(There is a Link to a Spiritual Gifts Test at the end of this article)
“DO YOU KNOW YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT?”
Have you ever been asked that question before?
So, do you? Do you know your Spiritual Gift? And, if you do know your Spiritual Gift – SO WHAT?
What I mean is, SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR PRECIOUS GIFT from the Holy Spirit?
Spiritual gifts, (charismata) are an endowment or extraordinary powers given by the Holy Spirit.
These supernatural graces, are given to individual Christians by the Holy Spirit with the purpose of building up the Body of Christ which is The Church and are needed to fulfill the mission of the Church. Spiritual Gifts enable Christians to serve the Lord and His Church.
Two important Truths have been lost over time, and this loss is rendering God’s Church as less effective in Her mission and, is in fact, soiling His Bride.
Truth #1. Many in the Church have become grossly “self-serving”.
It is through Spiritual Gifts that God empowers and enables us to serve Him and to serve His Church, which is His Body. We are, as Christians, to serve the Lord and His Church.
Jesus, Himself, said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”
That is our calling also. We are not here to be served, we are here to serve.
Truth #2. You and I are The Body of Christ, that is we are “The Church”.
We have become accustomed, over the last two millennium (beginning with Constantine) with the idea that we ‘go to church’, but that is impossible in God’s Kingdom and in His economy because we are The Church.
Jesus created His Church, His Body, and made it so the whole Body fits together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
The Holy Spirit guides us, convict us, defends us and empowers us.
Jesus transformed the practice and attitude of ‘going to church’. He also teaches about not allowing external things to convict or to defend us. We are to depend on and call upon the Holy Spirit for those things. Jesus has told us that His laws are now written upon our hearts and in our consciences.
We must BE the Body of Christ, The Church, and behave as such, or we simply are not following Jesus.
No matter what we believe or say or do, we are not a follower of Jesus and we should not call ourselves by His Holy Name, if we are not behaving as Jesus says.
We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and called to serve. We are God’s church.
Here is a list of the Gifts which God gives His Body. See if you can find which gift or gifts are yours. Can you imagine how different things would be in The Church and the world around us if we engaged and used these Gifts, daily?
GIFTS MINISTRIES EFFECTS OFFICES
Prophecy Word of wisdom Apostle Apostle
Serving Word of knowledge Prophet Prophet
Teaching Faith Teacher Evangelist
Exhortation Gifts of healing Miracles Pastor
Giving Miracles Kinds of healing Teacher
Overseer Prophecy Helps
Mercy Distinguishing spirits Administration
Sometimes, Spiritual Gifts are mistakenly considered to be a natural talent or a person’s proclivity, a natural inclination. Natural talents can mimic Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but, they will never accomplish God’s purposes effectively.
Please remember, these are not natural talents. These are supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
(ALSO PLEASE NOTE the order of these gifts and offices. They seem, in each case, to be listed by order of importance and priority.
The Apostle Paul speaks to this when he teaches on the gifts of toungues, which mentioned LAST but seems to be practiced most and with greater emphasis by many. 1 Corinthians 14:20-25, “Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written:
“By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. So then, tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe.
“Therefore if the whole church gathers together and all the people speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are insane? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.“)
Here are more detailed descriptions and functions of these Gifts.
Apostle: The title apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos which means “a messenger, one sent forth with orders”. It refers to one who has been delegated authority by another in a foreign land. Apostles were the first leaders of the Church; they were commissioned by Jesus to initiate and direct the preaching of the gospel. (There is no passage in the Bible saying this gift was temporary nor that is has ceased)
Prophet: In the New Testament, the office of prophet is to equip the saints for the work of service through exhortation, edification, and consolation (1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 14:3 Ephesians 4:11). The prophet’s corresponding gift is prophecy. Prophecy is “reporting something that God spontaneously brings to your mind”.
Prophecy is addressed to the human understanding “he who prophesies speaks to men,” Corinthians 14:1-25. The prophet “edifies the church” (14:4).
Evangelist: An evangelist is one who devotes himself to preaching the gospel. In the New Testament, evangelists preached from city to city, church to church.
Pastor: This term derives from a Greek word for “shepherd”. Pastoral Gifts include integrity and compassion.
(The tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep to defend the sheep from attackers to heal the wounded and sick sheep to find and save lost or trapped sheep to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.
During World War II, a shepherd was a pilot who guided another pilot whose plane was partially disabled back to the base or carrier by flying alongside him to maintain visual contact.)
Teacher: Someone who devotes his or her life to preaching and teaching the Christian faith. When teaching is provided for the Church by God, two gifts are actually given—to the Church is given a teacher and along with the teacher comes a divine capacity to teach.
Service: The word translated as “ministry” is diakonia, which can also be translated “service”. Since there are many types of ministries and service to the Church, this then describes a broad array of gifts rather than a single gift.
Exhortation: The ability to motivate Christians “to patient endurance, brotherly love, and good works”.
Giving: Those with this gift share their own possessions with others with extraordinary generosity. While all Christians should be givers, those possessing this gift will go beyond this normal giving.
Overseeing: This gift speaks to the various roles found in the Church. While many think of roles such as administration, management of funds, strategy planning, etc. as functions outside of the supernatural realm, in reality individuals in these positions are just as in need of supernatural empowerment as are ministers of the gospel. This is sometimes inappropriately called ‘leadership’.
Mercy: Possibly identical to the gift of helps, the mercy-shower possesses a ministry of visitation, prayer, and compassion to the poor and sick.
Word of wisdom: An utterance or message of wisdom supernaturally granted to an individual. For Paul, wisdom refers to “the knowledge of the great Christian mysteries: the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, and the indwelling in the believer of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2; Ephesians 1:17)”.
Word of knowledge: The knowledge referred to is often said to relate to understanding Christian doctrine or scriptural truth. It is sometimes said to be connected with the ministry of teachers.
Faith: This refers to that strong or special faith “which removes mountains, casts out devils (Matthew 17:19–20), and faces the most cruel martyrdom without flinching”. It is distinguished from the “saving” and “normal” Christian faith.
Gifts of healing: The ability to supernaturally minister healing to others. The plural indicates the variety of sickness healed and the many forms the gift takes, such as healing by anointing with oil, by the laying on of hands, by saying the name of Jesus or by the sign of the cross.
Working of miracles: The performance of deeds beyond ordinary human ability by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Visions. An outpouring of this gift is prophesied in Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 and is expected to increase and be of great value in the “last days”.
Discerning of spirits: The capacity to discern, distinguish, or to discriminate the source of a spiritual manifestation—whether it emanates from a good or evil spirit. It seemed to have been particularly associated with prophecy as it would be necessary to know whether a prophetic utterance was truly inspired by God.
Tongues: The supernatural ability of speaking an unlearned language. Paul seems to have distinguished between the public use of the gift (which must always be interpreted) and the private use which was for the spiritual strengthening of oneself.
(Among Christians there is a discussion as to whether tongues were/are always xenoglossy, which is speaking an unlearned human language, or whether it also included/includes glossolalia, which is speaking an unlearned and allegedly non-human language of heavenly or angelic origin).
Interpretation of tongues: This gift always follows the public exercise of the gift of tongues.
(In 1 Corinthians 14, the Apostle Paul required that all speech in Christian worship should be intelligible. This required that speech given in an unknown tongue be interpreted in the common language of the gathered Christians.)
Helps: This gift has to do with service to the sick and the poor. Possessor of this gift has a “spiritual burden and a God-given love for the needy and afflicted”.
Administration: Also called the gift of governing, the Greek word translated “governments” is kubernesis, the verb form of which means “to steer” or “to be a helmsman”. This gift then refers to the God-given capacity to oversee or guide the Church through storms and difficult seas.
(NOTE: Many versions of the Bible and many theologians and bible teachers say the word “leader” or “leadership” is a Spiritual gift. That is a misunderstanding of the correct word and intention of the word “overseer”. )
Now, to answer the question, “Are Spiritual Gifts still valid today?” The answer is YES. These supernatural graces, are given to individual Christians by the Holy Spirit with the purpose of building up the Body of Christ which is The Church and are needed to fulfill the mission of the Church. Spiritual Gifts enable Christians to serve the Lord and His Church.
I pray that you will consider the Gifts God has given you and how you can serve His Church and affect the world around you as we make ready for His return.
There are many places you can find and take a Spiritual Gifts test for the purpose of applying what God has so graciously and generously given you. Here are just two of such web sites:
In His Service – Your Friend and Brother