence is to deny the work of the Holy Spirit! It is comforting to deny gifts, because then we do not have to respond to His call and duty, we can be lazy and conceited in our outlook to others instead; of course this thinking is straight from another source other than the Bible and God's call (Matt 28; John 7:38-39; 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7)!
· Fruits and Gifts are not the same. We must not confuse the "gifts of the Spirit" with "fruit of the Spirit." Gifts are services to be performed for others to benefit the church. "Fruit" speaks of the graces and character traits of Christ we all are to emulate as a believer. We accomplish this as we receive the Spirit's work within us, then we are called to cultivate and produce. From this Fruit our spiritual growth, faith development, maturity and holiness further develops (Gal. 5:22-23). Both the fruit and the gifts are essential. Both are manifestations of the indwelling Spirit within us.
· What is the difference between a gift and a talent? Most Bible teachers say that we are born with certain talents or natural abilities, but when we are "born again" we are given spiritual gifts. This may be true, but I find it interesting that talents being 'natural' and gifts being 'supernatural' are not a separate distinction in Scripture! So the difference between your pastor and secular professor is that the teaching may be from the same talent/gift thus can be used in a church or a secular classroom. But the purpose and glory is completely different. And as we grow in maturity the Spirit empowers us further, beyond just the 'natural' 'talent' (I Cor. 2:14-15; Gal. 1:15-16).
· What gifts are more important? Answer: I Corinthians12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
· All the gifts are needed and essential because they all are designed to edify the Church and glorify God. The church is a body, where all parts of the body are important, some are more essential, like the brain verses a foot. The Corinthians had trouble distinguishing the importance of the Gifts, hence Paul's letter to them. (I Cor. 12:31; 14). Thus, leaders and teachers are the most important who clearly present the truths of the Christian faith, which the apostles (church leaders) give from the Word.
· A prophet is someone who keeps the church on God's path and truth and makes sure we do not slip into false teaching. This is not the same as an OT prophet!
· Tongues and miracles may seem great! But they do not meet the basic and eternal needs of the Body of Christ as teaching. To think they are is putting the cart in front of the horse! The Bible does not make the case that they have ceased, although they are not considered normative or important, like milk for a baby; verses the meat of teaching for maturity.
· The most important and needed gifts are those that focus is on the Word of God, and focus on discipling the believers because without them the church would fall down (Matt. 28: 18-20). The teaching and preaching of the Word of God must be more valuable to you than any material or emotional things!
· Satan does not want you to discover your gifts; he wants you to ignore your responsibility and nurture of one another.
"God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ."
How to Determine your Spiritual Gift(s)!
This procedure is much more accurate and honest than just using an 'inventory.' Because we have a tendency to read into these 'tests' our desires and not listen to our Lord's leading. Use an inventory like the one we have on our Spiritual Gift Channel in our Spiritual Gifts Discovery Workshop. Inventories are not designed to be the indicator only as another source of information, but not your only source!
MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS___________________________________
(In this place write down what you think they are, and what others have told you)
· Read: Rom. 5:15; 6:23; 12:6-8; I Cor. 7:7; 10:31; 12:4-7; 14-31 ; 13: 8-13; 14: 1-40; 28-30; Eph. 4:7-12; and 1 Pet. 4:10.
· Study the Biblical teaching on gifts, put the emphases on what the Bible says not your experience or presumptions! Go over the Gift Descriptions below, and see which one(s) interest and excite you.
Do the following PRAYERFULLY and PRIVATELY.
· List those you are pretty sure you have.
· List those you think you might have.
· Examine Your DESIRES. (Be careful! You must examine your motives as well)
· Examine the EVIDENCE (what you have done or can do, what has been confirmed by others)
· Examine the OPPORTUNITIES (what are the needs?)
Share this list with someone who knows you such as a mentor or parent who knows the 'real you' for confirmation, prayer and encouragement.
· List where and how can you exercise your gift(s)?
Answer these questions.
1.What needs exist in your life and community or world that is a need that requires attention, i.e., in your family, local Church, city, etc.)?
· God will give someone, perhaps you, the spiritual gifts necessary to help meet those needs. Ask God what part you should take in helping to minister and serve.
· Be on the lookout for needs that God can meet through you!
2.What do you think the Holy Spirit is telling you to do?
· The Holy Spirit has given each Christian at least one spiritual gift.
· The Holy Spirit wants you to exercise that spiritual gift.
· You are to be open and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.
· After you determine your gift(s) and the Spirit's direction in the use of the gift(s), you must obey Him!
3.Ask yourself honestly, would you naturally choose what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do or your desires? Usually your desires are a good starting indication, as long as you are honest and grounded in the Word.
- Usually the Holy Spirit will not cause you to do what you have no inclination to do, no liking and no sensitivity. Thus, He will not call you to Outer Mongolia to be a missionary unless you also have the desire and ability to go!
4. What natural talents, interests, abilities, inclinations, etc., do you have already that God would normally use to begin with?
- Usually the Lord starts with us where we are, not with trying to revamp our whole personality and gifts. He starts with natural talents and interests, and then adds supernatural abilities as we grow in maturity, and as He wills/leads for His purpose.
- Are the gift(s) that you are using giving you wonder and excitement or a feeling of stale obligation?
- If you are stuck, read through the description and Scriptures of the gifts below and then try to experiment with as many gifts as you can (such as teaching, helping…) and see if you feel comfortable with one or more!
- Examine your feelings; what do you want to do more than anything else? But do not rely on just your feelings!
- Is the gift you have just the gift you want? Make sure it is God's call not just your own desires.
5. What do you do well already?
- What we do well already is probably an indication of some sort of gift from God. The Spirit may grant us additional gift(s), but that is His decision, not ours.
6. What gifts do others in the Body of Christ, the Church, see in you?
- The Holy Spirit does not work with us in isolation from the other members of the Body of Christ. The others are given insight into our giftedness and we into theirs as means of checks and balances. We help each other to be honest to God! So, make sure you ask others!
- After discovering your gifts, evaluate your effectiveness with them, as a check and balance to make sure you are exercising the right one(s). But do not give up, like sports or music, exercising your gifts take time and practice!
7.Based on the above, what gifts do I seem to have?
8.Am I willing to check this out with the Lord through heartfelt surrendered prayer (Gal. 2:20)?
9.Am I willing to check this out with others who know me, e.g., my spouse, parents, children, pastors, elders, etc.?
10.How can I begin to use these spiritual gift(s)?
11.How can you now start to be discipled in these gifts, to get to know them and use them to glorify our Lord?
12.How can you now best use the gifts God gave you in a team effort with others?
Additional discussion Questions
1. What comes to your mind when someone says Spiritual Gifts?
2.Do you have passionate excitement desiring to discover and use your gifts, or do you hide in the fear of being convicted?
3.Why do some Christians deny their existence?
4.What do Spiritual Gifts mean to you and your church?
5. If you had the choice of any special talent and or ability to serve Him better with what would it be?
6. Spiritual Gifts guide us on how we are to behave and interact with each other. So what happens when we refuse to exercise them?
7.What is your church's position on gifts?
8.How are Spiritual Gifts determined and used in your church?
9.For you to build personal character and maturity, how would Spiritual Gifts help?
10. How would Spiritual Gifts help serve the community?
11. How are gifts a responsibility?
12. Why do Christians fight over Spiritual Gifts when the fighting nullifies their true purpose and intent?
13. Why is the function in ministry to glorify Christ?
14. With the above question in mind, how can you display of attributes of Christ's character fruit and gifts in a specific function that strengthens the church?
15. What can you do if you are a leader or pastor to motivate the congregation from the pulpit and boardroom to find and use their gifts?
16. How can you help others discover their gifts?
17. What can you do to find a mentor who has the same gifts as you with more experience to show you the ropes?
18. How can you set a schedule for accountability with your mentor?
19. What can you do to continue the exercise and growth of your gifts indefinitely?
20. What can you do to explore the possibilities of what you can do with your gifts of grace?
21. What can you and your church do to experiment with as many gifts as you can?
22. What can you do as a church to make sure you all are working together in love and cooperative unity with the gifts?
23. How can the fruits make the gifts work better?
24. What will you do now with your knowledge of your gift(s)?
Remember: Satan does not want you to discover your gifts; he wants you to ignore your responsibility and nurture of one another.
SPIRITUAL GIFT DEFINITIONS AND SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
The following contains suggested definitions of the spiritual gifts as defined by the Bible in no particular order. This is not meant to be dogmatic or final, these definitions and supporting Scriptures do correspond to the characteristics of the gifts as expressed in most evangelical and reformed thinking.
1. HELPS: The ability to invest the talents one has in the life and ministry of other members of the body, thus enabling those others to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. Mark 15:4041 Acts 9:36 Romans 16:1-2 I Corinthians 12:28
2. LEADERSHIP: The ability to set goals in accordance with God's purpose for the future and to communicate those goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. Acts 15:7-11 Romans 12:8 I Timothy 5:17 Hebrews 13:17
3. HOSPITALITY: The ability to provide an open house and a warm welcome to those in need of food and lodging. Acts 16:14-15 Romans 12:9-13 Romans 16:23 Hebrews 13:1-2 I Peter 4:9
4. SERVICE: The ability to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results. Acts 6:1-7 Romans 12:7 Galatians 6:2 II Timothy 1:16-18 Titus 3:14
5. ADMINISTRATION: The ability to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the body of Christ and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals. Luke 14:28-30 Acts 6:1-7 I Corinthians 12:28
6.DISCERNMENT: The ability to know with assurance whether certain behavior purported to be of God is in reality divine, human or satanic. The purpose of this gift is to prevent confusion and false teaching from infiltrating the church. Matthew 16:21-23 Acts 5:1-11 Acts 16:16-18 I Corinthians 12:10 I John 4:1-6
7.FAITH: The ability to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purpose of God, and to propel the body of believers into actively claiming the promises of God. Acts 11:22-24 Romans 4: 18-21 I Corinthians 12:9 Hebrews 11
8.MUSIC: The ability to use one's voice in the singing of praises to the Lord for the benefit of others, or to play a musical instrument to praise the Lord and for the benefit of others. Remember God is always the audience in worship! Deuteronomy 3 1:22 I Samuel 16:16 I Chronicles 16:4142 II Chronicles 5: 12-13 II Chronicles 34:12 Psalm 150
9.LANGUAGES/TONGUES: The ability to speak a divinely anointed message in a language one has never learned, but one that is known to the hearers. Its purpose is an evangelistic tool for spreading the gospel. Mark 16:17 Acts 2:1-13 Acts 10:44-46 Acts 19:1-7 (Make sure you follow the precepts of I Cor.14!)
10. MIRACLES - The ability to serve as a human intermediary through whom it pleases God to perform powerful acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature. Acts 9:36-42 Acts 19:11-20 Acts 20:7-12 Romans 15:18-19 I Corinthians 12:10, 28
11. CRAFTSMANSHIP: The ability to use one's hands, thoughts and mind to further the kingdom of God through artistic, creative means. People with this gift may also serve to lead others in forming their abilities in this area. The gift may also be used in the areas of maintenance, care and upkeep for the benefit and beautification of God's kingdom here on earth. Exodus 30:22-25 Exodus 31:3-11 II Chronicles 34:9-13 Acts 18:2-3
12. HEALING: The ability to serve as a human intermediary through whom God's healing power is applied to another person's physical or emotional need. Acts 3:1-10 Acts 5:12-16 Acts 9:32-35 Acts 28:7-10 I Corinthians 12:9, 28
13. GIVING: The ability to contribute material resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness. Mark 12:41-44 Romans 12:8 II Corinthians 8:1-7 II Corinthians 9:2-8
14. MERCY: The ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully-done deeds which reflect Christ's love and alleviate the sufferings as well as motivate others to help. Matthew 9:35,36 Mark 9:41 I Thess. 5:14
15. WISDOM: The ability to apply spiritual truth to a specific issue in a specifically relevant fashion, and to make proper choices in difficult situations, based on sufficient information. Acts 6:3,10 I Corinthians 2:1-13 I Corinthians 12:8 James 1:5 II Peter 3:15
16. KNOWLEDGE: The ability to discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information which is pertinent to the growth and well-being of the body. Acts 5:1-11 I Corinthians 12:8 II Corinthians 11:6 Colossians 2:2-3
17. EXORTATION: The ability to minister words of encouragement, consolation, comfort and motivation from God's Word to help others complete their tasks and be all that God want them to be. Acts 4:32-37 Acts 14:22 Romans 12:8 I Timothy 4:13 Hebrews 10:24.25
18. TEACHINIG: The ability to employ a logical, systematic approach to Biblical study and to communicate information relevant to the health and ministry of the body and its members in such a way that others will learn. Acts 18:24.28 Acts 20:20-21 I Corinthians 12:28 Ephesians 4:11-14
19. PASTOR/SHEPHERD: The ability to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. John 10:1-18 Ephesians 4:11-14 I Timothy 3:1-7 I Peter 5:1-3
20. APOSTLESHIP: The ability to assume and exercise general leadership over a number of churches, with an extraordinary authority in spiritual matters, which is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by those churches. Such as a bishop. This is not the same as the original 12 Apostles or Paul! Acts 15:1-2 I Corinthians 12:28 II Corinthians 12:12 Galatians 2:7-10 Ephesians 3:1-9 Ephesians 4:11-14
21. MISSIONARY: The ability to minister with whatever other spiritual gifts one has in another land or culture. Acts 8:4 Acts 13:2-3 Acts 22:21 Romans 10:15 I Corinthians 9:19-23
22. PROPHECY: The ability to proclaim the Word of God with divine anointing, which brings conviction to the hearers so they recognize that it is truly the Word of God and they must do something about it. A prophet is also someone who keeps the church on God's path and truth and makes sure we do not slip into false teaching. This is not the same as an OT prophet, which existed before the Word was completed! Acts 2:37-40; Mat '7:54 Acts 26:24-29 I Corinthians 14:1,3 I Thessalonians 1:5
23. EVANGELISM: The ability to share the gospel with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become Jesus' disciples and responsible members of the body of Christ. Acts 8:5-6 Acts 8:26-40 Acts 14:21 Acts 21:8 Ephesians 4:11-14 II Timothy 4:5
24. PRAYER/INTERCESSION: The ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to prayer, to a degree much greater than that, which is experienced by most Christians. All Christians are to exercise this, but the gifted person will go beyond. Luke 22:41-u Acts 12:12 Colossians 1:9-12 Colossians 4:12-13 I Timothy 2:1-2 James 5:14-16
For more information please see our Spiritual Giftschannel!
Try theses helpful sites!
http://www.assess-yourself.org/ Measure your Christian character, and identify your God-given gifts!
ã 1983, 1987, revised 2001, 2004 R.J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministrieshttp://www.intothyword.com/