Are Spiritual Gifts Natural Talents?

Description

It seems that spiritual gifts are ‘supernatural empowerments’ that God gives to people, either through a heightening of a ‘naturally-born gift/talent’ or is conveyed to a person once their spiritual life begins at conversion.

Question

Dear Pastor Lance – I’ve been studying the spiritual gifts in the Bible and started thinking about my own ability to sing and lead in worship. I was born with the ability to sing, yet I consider it a spiritual gift as I use it for the Lord. So, are spiritual gifts merely God using talents He gave us at birth, or are they something new that you get once you get saved? I’m confused.

Answer

Hi, my friend. The reason it’s fuzzy in your mind is because it’s unclear in Scripture and unclear even to theologians.

It seems that spiritual gifts are ‘supernatural empowerments’ that God gives to people either through a heightening of a ‘naturally-born gift/talent’ or is conveyed to a person once their spiritual life begins at conversion (i.e. they realize later after becoming a Christian that they now can do something they never would have been able to do before).

Take your singing and my preaching/teaching gift. Yes, we were born with an unusual capacity to do what we do. However, there is something supernatural that occurs when a spiritual gift is in motion. It’s not just a beautiful song you sing, but people are stirred in a special way toward God. It’s not just a sermon clearly laid out or passionate, but people are impacted toward change by the Holy Spirit.

So, yes, they can be talents that God gave you at birth, super-charged.

Or, they can be something you get later in life as God wants to use you in that area (i.e. tongues, prophecy, leadership, etc.)

I wish it was clearer, too, but this seems to make sense to me from the Biblical record.

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