Discovering the Spiritual Gifts Part 2
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working,
but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
(1 Corinthians 12:1)
The Holy Spirit offers us supernatural gifts to use so we can demonstrate God's love and power to others. Primarily, they serve to provide proof that Jesus is who He says is. They distinguish Jesus as the only Way, Truth, and Life in contrast to everything and everyone else we put our hope in. Hebrews 2:2-4 describes this in detail;
"This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
In other words, the spiritual gifts are significant because:
a. they testify that salvation and deliverance are found in Jesus and
b. they demonstrate the power of God and that the kingdom of God is for real, plus
c. they enable all of us to play our part, whether we feel ready or not.
The apostle Paul expresses how important it is that we are not ignorant or misinformed about what they are and how they are to be used (1 Corinthians 12:1). In his letters to the infant churches, he goes into detail explaining several of the gifts and he's not ashamed to point out which ones, like prophecy, he thinks will give you more bang for your buck.
So what is the difference between natural talent, learned skill-sets, and supernatural powers? And do they come with a spandex suit?
Making sense of the many
There is no consensus on exactly how many spiritual gifts there are and you will find a number of different lists and explanations available. Some teachers will compile one list of all the gifts mentioned throughout the Bible, while others will collate just the gifts mentioned in the New Testament.
I have found one helpful way to understand the distinction between various types of spiritual gifts is to consider these three categories:
Motivational Gifts: Loosely based on Romans 12:6-10, the motivational gifts are different from acquired skill or training, they are embedded in who we naturally are. They influence our perspective and passions in life and motivate us to minister to others in a particular way.
Manifestation Gifts: The manifestation gifts are supernatural gifts seen when the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through a believer (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The book of Acts is full of accounts of the believers using these gifts as a normal part of the Christian life.
Ministry Gifts: According to Ephesians 4:11-13, the ministry gifts are leadership gifts that God has given to individuals for a specific ministry purpose; “to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.” People with this gift may be called to unique leadership roles or positions within the church to train others to do the work of ministry.
There are several passages in the Bible that refer to spiritual gifts (due to letters written on the same subject to different churches) and they overlap in which gifts they refer to. For example, 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 lists both manifestation gifts and ministry gifts, and includes the gift of guidance or leadership (depending on your translation) which is not referenced elsewhere.
Some gifts are mentioned in more than one list and reflect the different aspects of that gifting. One of these is in the area of prophecy; there is the prophetic gift (motivational), prophesying by the Spirit (manifestation), and the office of a prophet (ministry).
Other ‘giftings' or 'talents’ are mentioned or implied in Scripture that are not categorically stated as being a spiritual gift, but clearly, they are not something everyone possesses. I for one, have the gift of the gab, but definitely not the gift of singing! Here are some other examples:
Hospitality (Hebrews 13:1-2)
Intercession (Ephesians 6:18)
Music & Dance (1 Samuel 16:14-23)
Writing ability (Luke 1:1-3)
Craftsmanship (Exodus 35:34)
Making room for more
Of course, the Holy Spirit can give any spiritual gift He chooses at any time. He isn't limited to a scholastic catalog of spiritual gifts - He can make them up on the spot!
If you have the Holy Spirit, then you have spiritual gifts. If you make yourself available to Him, He will make them available to you if you ask.
This means we can serve and minister in any situation because we already have Him working in and through us to bless others.
"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these." John 14:12
As for the spandex suit - knock yourself out - but sometimes it takes an ordinary person like you and me clothed in humility and filled with the power of the invisible God to do extraordinary things.
* This website is being gradually updated to provide more information on each of the giftings. Follow the current links for each category to learn more or subscribe so you don't miss future additions to this topic.
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