Finding the things that you’re good at in life is one of the most exciting realizations that anyone can have. If you’re a great musician, discovering your love and ability for music can open up a whole new world to you. If you’re blessed with world-class athletic abilities, there are doors that open in your life that go beyond comprehension. However, understanding your spiritual gifting is one of the most powerful things that you’ll ever experience.
Have you ever wondered what you’re here for? If so, you’re in the majority. At one point or another, all of us have wondered what our purpose is. One of the most important aspects to finding your purpose is based on identifying your spiritual gifts. All of us have something that we’re good at. When God created you, He did so with certain skills, abilities, and aptitudes that are a key component of what you are. Identifying those gifts, embracing them, and beginning to use them for the glory of God is one of the most exciting aspects of being a disciple of Christ.
There are several ways that you can go about identifying your spiritual gifts. Many churches have started using standardized tests that have been created by Christian psychologists. These tests allow you to answer some objective questions before using those answers to identify your spiritual gifting. In addition to those tests, you can actually find some reliable tests online that can at least point you in the right direction. Obviously, the most effective way to determine your spiritual gifting is found in diligent prayer and study. When you spend time studying God’s Word and asking the Holy Spirit to help guide you and direct you into finding and embracing your gifts. Additionally, speaking to your pastor or another Christian leader who you know, and trust can help you uncover some aspects of your purpose.
Discovering your spiritual gift can go a long way in helping you discover your God-given purpose. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re here for, today’s study may be a good place to start. Obviously, the process of finding and embracing your gift (or gifts) goes far beyond what we would be able to cover in a single day, but when you know what spiritual gifts are and how to identify them in your own life, you can take the first steps to fulfilling God’s perfect design for your life.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (ESV)
For to one is given through the Spirit of the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kind of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
In order to understand what your spiritual gifting is, we’re going to look at each of these gifts individually. However, before we do that, we want to clear up one possible misconception. Paul cleared up the need for envy or discord caused by these gifts at the end of verse 11. All of the gifts that we’re going to study come from the same Spirit, and He apportions them to each believer as He wills. No gift is superior to another, and therefore, no person who possesses one gift is superior. In order to understand these gifts, let’s look at each of them on their own.
The Utterance of Wisdom
The first gift that Paul discusses in his listing of the spiritual gifts is the utterance of wisdom. There is a difference in being intelligent and being wise, and it’s certainly true that neither one of those options is more important than the other. However, Paul said that wisdom, and being able to impart that wisdom to others is a spiritual gift.
If you are gifted with the ability to provide wisdom to others, it means that you’re going to spend some time actively listening to other people. In turn, it means that the advice that you provide isn’t based on your personal opinions, but instead, you advise them to do the things that God would want them to do.
The Utterance of Knowledge
It may seem like the utterance of knowledge is just another way of saying the utterance of wisdom, but that’s simply not the case. Sharing wisdom with people is a form of sharing advice about a given situation and how to wisely handle it. Conversely, sharing knowledge with someone is the ability to quickly share information about a certain situation. Instead of advice, which could include personal experiences and other things, knowledge is about sharing facts.
The utterance of knowledge is closely tied to how much time you spend reading and studying Scripture. Being able to provide knowledge that the Spirit wants us to share means being able provide Scriptural insight into any situation.
It may seem like an odd statement, but faith is a gift from God. The Bible teaches us several times that faith is the key to seeing God to incredible things in our lives, However, it’s important that we allow our faith to override our logic. If you’re going to have the kind of faith that it takes to see God do the impossible in your life, you need the gift of faith. People who possess this gift believe that God is able to do things that defy all logic.
The New Testament is full of stories of people who believed in Christ miraculously healing people. Peter, John, and Paul all have stories recorded in Scripture where they interacted with people who were sick, crippled, or suffering and healed them. There are also stories about Christians today serving as a catalyst of healing. Obviously, we know that God is the only source of healing, but His people can possess this gift, and they serve as a catalyst.
The Working of Miracles
The working of miracles may be one of the most misunderstood spiritual gifts. Obviously, there are times where someone who possesses the gift of healing lays hands on a sick person, prays for them, and the sick person is healed. That’s a miracle. However, there are other ways that you can be a miracle in someone’s life. For instance, if you are so in tune with the Holy Spirit that you can obey when He urges you to do something, you may be the miracle that someone needs. For example, if the Holy Spirit tells you to take a bag of groceries to a person’s house, that may be a miracle for someone who doesn’t know where their next meal is going to come from.
The gift of prophecy is one of the oldest spiritual gifts discussed in Scripture. Men and women who possessed this gift in the Bible were able to tell others about an event that was going to happen that hadn’t happened yet. God still empowers His people with this gift today.
The Ability to Distinguish Between Spirits
Also referred to as the gift of discernment, being able to distinguish between spirits is another gift of wisdom. It means that you can look at something or someone and determine if they are operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit or the influence of the evil one.
Various Tongues/Interpretation of Tongues
Finally, these two gifts are the most misunderstood of those discussed in the New Testament. The Bible is clear that there are different types of tongues. In some cases, this refers to people miraculously being able to minister to people in a language that they’ve never learned before. In other cases, it is a Heavenly language that is prompted by the Holy Spirit. In addition to people being able to speak in these various tongues, others have the miraculous ability to interpret it.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to recognize my spiritual gifts. I know that You have given me certain abilities, and I want to use them to expand Your Kingdom. In Christ’s name, Amen.