How Can I Discover My Spiritual Gifts?
Sunday, 05 February 2012 06:42

God created you for a specific, significant purpose in the Body of Christ, so it's important to consider what your spiritual gift or gifts may be so that you can use them by faith (Romans 12:4-8).

What is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is the God-given capacity of every Christian to carry out his function in the body of Christ.

How can you discover your spiritual gift or gifts? By sharing your life with other fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. You discover your spiritual gifts by serving with other Christians in the local church. Discovering your spiritual gifts is not the great mystery we often make it out to be. God has given you a gift or better yet, He has given you an individual combination of gifts. He intends for you to know your gift mix, to develop it and to use it for His glory. Gifts are not classified or top secret material intended only for the spiritual elite. Neither does the Bible provide an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts or combination of them. The Bible gives examples of gifts to be used for His glory and for the benefit of His body.

First, study and examine at the examples of spiritual gifts recorded in the Scriptures (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8–11; 1 Cor. 12: 28–31; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:10-11). For example, the gift of faith is the supernatural ability to trust God. Faith is both active and passive. The housewife, for example, may demonstrate active faith by trusting God to establish a coffee-type Bible study for the gals in the neighborhood. The husband may exercise active faith in stepping out into a new type of business venture that will bring additional opportunities for ministry. Passive faith is faith which hangs on for dear life. A wife with the gift of faith may demonstrate her passive faith when all the obstacles point to her husband throwing in the towel and quitting a job or continued education, but she keeps encouraging him to trust. These kinds of faith benefit the body by encouraging others to trust the Lord both actively and passively.

Whatever you do, do not define the gifts in terms of the spectacular. Rather, define the gifts as they relate to you and the needs of others. Consider how the gift of faith would manifest itself in your situation, on the job, at home, in your responsibilities in the church and your community. Use your combination of gifts for the benefit of others. As Christians, we are not to live in isolation, for after all, we are members of the same body to serve the needs of the body.

Second, and most important, obey the Scriptures. Corresponding to every spiritual gift is an imperative or instruction to every Christian to carry out that function. The reason why most Christians don’t know what their spiritual gift is, is that they have never tried to do it yet. A great place to start is in the context of a PBC Care Group where you will see the real needs of others and have an opportunity to take initiative to lovingly meet that need in the way that seems best to you as you ask God for His direction.

If you were to ask me what I thought your natural abilities were, the first thing I would do is to ask what you have tried. Have you ever tried to play baseball, to water ski, to bowl, to sew? If you haven’t you will never know. You may study sewing, baseball, bowling or whatever, but you will never know if you are good at it until you have made a genuine effort to do it. The general imperatives of the Scriptures have made it easy for us. They command us to do everything which corresponds to some spiritual gift.

In your obedience to the Scriptures, do the things that you see need to be done. I believe it is almost impossible for one with the gift of teaching not to show his hand at a discussion-type Bible study. There is virtually no way you can keep a gifted teacher quiet. He senses a need to teach, and, if given the chance, he meets that need by sharing what he knows to be God’s answer. The one with the gift of giving is the one who is most sensitive to financial needs. He senses needs that go over every one else’s heads. The same is true of the administrator. He will sense the lack of organization and immediately move in to meet that need. It is my contention that with every spiritual gift comes the complimentary ability to discern the need as well as the ability to meet it.

As you use your spiritual gifts, you will react to given situations in the light of your gifts. If a waitress spills someone’s meal all over the restaurant floor and a group of Christians are sitting nearby, each individual will react in accordance with this spiritual gift. The gift of mercy may respond by concentrating on cleaning up the mess, the gift of giving might offer to pay for another meal, the gift of exhortation may seek to encourage the waitress. The gift of administration may organize the whole matter to avoid confusion. The gift of teaching may suggest some ways to avoid a recurrence of the problem. Your mix of spiritual gifts makes you sensitive to certain needs that others may not perceive. Do what you see needs to be done. As you use your gifts, whatever they may be, remember that the greatest gift is love (1 Cor. 13:1-3, 13).

Third, devote yourself to the Lord Jesus and His church by doing what you do best. When you begin to meet the needs of others, you will quickly discover that you do some things better than others. You'll also see things that others aren't doing that needs to be done by you. The fact that you do not do some things very well is no indication that you are to stop altogether in that area. But this will be a clue as to where you should concentrate your efforts. On the basis of your own evaluation and the feedback of those you respect, begin to devote more time and energy to the things you do best. This leads to the development of the gifts which you possess. Whatever opportunities come up which will aid you in enhancing your spiritual gifts, make the most of them. You may learn that a job change will help you develop your gift. For example, if your gift is teaching, you may well consider a teaching occupation that will enhance your abilities in teaching. If you are particularly skillful in counseling, you may be able to find a job that gives you additional opportunities to develop this ability.

Warren Wiersbie says, "Gifts are not toys to play with. They are tools to build with. And if they are not used in love, they become weapons to fight with, which is what happened in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 12–14)."

The most important thing, whatever your gift or gifts may be, is to pray for opportunities to be used by the Lord Jesus to meet the needs of others, and then use your gifts in love by faith to meet those needs (1 Peter 4:10) for God's glory and the benefit of the church.