Spiritual Gifts Q&A
What is a spiritual gift?
Spiritual gifts are special God-given abilities that he gives Christians to use in his service.
John Ortberg writes, "They are divine enablements--special God-given abilities--that he gives to each of his people in order to involve them in the task of advancing his purposes. Simply put, God has made you a specialist in some area of ministry."
Does everyone have spiritual gifts?
Every Christian who is guided by the Spirit has spiritual gifts. Paul writes, "However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ" (Ephesians 4:7). And, in another place he writes, "I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus ... Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:4, 7).
Why are spiritual gifts important?
The Church is a body. And you, as a believer, are a member of that body. Without you, the body is not complete. Spiritual gifts come from God and they are designed to meet specific needs within the body. They are the veins, fibers, tissues, muscles and nerves through which God accomplishes his work. Spiritual gifts are important because of what God's can do in and through you by means of the gifts he has given you.
"Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church" (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
Can I choose my spiritual gifts?
That would be interesting! No. Thankfully, the Spirit is in charge of the distribution. "It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have" (1 Corinthians 12:11).
How are spiritual gifts discovered?
Like many things in life, they are discovered when they are put into effect. If you want to discover your gifts, connect to a church. Gifts only matter when they're used to build up the body. Ask God to reveal your gifts to you and to guide you to places where they will be best utilized. Jump in and explore opportunities.
Last, but not least, look for the fruit of your current ministry involvement. The Bible lists the kinds of outcomes we should see in Galatians 5:22-23: "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
How many spiritual gifts do I have?
There is no magic number. Some Christians have several. Others may have one or two. The main thing to realize is that you have the gifts God wants you to have. You don't have to have all of them. Right now, you may only have identified one gift. That's fine. Serve. You'll grow as you go. As you serve, faithfully using your gift, you may realize that God has gifted you in additional areas of which you weren't aware. The main thing is that you realize, whatever your gifts may be, that you are needed.
How can I have a spiritual impact?
You can have a spiritual impact in the lives of the people God brings into your life by being available and faithful, humbly and consistently using the gifts God has given you for his glory. Work at it. Commit to it. And, watch what God does through (and in) you. "I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:6-7).