Do You Know Your Spiritual Gifts?
Picture this scene for a moment: A man stands in his bedroom. He is packing to go on an adventure at the request of his father. He’s not exactly sure where this adventure will take him, but he trusts his father, and he knows he will need to be prepared. With great care, he folds his clothes and sorts his supplies, choosing only the most important items to place inside his suitcase. Suddenly, there's a figure standing in the doorway. It is the man’s beloved, wise father. The father gives the son a loving glance, then walks over to his son’s suitcase and gently places a small cloth-wrapped package inside.
“What is that?” the son asks.
“It’s a gift. Something to help you on your adventure,” the father says as he flashes a knowing smile.
“But I’m not really sure where I’m going. Are you sure I'll need it?” inquires the son.
“Oh, I’m sure. And I know where you are going,” the father replies as he lovingly pats his son on the shoulder. As he turns to leave the room, the father turns back slightly to glance at his son. Over his shoulder he says, “Just be sure to use it.”
Although it is often difficult to recognize in the midst of our crazy lives, or in the mundane ho hum of day-to-day living, if we are in Christ, we are on an adventure. And like the man in the above narrative, our Father gives us gifts to help us on our journeys. But unlike a physical gift placed in a suitcase, God gives His children spiritual gifts.
What Are Spiritual Gifts?
Simply put, spiritual gifts are abilities given to believers by the Holy Spirit with the intended use of strengthening others in the Church. The purpose of these gifts is to encourage and build up others in their faith until the return of Christ. To quote Pastor John Piper, “They are abilities by which we receive the grace of God and disburse that grace to others.”
Here are a few quick facts about spiritual gifts:
- They are different from natural abilities.
- They are strictly a gift of grace from God and therefore cannot be boasted about.
- They are freely given by God to every believer.
- They cannot be earned or deserved.
- They fall into two categories: word-oriented and deed-oriented.
- Their purpose is to encourage and build up the Church.
- Ultimately, spiritual gifts are intended to more fully display God’s glory.
Why Should You Care About Spiritual Gifts?
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
In some ways, your unique combination of spiritual gifts is like your spiritual fingerprint. God uniquely gifted you to fit into the symphony of the kingdom work that He is orchestrating on earth, and spiritual gifts serve as somewhat obvious clues to show you His will for your life. Knowing your spiritual gifts is not only a sign of spiritual maturity, but it is vital information for carrying out your life’s mission.
Additionally, once you identify your spiritual gifts, you will gain an added sense of confidence that you are in His will as you practice using them to bring Him glory. And the more you practice using your gifts for His glory, the more you will notice your life is making a real kingdom impact!
Looking Inside Your Suitcase
So, going back to our analogy of going on an adventure, God has placed spiritual gifts in your suitcase. And just like the son in the story, we need to look in our spiritual suitcases to discover our gifts, and learn to use them. But the first step is to discover what gifts God actually gave you--and we want to help you do that. We hope that knowing your gifts will prove to be immensely helpful on your adventure as you seek to glorify God with them!
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