READ: 1 Corinthians 12
BACKGROUND: In this chapter, Paul encourages the church at Corinth by helping them to understand that every believer is uniquely gifted by God to play a part in building his Kingdom. This is a part of a larger section (chapters 12-14) that talks about how spiritual gifts should be used to unify the church. And in chapter 12, Paul not only identifies some specific spiritual gifts that believers are given when they put their faith in Jesus, but also talks about how those gifts compliment one another in an amazing way to form one single body of Christ.
THINK: The topic of spiritual gifts is a popular, yet often confusing, one within the church. The Bible makes it explicitly clear that we are all given special gifts when we put our trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts. So we know that we are gifted, and that God intends for us to use our gifts. What we don’t always know is specifically how we are gifted and how God wants us to use our gifts to build his Kingdom. This is where the confusion sets in. I remember taking a spiritual gifts inventory in high school which revealed to me that my greatest spiritual gift was evangelism. Shortly thereafter I went to a conference in Chicago where we actually went out and did evangelism on the street every day. And a bunch of people came back in the evenings with awesome stories about all the people they’d led to Christ. But I didn’t. Over the course of the entire week I led a grand total of ZERO people to faith in Jesus. Turns out that test I took was wrong. 🙂 It’s difficult, if not impossible, to fully address this topic in a single devotional post – books and volumes have been written about the topic – but what I want to do today is very briefly answer 4 big questions about spiritual gifts that I hope will help all of you get started with finding and using yours: 1. What is a spiritual gift? 2. Who gets spiritual gifts? 3. Why does God give spiritual gifts? & 4. How do I identify my spiritual gifts? I could write an entire sermon for each of these, but I’ll keep it simple.
1. What is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is an empowering, by God’s grace, which equips a Christian to meet people’s needs in a transformative way that allows them to experience the living Christ through his church. It is something that God gives us freely, by his power and grace, to equip us to meet a specific need in our community.
2. Who gets spiritual gifts? This is an easy one. Every person who puts their faith in Jesus. Without exception. Every single believer. And there are a lot of different gifts and it’s very likely that most of us have more than one. But we don’t all have the same gifts which means that the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to every believer are uniquely distributed to compliment one another so that every Christ follower has a role to play in serving others and building God’s Kingdom.
3. Why does God give spiritual gifts? So that we can help each other. So that we can serve each other. So that we can love each other. We don’t deserve anything God gives us and we certainly don’t deserve spiritual gifts, but God, in his incredible mercy, invites us in to the amazing work he is doing in the world by uniquely equipping each and every one of us to serve those around us and be a part of what he is doing in their lives. Spiritual gifts are not about us; they aren’t given for selfish reasons. They are given to us so that we can serve.
4. How do I identify my spiritual gifts? Here are the 2 simplest suggestions that I can give you: 1. Don’t confuse gifts with roles or responsibilities. God calls ALL of us to witness. That’s a responsibility and a role that every Christian has. And that means that you don’t get to avoid sharing your faith if you don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism. Always, always, always be who God has called you to be! Always! 2. See where God is tugging at your heart and follow the tug. Don’t get bogged down in trying to identify the specific gift that God has given you and then avoid any type of service that doesn’t fit that to a tee. Start broad, see where God is pulling you – where he is moving your heart – and then find an opportunity to serve others by meeting that need. You’ll discover your gifts as you serve. I realize that seems counter-intuitive – that we’d rather discover our gifts before deciding where to serve – but I honestly believe that the best and most effective way is to serve first and discover as you serve.
Above all else remember this: You are uniquely gifted to make a difference and the church, the world, needs you!
PRAY: Pray that God would help you discern your gifts and find a place to use them by serving others!