- January 20, 2021
Now about the Gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. ~ I Corinthians 12:1 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. ~ I Corinthians 12:7 Do it! Do it now! Three-year-old Eli just couldn’t stand it. Our desire to
Now about the Gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. ~ I Corinthians 12:1
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. ~ I Corinthians 12:7
Do it! Do it now!
Three-year-old Eli just couldn’t stand it. Our desire to hit the perfect mini-golf shot was driving him crazy. As we painstakingly lined up our putters to send the ball zigzagging through a maze of obstacles, he would stand directly behind us yelling, “Do it! Do it now!”
As Paul writes about spiritual gifts to the church in Corinth, I picture him doing the same thing. As we stew and fret over what our spiritual gifts might be or how to use them, he is standing behind us yelling, “Do it! Do it now!”
In his second letter to the same church, he wrote:
“As God’s co-workers, we urge you to not receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” II Corinthians 6:1-2
Paul’s point is clear: whether talking about salvation or utilizing the gifts of the Spirit, the time to receive and participate in God’s grace is now. And while you have been gifted for greatness, please know that it is for greatness in the eyes of God — not in your own eyes or in the eyes of the world.
What is a Spiritual Gift?
A spiritual gift is a miraculous ability given by God to meet specific needs in the Body of Christ (inward) and the Mission of God (outward).
A spiritual gift can be fully utilized, even if it is not identified or intentionally developed. Long before spiritual gift “how-to” books and gift inventories existed, believers effectively served the Body of Christ and the Mission of God. You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar or a 30-year veteran of Sunday school to serve in your spiritual gift. All you must do is start serving.
A spiritual gift is usually recognized and affirmed by the Church — and often before the possessor even realizes they have it.
Ignorance, confusion, and division have caused the spiritual gifts to fall off the Church’s radar. The result is a small group of overworked people in the Body of Christ. That’s not God’s design. Every believer has a gift — and every believer needs to serve faithfully in it. If you’re not serving, then the Body is suffering — and you need to be aware of it.
What a Spiritual Gift Is Not
A spiritual gift is not reliant on anything other than God’s Spirit and our availability. It is a miraculous gift given by God regardless of our circumstances. It is not reliant on our abilities, personality, experiences, resources, education, IQ, or any other factor.
A spiritual gift is not about us or how it makes us feel or look; it is about love. Watch out for pride and selfishness – they can turn a spiritual gift into a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. See I Corinthians 13.
Spiritual gifts are not static. They are dynamic — full of energy and purpose, able to get things going, and to get things done. Their dynamic nature also makes them adaptable to address needs as they arise. The Giver of the gifts is sovereign — and He chooses the gifts and their duration based on what is needed in the Body and the mission. Prepare to be surprised!
Cautions About Spiritual Gifts
Don’t expect to discover your gift(s) while sitting around; spiritual gifts are discovered while serving. If you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, then do something. Yes, do it now! If God wants you to continue doing it, He will affirm you — and so will the Church. And if you’re serving in the wrong area, then your faithfulness will open doors to the right area of service. Someone once referred to it as failing forward. Be faithful in the little things, and He will make you master over many. See Matthew 25.
Sometimes spiritual gifts arrive polished, while others show up in-the-rough. Remember, they are miraculous, so how they arrive is up to God and His design. Don’t be jealous of someone else’s gift — and don’t take pride in your own. Take the gift He has given and get to work. God will take care of the polishing.
Don’t seek a particular gift; instead, seek to be filled with and fully yielded to the Giver of the gifts. The practice of seeking a particular gift has many pitfalls — and the Church has suffered deep divisions because of it.
Don’t project your gift onto others. You may find great joy and purpose in your gift, but that doesn’t mean you should expect everyone else to have it.
Be cautious about announcing your gift to others. If you need to announce it, then you probably don’t have it — or you’re struggling with pride. The gifts, when offered humbly and consistently, have a beautiful way of announcing themselves. Don’t exalt yourself – it always smells better when God does it.
This article wasn’t intended to answer all your questions about spiritual gifts. In Seizing Your Divine Moment, Erwin McManus says, “Don’t look for God to fill in all the blanks. Don’t wait for Him to remove all the uncertainty. Realize He may actually increase the uncertainty and leverage all the odds against you, just so you will know in the end that it wasn’t your gifts but His power through your gifts that fulfilled His purpose in your life.”
My friend, God, has gifted you for greatness in His Kingdom, so get to work. Do it! Do it now!
You can read more about spiritual gifts in these passages of Scripture: Romans 12:6-8, I Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:9-10.