I am what you would call a gift giver. I love paying attention to the details of someone’s life and crafting the perfect gift for them. I enjoy giving gifts because they can make a person feel special, seen, and loved.
Now imagine if I hypothetically worked tirelessly on constructing a practical gift that I know my friend will love and use. I take the plain package box and wrap it with premium wrapping paper. And to top it all off, I tie a double bow with a gold ribbon.
I give this gift to my friend, and she loves it! She raves about how elegant the gift wrapping is, but then she says,
“it’s just too pretty to open up.”
She proceeds to lay the gift on her counter for anyone who enters her home to see.
My intention for giving the gift was for her to open the present and use what was inside.
This is an extreme example, but this is how many people treat the Lord in the area of spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts were intended to be received, utilized, and developed for the betterment of the Body of Christ. But instead, we often don’t know we possess gifts, so we don’t use them or grow in our spiritual gifts.
An unwrapped spiritual gift doesn’t fulfill its purpose, and the rest of the body can suffer from it.
What are spiritual gifts?
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4 NLT)
Spiritual gifts are special abilities given and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We would not consider natural talents to be spiritual gifts because you can operate in them apart from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts, however, need the Holy Spirit to be operative in a believer’s life.
The Bible has categorized spiritual gifts into three distinct groups; ministry gifts, manifestation gifts, and motivational gifts.
Ministry Gifts: (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Manifestation Gifts: (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
- Word of Wisdom
- Word of Knowledge
- Gifts of Healing
- Discerning of Spirits
- Interpretation of Tongues
Motivational Gifts: (Romans 12:6-8)
These gifts are graciously given to believers to build up, encourage, and comfort the church. The Holy Spirit does not give us these gifts for self-gratification, but rather that we would serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
How to Identify Your Spiritual Gifts
Knowing all the spiritual gifts is one thing, but it’s an entirely different thing to identify your spiritual gift. I believe it’s important to know the gifts we possess so we can intentionally use them to serve one another. We operate as ineffective Christians when we don’t know our giftings and their purposes.
To avoid this, here are four ways we can begin to identify our gifts:
- Prayer– The quickest way to determine what gifts you possess is to go directly to the Giver of the gifts. When you pray, ask the Lord to reveal what gifts he has placed in you. I believe he will honor that request (James 1:5).
- Examine Your Life– Take a moment to take inventory of what you do that would point to any of the gifts listed above. You may already be operating in your gift but may not have considered it a gift.
- Ask Trusted Friends and Family– The people closest to us are great resources to help us identify our giftings. We all have blind spots, and the people the Lord has placed in our lives can see what we can’t see.
- Take A Spiritual Gifts Test– Taking a spiritual gifts test is a great way to identify what gifts you possess. They are not 100% accurate, but they can give you insight based on your common behaviors.
How to Grow In Your Spiritual Gift
Once you determine your spiritual gifts, it is then time for you to start using them. I would encourage you to seek out ways to use your gifts, whether in your home, church, job or local community. One of the main ways we grow in our spiritual gifts is by practicing them. We want to intentionally cultivate our gifts so they will begin to grow.
Like an athlete that puts herself in training to develop her giftings, we also are to put ourselves in environments that will allow our gifts to be utilized and developed. If you prophesy, put yourself in prophetic environments to exercise that gift. The more you practice, the greater your capacity will be to operate within that gift.
Unwrap The Gift
Spiritual gifts have been given to us to build up the Body of Christ. Every believer who has the Holy Spirit living inside them has at least one gift. I pray that you would receive the gift(s), utilize them, and begin to grow in them. What good is a gift that has never been opened? Unwrap your spiritual gift, put it to use, and glorify our Father in heaven.
- From the list of spiritual gifts found above, which three gifts do you most identify with? Present these gifts to a friend or family member and see if they agree with the gifts you chose.
- Would you say you “flow freely” in your spiritual gifts? If not, what holds you back from working with your gifts in a greater capacity?
- Where are three environments you can go to practice your spiritual gifts?