“When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,
and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
Every Christian, upon their acceptance of Christ, is given a spiritual gift. This gift, designed to bless others in the community, the church, and your family, is part of your purpose in life. Knowing your own spiritual gift and understanding how it is to be used can be a great benefit to you and your circle of influence.
Knowing your gifting helps embrace God’s purpose for you. Equally so, knowing your gifting can help you understand what your purpose or your responsibility is NOT. It is not uncommon to find people serving in situations that they are not skilled to be in. Being out of step with your purpose may cause frustration and rob another person of the ministry they are called to do. If you are equipped with the gift of administration, maybe you should not be serving. Each of us should be serving in the pathway of our unique gift.
Knowing your gifting fills the need in your spirit to be aligned with your purpose. Understanding your purpose will help you know where you fit in a group situation. A group made up of all leaders will self-implode. To the contrary, a group with individuals of differing gift sets brings balance and harmony to the team.
The enemy strategizes to keep you in the dark about your true gifting. Serving outside of your best area of influence is his delight. The following lesson is created to help you understand your unique gift and how to use it. First take the free test https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/ .
If you include Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and Corinthians 12 together, there are 16 spiritual gifts:
- Administration / Ruling
- Apostleship / Pioneering
- Encouraging/ Exhorting
- Pastor / Shepherding
- Prophecy / Perceiving
- Serving / Ministry
- Showing Mercy
12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were [a]pagans, you were led [b]astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking [c]by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is [d]accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except [e]by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith [f]by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of [g]healing [h]by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the [i]effecting of [j]miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the [k]distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He [l]wills.
12 For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For [m]by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one part, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [n]any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [o]any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many parts, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22
On the contrary, [p]it is much truer that the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those parts of the body which we [q]consider less honorable, [r]on these we bestow greater honor, and our less presentable parts become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable parts have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked, 25 so that there may be no [s]division in the body, but that the parts may have the same care for one another.
26 And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is [t]honored, all the parts rejoice with it.
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. 28 And God has [u]appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then [v]miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of [w]miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And yet, I am going to show you a far better way.
Seeing and speaking the truth is the contribution of prophecy. A person embracing with this gift cannot remain quiet or sit still when they are hearing an untruth. They are quick to sense evil, confusion, or spiritual warfare. They do not see grey situations and are black or white individuals. They are drawn to seeing injustices made right. The person with this gifting often can reveal a person’s real motives and character.
They are bold, fearless, cut to the chase, work hard to create change, loyal and willing. The downside of their passion is that they can often be too direct and blunt. They prefer to cut to the chase because they desire immediate change. Without experience and Christ-like maturity, they can be quick to judge and speak out.
Satan targets these prophets because many look up to them, finding them spiritual influencers making them the perfect lamb to slaughter. If they fall, many others may fall too. When prophets operate outside of God’s direction, they can devastate a wide circle of influence and close relationships.
Gift of Service –
This person is concerned with the practical needs and wants to meet those needs. They are typically hands-on helpers. They have an awareness—more than most—of what needs to be done to support others. They are compassionate and cannot help helping. They typically go the extra mile to help someone with extraordinarily little thought to their personal sacrifice. They excel at helping others be successful at their gifting.
You can count on the person with the gift of service to do the dirty work others baulk at and they seem to have endless energy to assist. The downside of this gift is that they can be so all in to help that they neglect their own needs and their family’s needs. They struggle to set healthy boundaries and often enable others to stay stuck rather than equip them to move forward. They have a need to be appreciated but little patience for wasting time on things that produce nothing.
These folks are motivated by praise and appreciation. They have a strong desire to be with people. The more people they meet, the more people they can meet the needs of. They are great team players and are typically extroverts. They are people persons and survive best in short-term projects. They do not have a need for awards, accolades, or headline praise but they need to be in people relationships.
This gift needs to guard against doing so much for others they do not allow others to do for them. Learning to receive by allowing others to give is tough but vital. They can be too quick to help which may rob the person of the lesson God is teaching. You will need to fight against being so busy that you neglect your own spiritual growth. Avoid the desire to answer the call of the urgent and getting side-tracked.
This spiritual gift is attentive, friendly, generous, happy, available, and diligent to finish a project.
This gifting hopes to influence change through information. This person loves passing on wisdom and understanding. They work to share information in a way that is easy to follow, retain and apply. Teachers want to teach facts and truths, and love to find facts that perhaps others might have missed; and then share it. Typically, they want to know as much about the topic as possible and grow impatient with those who talk a lot but say little. They are rarely impulsive and emotional information does not resonate with them. They dislike ‘know-it-alls’ when it appears that they do not know what they are talking about.
The downside of teachers is that they like to present facts but need to work on presenting items in an interesting manner to hold attention. Teachers can get stuck on small errors and need to remember to look for the big picture. They need to be careful not to fling academic degrees, their resumes, and awards but be alert to God’s leading.
Teachers who respect the word of God are easy to count on because they are self-controlled, are dependable. They must be careful not to teach one thing and live another.
Exhortation and Encouragement:
Exhorters want to see every believer live an authentic life and prosper on earth and heaven. They desire to see people mature in their relationship in the Lord. They are quick to ask where you are in your spiritual walk. They long for others to live out their full potential.
They possess wisdom, discernment, faith, discretion, authentic love, enthusiasm, and passion. They are the bottom line, logical truth speakers in a group. They can play down or oversimplify a problem a person is having and promise too quickly to fix the situation. There is a need to rein in their strategies to avoid overwhelming a person. They need to learn to empathized rather than blast through to the end goals. Like all giftings, they need to be careful not to step outside of the instructions of Christ and push their own agenda.
The Gift of Giving:
This angel wants to give regardless of their financial status. They delight in giving and willing to share all they have. Giving is not just about money for them. They also share their time, energy, resources and of themselves. Typically, great with money, they make wise investments. They are great bargain hunters and often prefer to give anonymously. They do not respond to pressure to give and prefer to see the need themselves and give accordingly.
They are eager to inspire others to give to a worthy cause. They catch financial need that others miss. Many live modest lives and frugal lives. They do not tend to collect or accumulate things. Unfortunately, they may judge others based on their giving—or lack of giving. They need to be careful not to focus so much on material giving that they neglect spiritual giving. They need to stay away from controlling a ministry because of their gifts and must avoid pressuring others to give like they are able to remaining thankful for their own circumstances.
Givers are thrifty, inventive, contented with less, punctual, open-minded, watchful, and typically thankful.
The Greek word for this gift means “the one who stands out front.” People knit to this gift often are misunderstood and can be accused of not being spiritual. They are dreamers and see the big picture others might not. They have an inert ability to break down large projects into small pieces and then getting others involved in the process. They are a great resource for getting projects and people organized. They are great delegators, can see a project through to completion with the right ‘helpers.’ They welcome constructive criticism and will not fall apart when negatively criticized. They prefer loyalty and love seeing goals accomplished. They hate wasting time and grow weary with those who talk about doing instead of actually getting the work done. Born natural leaders when a group where no obvious leadership exist, they will rise to the occasion and lead the group.
They often do not take time to rest and may take on too much. There is a need to balance work and rest. They always have a ‘to do’ list and may drive others beyond their gifts and abilities. They need to guard against relying on themselves rather than on God.
The Gift of Mercy:
The person with the gift of mercy is motivated by love and empathizes with those who do not feel loved. They may appear tough on the outside, but they are extremely tender-hearted. John (son of Zebedee) had this gift and Jesus called him “the son of thunder.” They are the happy easy-going person in any group. They are sensitive to other people’s happiness or sadness. They can decipher other people’s emotions. They do not have to ask how someone is doing because they already intuitively sense their feelings.
They are strongly drawn to those who are lonely, fearful, troubled or feel ostracized. They feel what others feel and want to alleviate their hurt immediately. They may clash with people with the gifts of exhortation or administration feeling they are too impatient or brusque.
Mercy people need friendships. They need to be in relationships that are committed and steadfast. They sense genuine love or lack of it. They see through insincere people almost instantly. Because of their love for people, they are almost always vulnerable to being hurt.
They find the good in people when others do not see it. They are quick to extend an emotional hand and to cheer authenticity. They make lifelong friendships and would rather chew off their arm than speak poorly of someone.
The danger is they may not speak up against someone they believe to be wrong or evil. They need to balance their gifting with a person who sees people without the emotional rose-colored eyeglasses.
They are attentive, sympathetic, just, kind-hearted, gentle, resilient, and sacrificial. The downside of this gift is they can be too emotional and lose clarity of purpose. They can be too quick to think people are being too critical or judgmental. They may be too aggressive with trying to help. They may fail to notice when their acts of unconditional caring and authentic help cross a line where others view it as a romantic love. At times, those who receive mercy from a mercy-gifted person may read there help as an expression of sexual desires.
People with the gift of evangelism are compelled to share the Good News of Christ with others. Talking about the Savior comes naturally for them and they are good at explaining the love of Jesus in simple terms. Being involved in outreach and missions. They practice the verse “be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1Peter 3:15)
Pastor and Shepherding:
Shepherding or that of a pastor is a call to motivate others to grow in Christ-like ways. They are compelled to lead others in serving the Lord. They lead by example and create an atmosphere to work together. They stress harmony and working together. They see their job as helping others to mature in Christ and work toward the common good of the church. They are most concerned with discerning strengths within the body of believers and building effective teams.
The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis. It means having the ability to distinguish people, statements, and situations. Biblically it means having the ability to discriminate between spirits, the good or evil of them. There is an inborn gut feeling to judge well the moral and practical consequences of our decisions. This type of gifting allows the person who possesses it, or those who listen to those people, to avoid costly mistakes or calamity and misadventures. There is also an ability to discern if information from others is from God or out of alignment with righteousness.
The exciting side of this gift is a person who discerns evil can warn others or call them out if they are leading others astray. If the person strays from the Lord, the negative pendulum swing of this gift can be an arrogance or self-serving attitude. In this event, the gifting can become tainted and/or create false discernment and anxiety. Staying connected to the word and prayer is vital. Soaked in the love and wisdom of Christ, discernment can be quite valuable in the church, the family, and your circle of influence.
Most Christians have faith in God for their salvation and trust Him for their lives, but the faith that can move mountains is reserved for those with the gift of faith. The gift of faith enables a person to possess an extraordinary amount of belief that God will demonstrate His power, promises and presence in ways that create happiness, peace, and encouragement. Because most of us are pessimistic, the gift of faith is given to some to inspire the rest of us to believe in supernatural blessings. Belief is a choice and is an intellectual process, but faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit—a blessing. Belief comes from the brain; faith comes from the heart and soul. It is an ability to believe God will do what He promises when no one else believes.
Having faith thwarts the enemy. It warns Satan that what he means for evil God can turn to good. For a person with this gift to continue in the power of prayer, staying intricately connected daily to scripture is vital.
The gift of wisdom in the Greek language is sophia and refers to the intimate understanding of God’s word. The great value of this gift is understanding how to bring about concrete acts of love. It is the ability to instinctively receive insight on how knowledge can best be applied in group situations or with individuals. This knowledge helps others make sound judgements and discern God’s will and to grow closer with Christ. Godly wisdom releases us from fear and gives us strength to face difficult situations. When life flattens us, wisdom restores our faith and courage.
It is vital to live an upright life to maintain the utterance of wisdom.
A person with the hospitality gifting thrives bringing others into their home. They love cooking for them and making them feel cared for. Their homes are restful places that others find relaxing. They strive to create an atmosphere wherever they are that makes others feel warm, important, safe, and welcomed. They are quick to share their resources, build relationships and allow others to crash at any time in their homes. They work to build inviting spaces for others.
Much like the gift of service, hospitality focuses on others first. Scripture even warns us that when we welcome strangers into our homes, we often are entertaining angles (Hebrews 13:1-2)
The spirit of hospitality makes us generous and blesses others by providing food, friendship, shelter, and value to a person’s spirit.
The upside of this gift is that people want to be with hospitable people. The challenging part of this gift is knowing how and when to say no. Hospitable people need to understand that if you share a home with other family members, not all of them may have the gift of hospitality and grow weary of constant people traffic.
This gifting has a great zeal for missionary work. They delight in traveling to places that have not heard the good news of Christ. They are flexible and resilient with new and differing cultures and are willing to meet new communities on their level. It is the ability to create and build new churches and ministries in unchartered territories. They thrive in mentoring others to plant new churches and to cultivate new Christians in communities that do not have places to worship and grow.
Pick up your sword:
What is your spiritual gift? __________________________________
Are you using it? __________________________________________
If so, how? If not, why not? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Which gift is the best?
One gift does not have more honor than another. Each is given as God sees fit. Gifts are given to build up and benefit a group of people created to work together. There are gifts that feel ‘showy’ or ones that we might prefer. That is not the way God created them. Each gift is designed to work in conjunction with all the others to the benefit of the whole body.
If we read further into the next chapter (1Corithians 13) we will see that above all else, each gift should be used in love to edify others rather than ourselves. In fact, we are warned that if we do not use our gifts with love, we cease to be a positive influencer. We become a noisy gong.
13 If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may [a]glory, but do not have love, it does me no good.
4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it [b]keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part and prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.
After studying and discovering your spiritual gift, what does chapter 13 instruct us as to the most important gift?
“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow,
with gold at both ends.”