Spiritual Gifts

Ephesians 4:  4 – 16; Romans 12: 3 – 8; I Corinthians 12

About Spiritual Gifts – The Nature and Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

Every believer has one or more spiritual gifts.  There are a variety of gifts so the possible number of unique combinations is immense.   Gifts vary in nature, combination, extent and intensity.  As rule, spiritual gifts also develop gradually, this requires time and work.

God gives us spiritual gifts to benefit, edify and build the body of Christ.  Spiritual gifts are never given for self-glory.  Gifts are given “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”  I Peter 4: 11

God, in His grace and sovereignty, distributes spiritual gifts to every member of the body of Christ as He wills.  No one person possesses all the gifts.  Each part of the body of Christ depends on the rest for its well-being.  There are no useless body parts.  We cannot function independently or enjoy spiritual vitality in a relational vacuum.  The most obscure part of the body is as vital as the most prominent part.  Every part is essential for the body to function fully.  Spiritual gifts should never be a cause for pride or for envy.  I Corinthians 12: 11 

Spiritual gifts are not natural talents.  In some cases spiritual gifts do coincide with a natural ability.  Spiritual gifts transcend natural ability.  Both natural talents and spiritual gifts are given to us by God and should be developed and used to glorify God.

Spiritual Gifts are not the same as the gift of the Spirit.  The gift of the Spirit has been given to all believers and we are commanded to walk in the power of the Spirit.  (John 14: 16, Acts 2: 38).  The gifts are distributed “to each one individually as He wills.”  I Corinthians 12: 11

Possessing and exercising spiritual gifts are not an indication of spiritual vitality.  The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) is a much better indicator of the vitality of a believer’s spiritual life.  Galatians 5: 22 – 23.  The fruit of the Spirit is produced from within; the gifts imparted from without.  Fruit of the Spirit relates to Christ-like character; gifts of the Spirit to service.  Spiritual gifts without spiritual fruit are worthless. I Corinthians 13

An individual’s spiritual gifts may be undiscovered or dormant for a long period of time.  Many Christians discover the combination of gifts that they possess through a gradual process.  It is important to try doing a lot of different things.  The more variety of life experiences we have; the easier it is to discover how God has uniquely created and gifted us.  Godly mentors, who can observe you, encourage you, give honest feedback and provide opportunities for you to develop can be vital in self-discovery.  Don’t be too premature in your determination of what combination of gifts you have.  Because of the danger of self-deception (and the desire to have certain gifts), spiritual gifts are best recognized and confirmed by other members of the body.

Not possessing a particular spiritual gift does not mean that I do not need to serve God in a particular way.  As believers we are all called to give, exercise mercy, serve, teach, evangelize, etc…

Why Discover and Develop Your Spiritual Gifts?

There is deep satisfaction in discovering the unique purpose and ministry God has called you to in His body.  There is a sense of fulfillment and joy in being an instrument of the Holy Spirit in serving others in a way that greatly benefits them.

Knowing your spiritual gifts will greatly assist you in affirming the will of God at various stages in your life.  You will better understand your God-given function in the body.  You will be able to make better decisions and you’ll be able to focus your energy more effectively on the things God has equipped you to do well.  Romans 12: 4

Others will benefit and be built up as you exercise your spiritual gifts.  If you fail to use or develop your gift your brothers and sisters in Christ will be hurt because they will be deprived of the unique ministry that only you can perform.  Ephesians 4: 12 - 16

God will be glorified.  As you exercise your spiritual gifts, in conjunction with the power and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified.  I Peter 4: 10 – 11

Questions:

What is one insight about spiritual gifts that you find most helpful to you at this point in your life?

 

What combination of spiritual gifts do you think you have been given by God?

 

How can you continue to discover, develop, exercise and continue discern your spiritual gifts?

 

Permission is granted to use this Bible Study outline for personal study and small groups only. 

Bob Krepps  © 2003 all rights reserved.  Study written by Bob Krepps, Director, Spiritual Formation Division New Mission Systems International

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