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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Are All Spiritual Gifts Active Today?

Don Stewart :: How Does a Person Discover Their Spiritual Gifts?

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How Does a Person Discover Their Spiritual Gifts?

Are All Spiritual Gifts Active Today? – Question 16

Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has at least one spiritual gift. Some believers have more than one gift. There is no such thing as ungifted believer.

This brings up an important question. How can someone discover his spiritual or her gift or gifts? How do we know which gift that we have? There are a number of things that should be put into practice to discover our gifts.

There Is No Set Formula

We must note that the Bible does not give us any formula for finding out what the spiritual gifts might be, yet there are certain things we can do. They are as follows.

We Must Find Out the Gifts That Are Available

First, one must find out what spiritual gifts are available. There are four passages of Scripture that lists the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-11,28-30; Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:7-12).

These passages should be read and studied to find out which gifts are available for us. In addition, we should know what is the meaning and purpose of each of the gifts.

Observe Fellow Believers

Part of the process in finding out what particular gifts we may have is studying other believers and their use of the gifts. By watching how others use and develop their gifts it can help us with our own discovery and development of the spiritual gifts which God has given to us.

Therefore, the first thing after discovering what gifts are available is to study both the Word of God and the people of God. This is primary.

A Person Should Pray for Guidance

Once the believer recognizes what gifts are available, and how they are used to build up the church, they should then pray for God to show them their particular gift or gifts. The Bible encourages us to pray for guidance. Jesus emphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount. He said.

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7, 8 NRSV).

We should ask God for guidance in our prayers. Furthermore, we are to repeatedly ask God for His guidance.

James put it simply; we don’t have because we don’t ask. He wrote.

You do not have, because you do not ask (James 4:2 NRSV).

To have, we must ask.

Paul emphasized the need of constant prayer when he wrote to the Philippians. In fact, he stated it simply.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV).

Paul says worry about nothing; pray about everything. This is a crucial concept to learn. Thus, we should not worry about discovering what our spiritual gift is. Instead, we should commit the issue to prayer. We keep on praying until we receive the answer.

In addition, we should also thank God for the gift that He has given to us. Part of our prayers to the Lord should include thanksgiving.

We Should Ask for God-Given Desires

One of the ways we may discover our spiritual gift is by the desire we find in our own heart. First, we should know what gifts are available and we should have prayed about which one, or ones, we may have.

Next, we should ask the Lord to put the desire in our heart to discover our own particular gift and then learn how to use it for His glory. The Bible says

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you (Psalm 37:4, 5 NLT).

The desires of our heart are actually the things that the Lord puts there – they are God-given desires not our own selfish desires. We discover these God-given desires by prayer, confession of sin, studying and meditating on God’s Word, and finally submitting to His will. There is nothing wrong with having and understanding our God-given desires.

In fact, Paul wrote to Timothy about those who desire the ability to exercise leadership in the church. He said.

The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1 NRSV)

The key is for our desires to be His God-given desires.

We Should Step Out in Faith

The next step is to exercise the gift that we believe God has given to us. This is accomplished by exercising faith. The Bible says.

So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6 NLT).

It is not enough that we realize that we have a spiritual gift; we must exercise it. Indeed, the gifts of God have been given to be used.

We Should Get Feedback from Others

Once we start exercising our gifts, we should get feedback from others to see if we are building up the body of Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church (1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT).

In exercising his or her spiritual gifts, the believer should realize that they have at least one spiritual gift and may have more than one. However, none of us possesses all of the gifts. Again we must realize that each gift is essential to the smooth functioning of the body of Christ.

This is where the feedback from others is most important. While we may desire a certain gift and may even think that we have it, the real test will be the opinion of others. Do mature Christians testify that we have the gift or are we just fooling ourselves? We need to ask these questions. Our hearts can deceive us. Jeremiah wrote.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV).

Therefore, it is essential to get the opinion of mature believers as to the presence or absence of a certain spiritual gift in our life.

Talk to the Elders of the Church

One of the responsibilities of a church elder is to look after the spiritual needs of those in the particular assembly of believers. They would be the natural starting place to ask about a spiritual gift. The elders were supposed to judge spiritual gifts. We read.

Let two or three prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said (1 Corinthians 14:29 NLT).

Consequently, we should not be premature in assuming we have a certain gift unless it is confirmed by others.

We Must Exercise the Right Gift

However, we must make certain that we are exercising the gift or gifts that God has given us. It is a sad state of affairs when a Christian is spending energy trying to exercise a gift that God has not given them. This is not only energy wasted – it is also energy misdirected. The energy needs to be spent exercising the gift that God has actually given to us.

Always Be Ready to Serve

Therefore we must be available to serve and use the gift that God has given to us. Our attitude should be that of the prophet Isaiah.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV).

This should be our attitude. Indeed, our greatest ability is availability.

Exercising the Right Gift Will Result in Blessing

Finally, when we exercise the God-given spiritual gift that He has entrusted to us, it will result in blessings for everyone. People will be built up, encouraged, and challenged by the proper use of our gifts. Paul wrote.

And I am sure that when I come, Christ will give me a great blessing for you (Romans 15:29 NLT).

As a result of using our gifts we ourselves will be blessed of God.

This Does Not Relieve Our Responsibility to Obey Commands

There is something else that must be noted. The lack of a certain gift in a believer’s life does not relieve them from the responsibility to obey the general commands of God.

For example, all of us are told to give part of our income to the work of the ministry. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

On every Lord’s Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once (1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT).

This is true whether or not we have the gift of giving.

Every believer is encouraged to show mercy. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that each of us should be looking to the needs of others.

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV).

This should be done though we may not have the particular spiritual gift of mercy.

Likewise, we are all instructed to evangelize. Indeed, Jesus gave this order to His disciples shortly before ascending into heaven.

But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 NLT).

We are all commanded to spread the good news about Jesus. Yet not every believer possesses the gift of an evangelist.

We Should Never Settle for Anything Less than God’s Best

Whatever gift God has given to us, it is for the profit of the body of Christ. We should discover what gifts we have and then use them. None of us should settle for anything less than the very best that God has intended for us.

Summary – Question 16
How Does a Person Discover Their Spiritual Gifts?

Each believer in Jesus Christ has been given at least one spiritual gift. To discover his or her spiritual gifts the believer should do a number of things. They include the following.

First, we must find out what gifts are available. This can only come about by a thorough study of the passages of Scripture which list the gifts. They are found in 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4, and Romans 12.

Once this occurs, then we should observe how fellow believers use their particular gifts. Watching spiritually mature people exercise their gifts will be of immense help in knowing what gifts we may have as well as how to use them. Next, there should be prayer for God’s guidance to show us what particular gift we may have. We do not have to pray to receive any particular gift instead we should pray that the Lord shows us what gift we have. Our prayer should also be that our desires are in line with the things God desires. In other words, we want His will on the matter.

Then the person should step out in faith and exercise this God-given ability which we believe the Lord has entrusted to us. In doing so, we should get feedback from spiritually mature people as to whether we are exercising the right gifts.

The fact that we have been given certain gifts, and not given other gifts, does not relieve us of our overall responsibility. For example, while there is a gift of giving, all believers are commanded to give. While there is a special gift of showing mercy, all believers are to show mercy.

The key is to do those things which are pleasing to the Lord through the special abilities which He has given to us. Our goal should be to use whatever gift or gifts we have to build up the body of Christ, the church.

When Paul Said, "God's Gifts Were Irrevocable," Was He Speaking about Spiritual Gifts? ← Prior Section
What Are the Benefits of Knowing Your Spiritual Gift? Next Section →
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