Spiritual Gifts

The descriptions of the gifts written here are directly from the materials we are using for the conference on April 21. I have typed the information here so that you will have the study in its complete state. The Spiritual Gifts Assessment referenced is one found at the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) website Spiritual Gifts Assessment.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all."

How many of you have a spiritual gift? Every member of the Church - the body of Christ - has at least one spiritual gift. God gives these gifts to His children so that we can carry out the work He has called us to do. If you do not think you have a spiritual gift, perhaps you misunderstand the word 'spiritual'. In the world of religion today some think of 'spiritual' as being a new age thing, or spiritual gifts to be something that they only have at the charismatic churches.

Where does the word Charismatic come from? It is from the Greek 'charis' and 'charisma'... which mean 'divine influence on the heart' or 'divine gift'. When each of us becomes a Christian, we are given at least one spiritual gift. It is through this gift that God uses you to proclaim His Word and increase His Kingdom.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives us the Great commission - our job as Christians. "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." We have two tasks as Christians. One is to share God's message with the world - in word and deed. The other is to encourage and edify each other - our sisters and brothers in Christ. Spiritual gifts have been given to us for those purposes. Paul stresses the practical nature of the gifts in his letters. 1 Corinthians 12:7, "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal."

Many of the gifts are similar, but are used differently. Take for example the gifts of Evangelism and Pastoring. Evangelists and Pastors both preach God's Word (prophesy). However, the evangelist is gifted to speak to the world. The pastor/shepherd is gifted to speak to and lead his flock. The gift of prophecy is an integral part of their other gifts. They have a special ability to interpret scripture, apply it and present it in a public setting to meet the needs of the people who hear. For the evangelist, his gift helps bring people to faith in Christ. For the pastor, his gift helps to build up the church and its members.

Prophesy; there's another of those words. We hear 'prophecy' and think of fortune telling or 'seers'. Prophecy may point to some future event. However, a prophet is one who speaks forth God's Word. The Old Testament prophets pointed toward the Christ, bringing hope to the people. The New Testament prophets pointed to Jesus Christ. Those who prophesy today also speak God's Word, which points directly at Jesus Christ as the Saviour.

All Christians may be called upon to prophesy - to speak forth God's Word. He will fill your mouth with His Word, which He will use for His glory. You may be in a situation with a neighbour or family member when God gives you the words to say to bring them to faith. The same can be said about all the gifts. Though you may not have a certain gift, God may put you in a position to prophesy, serve, teach, encourage, contribute, lead or be merciful. You can't use your lack of a gift as an excuse for not doing a task God is calling you to do. He will provide what you need as you need it in every instance.

Does having a gift mean you have been called to that job or 'office'? In other words, if you do the spiritual assessment, and discover you have the gift of evangelism, does that mean you should quit your job and become a TV evangelist or move to Bora Bora to do missionary work?

The answer is NO. A gift does not necessarily mean you are called to that office. God uses the gifts outside the offices. God uses people in every line of work to accomplish His purpose. He may use someone and their gift of evangelism in their job as an accountant, teacher or mother. God may use someone with the gift of pastoring in some other position in the church, such as small group leader or youth minister.

If you are called to an office, you will have been given that gift. A person called to ordained pastoral ministry will have the gift of pastoring. A person called to be an evangelist will have the gift of evangelism.

So far, we have discussed three different gifts - prophecy, pastoring and evangelism - which are often related. The list of gifts is seemingly endless. From service, hospitality and giving to administration, leadership and organization; from miraculous gifts such as tongues and healing to practical gifts like teaching and helps; God provides His church with everything necessary to accomplish His work. I have studied the gifts for some time now, and I have yet to find a complete, exhaustive list of the gifts.

As we look at specific spiritual gifts, listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you about your own gifts, but also your sisters in Christ. If you hear the description of a gift and think, "That sounds like Bonnie," make a note of that thought. One step in discovering our spiritual gifts is to receive confirmation from others. Bonnie may discover that she is gifted in that way and God will use you to confirm it for her.

For this study, we will focus on two specific passages of scripture from Paul (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and on the gifts found in the Spiritual Gifts Assessment.

We read about the motivational or ministry gifts in Romans 12:6-8, "And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." Every Christian is given at least one of these gifts in some measure.

Let's look at the meaning of these seven gifts. This section will also discuss any gifts related to the seven.

Prophecy - This is a special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to interpret Scripture (God's Word, revelation) correctly and to apply it, in a public setting, to the needs of men in a given situation; to speak words that touch people's hearts and make God's will forcefully clear; to proclaim, preach or interpret the Word; to receive and communicate direct and specific messages from God.
    A person with this gift may: like to proclaim God's Word to other Christians; enjoy speaking to groups in public; enjoy relating God's Word to the issues of the day; realize a need to speak God's truth even if it irritates others or the establishment; appreciate studying God's Word.
    Needed in the church for: preachers; worship leaders; writers of curricula, books, articles, devotions; film makers, drama authors; Sunday school teachers; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11; Luke 4:14-21; Acts 11:27-30, 21:10-14.
Related Gifts:

Pastor - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to assume a personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers; to shepherd, counsel, and encourage believers and to give them food from God's Word, to feed by teaching; to nurture others in truth; to equip the saints.
    A person with this gift may: enjoy having the responsibilities of leading others in their spiritual life; be excited about providing spiritual leadership; like to assist people with their spiritual problems; discover that people like to bring their troubles and concerns to them because they feel he cares; be able to give himself sacrificially, for young or straying Christians; is willing to pour his life into his people; know people intimately and may be known intimately by them; help Christians by guiding them to relevant portions of the Bible and by praying with them; be willing to try to restore people who have wandered away from the Christian community.
    Needed in the church for: shepherds; sponsors; counselors; teachers; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Ephesians 4:11, John 10:10-19; John 21:15-17; 1 Peter 5:1-3.

Evangelist - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to share the Gospel with unbelievers in such a way that the unbeliever becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ and a responsible member of the body of Christ; one who enjoys going where people are as opposed to in the church.
    A person with this gift may: joyfully speak to others about Jesus Christ; seem to know when a person is ready to respond to Jesus Christ; feel a strong burden or compulsion to speak to individuals about their need for Christ; share happily how Christ has brought him to Him; be able to explain clearly the meaning that Jesus is Saviour; continually seek out unbelievers in order to win them to Christ.
    Needed in the church for: calling on visitors in church; neighbourhood witnessing; distributing tracts; serve on Evangelism committee; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Ephesians 4:11; Acts 8:1-8, 26-40, 21:8.

Apostle - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to exercise leadership over a number of churches and to proclaim the message and meaning of the Gospel among them; one sent by the church to another place to proclaim the Word of God; ability to begin a new work for the Lord through the ministry of the Word; one preaching the Gospel where others have not worked.
    A person with this gift may: discover people follow him without much resistance; have little fear in leading people; enjoy training others; feel a sense of authority when relating to other Christians; enjoy proclaiming the Gospel on new grounds; discover other Christians seem willing to do what he says without asking many questions; enjoy being sent out by the church to start a church or work for the Lord; one who is willing to adapt to another culture and/or circumstances to win others to Christ; adapt easily to other cultures; learn other languages easily and well; relate well to people of another race, language, or culture; enjoy life in a foreign country.
    Needed in the church for: foreign missionaries; Hispanic ministry; begin a new work no one else has attempted; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples: 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; Acts 13:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:11.

Missionary - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the body of Christ to minister whatever other spiritual gifts they have in a second culture; to see others come to know Christ.
    A person with this gift may: live within the patterns of the culture to which he is sent; preaching and making disciples; encouraging local churches to persevere by teaching and exhortation; appointing elders; sharing in congregational devotional life; itinerant ministry; reports to the sending/supporting church.
    Needed in the church for: social concerns committee; working with other cultures; outreach ministry.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Acts 13:1-3.

Service, Ministry - This is a special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to identify the unmet needs involved in a task and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired goals; a gift to perform a task which benefits others, meets practical needs (physical, mental or spiritual) and brings joy to the one serving.
    A person with this gift may: be willing to pour himself out in the lives of others; be willing to do a task without regard to the cost; enjoy doing "little" or "trivial" jobs around the church; enjoy doing routine tasks in the Lord's kingdom that would bore others; rather do a job than find someone else to do it; enjoy doing special jobs around church; be more willing to take orders than give orders; enjoy it when others express a need for their help.
    Needed in the church for: baby-sitting; office help; maintenance; landscaping; ushers; sewing; altar guild; emergency assistance, transportation, meals; kitchen help; guest book; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10; Acts 6:1-3.
Related gifts:

Hospitality - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to provide an open house and a warm welcome for those in need of food and lodging; entertaining guests in the home, with joy and effectiveness, in such a way that they are strengthened both physically and spiritually.
    A person with this gift may: enjoy having people in their home; enjoy providing food and lodging for those in need; feel comfortable when people drop in unexpectedly; have a knack for making strangers feel at home; really appreciate each individual guest; know people enjoy being in their home.
    Needed in the church for: sponsors for new families; small group hosts; pot-luck hosts; refugee sponsors; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9; Genesis 18:1-8; Genesis 19:1-3.

Helps - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the body, thereby enabling or helping others to increase their effective use of their own spiritual gifts; to free up another person so he can function properly; to see where a helping hand is needed in order to release those gifted with speaking gifts that minister God's Word.
    A person with this gift may: look for opportunities to assist people in their work; enjoy helping with emergency tasks around the church; want to do tasks that free others for their important tasks; like to help other people by bearing their burdens; enjoy the opportunity of helping a family experiencing a serious crisis; like to assist key leaders to free them for their essential job; to usher or clean up at church; to type, file or record figures or minutes; to distribute tracts or Gospel literature; be happy to be a teacher's aide.
    Needed in the church for: teacher aides; baby-sitters; office help; maintenance; ushers; greeters; altar guild; kitchen help; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples -1 Corinthians 12:28; Exodus 21-22; Acts 6:2-6; 2 Timothy 1:16-18.

Teacher - This is a special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to communicate information relevant to the welfare and ministry of the church and its members in such a way that others will learn and apply it; to communicate God's Word in such a way to believers that many who hear respond by applying the Word to their lives; the ability to analyze and interpret God's truth and to communicate it clearly and systematically; one who has the ability to explain God's truth so effectively that people are caused to learn.
    A person with this gift may: like to help people discover truths of the Bible; enjoy making difficult Biblical truths understandable to others; find teaching a Bible class very enjoyable; discover people learn from their teaching; enjoy training people to be more effective Christians; be able to communicate Biblical truths to others which produce changes; in knowledge, attitudes, values or conduct.
    Needed in the church for: Sunday school teachers; Bible Study teachers; VBS teachers; Confirmation teachers; trainers; writers; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:7; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:11; Colossians 3:16; Acts 15:35; Acts 18:24-25; Acts 18:26.

Exhortation - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to draw close in a time of need to individuals with comfort, consolation, encouragement, counsel, and prayer in such a way that they feel helped or healed; to rebuke, correct, challenge; to help another by motivating him to action; usually by using the authority of God's Word.
    A person with this gift may: enjoy motivating people; enjoy giving encouragement to people who are discouraged; like to encourage inactive church members to become involved Christians again; discover that perplexed people often come to him for encouragement and comfort; be open to calling on delinquent families; appreciate opportunites to dislodge the complacent and to redirect the wayward to face spiritual reality; like to challenge the apathetic; effectively counsel the perplexed, quality or addicted.
    Needed in the church for: singing; shepherding; caring/sharing groups; cheer visiting at rest homes, shut-ins, the sick; counseling; calling on delinquents; hospital visitation; writing newsletter articles; worship leaders; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 12:8; Acts 4:36-37, 9:26-27, 11:19-26, 15:36-41; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Philippians 4:2; Galations 2:11-14; Jude 3.

Giving - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to contribute ones material goods and financial resources to the work of the Lord to benefit others: to give with liberality and cheerfulness; freely, willingly, with pure motives, so God's work may go forward.
    A person with this gift may: receive great satisfaction in giving money for the Lord's work; enjoy giving generously, even beyond the 10% tithe; feel deeply moved when confronted with an urgent financial need; manage money well in order to give liberally; be willing to maintain a lower standard of living in order to benefit God's work; be able to give sacrificially because he knows God will meet his needs.
    Needed in the church for: contributors who give cheerfully, in spite of what others may or may not give; contributors to special "above and beyond" projects: hunger, refugees, etc.; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 8:8; 1 Chronicles 29:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Philippians 4:15-19; John 12:3-8.

Leadership - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the Church to lead others in various areas of ministry while offering personal concern and care for their growth; to give direction to worthwhile endeavors and or people in such a way that people follow and goals are accomplished to the glory of God.
    A person with this gift may: find great joy in leading people to accomplish group goals; find that other people seem to enjoy following them in doing an important task; know that it is more effective to delegate a task to someone rather than do it themselves; be eager to inspire others to greater involvement in church work; find great satisfaction in having others follow in performing a task; have the ability to persuade others to move toward achieving Biblical objectives; able to influence others; be able to cheer others through difficulty; have the ability to see the overall picture and goals and available resources.
    Needed in the church for: church officers/chairmen; board members; create and opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 12:8; Exodus 18:13-26; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Timothy 3:13-26.

Related gifts:

Administration - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to understand clearly the goals and objectives of a particular unit of the body of Christ and to make, develop and execute plans for the efficient accomplishment of these goals; to manage the affairs of the church; to make plans and decisions, launch projects and give directions to others and to meet the needs of the people.
    A person with this gift may: like to organize people for more effective ministry; find joy in making important decisions; enjoy having responsibility for the achievement of group goals; find great satisfaction in developing effective plans for a church ministry; rather make decisions for a group than persuade them to reach the same decision; be able to delegate responsibility to others; be able to organize ideas, people things and time for effective ministry; be able to lead a group in making decisions together; be able to recruit workers and put them to work.
    Needed in the church for: board/committee members; officers/chairmen; planning council members; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:28; Exodus 18:17-18, 21-22; Acts 6:2-4.

Mercy - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individual people who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems and to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds which reflect Christ's love and alleviate the suffering; to work joyfully with those whom the majority ignores: the deformed, crippled, retarded, sick, aged, mentally ill, imprisoned.
    A person with this gift may: feel great compassion for the problems of others; find great satisfaction in visiting people in retirement homes; find joy in comforting people in difficult situations; enjoy ministering to a person who is sick in the hospital; find special satisfaction in visiting people who are confined to their homes; work happily with persons ignored by others; enjoy aiding the undesevering; be able to speak cheerfully to shut-ins and the imprisoned.
    Needed in the church for: cheer visitors- rest homes, shut-ins, the sick; emergency assistance: transportation, meals; hospital visitation; visitation at Home of Guiding Hands; ministry to the dying; jail visitation; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - Romans 12:8; Luke 10:30-37; Acts 9:36-42.
In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit;  and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues:  but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will." These are the Gifts of the Spirit.

The difference between motivational gifts and gifts of the Spirit is that in the first, God uses our natural abilities to accomplish His work. In the second, God simply works through the physical body of the believer to accomplish the work.

Let's look at the gifts of the Spirit.

Wisdom - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to know the mind of the Holy Spirit in such a way as to receive insight into how given knowledge may best be applied to specific needs arising in the body of Christ; will reflect a certain quality of life; peaceful, gentle, merciful, reasonable, without jealousy or selfishness; will show good character and trustworthiness.
    A person with this gift may: receive new spiritual insights; has the ability to diagnose problem and apply resources to that case; knows how to get to heart of the problem quickly; practical mind; has little difficulty in making decisions; be able to listen in a group with two major viewpoints yet can't reach a decision and come up with a third alternative which makes sense and is adopted.
    Needed in the church for: education committee; teacher; conflict resolution.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:7,8; Genesis 41:16, 37-39; Deuteronomy 34:9; 1 Kings 3:5-28; 2 Peter 3:15-16.

Knowledge - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to have an exceptionally thorough understanding and grasp of the great truths of divine revelation, particularly of the Gospel, usually coupled with the ability to expound them in a clear and convincing manner; an ability to put one's finger on the right word (passage, verse, thought) from God's Word for the need at hand; to perceive and systematize the great facts which God has hidden in His Word; to understand truth that is unknown to my natural means; to know truth by the impression of the Holy Spirit.
    A person with this gift may: be a good Bible student; find it easy to understand and learn difficult truths; have a clear understanding of Biblical doctrines; be excited at the opportunity to read, study and investigate a difficult book of the Bible; find it easy to discover new truths; have insights of truth which brings conviction to other Christians; enjoy acquiring and mastering new facts and principles of Bible truth; enjoy studying and reading the Bible; be able to distinguish key and important facts of Scripture.
    Needed in the church for: Bible scholars; lead Bible studies; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:8; Matthew 16:14-17; 2 Samuel 12:1-14; Luke 2:23-35.

Faith - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to demonstrate a heroic, unwavering trust and confidence in the power of God to reveal Himself in extraordinary deeds that may seem impossible to humankind; to see beyond the obstacles or apparent difficulties with confidence that God is going to perform the impossible; trusting God in difficult circumstances; a vision to see something that God wants done; trust God through believing prayer (a ministry of prayer).
    A person with this gift may: be ready to try the impossible because he has great trust in God; be ready to move forward when things seem impossible; be ready to believe God will lead through even when others feel it is impossible; be viewed by others as one who believes everything is possible; find it enjoyable to give people a positive when they are discouraged; generally be more excited about the future than the past; trust in the presence and power of God; feel sure he knows God's specific will for the growth of His work.
    Needed in the church for: a ministry of prayer; planning council/committees; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:9; Acts 6:5, 8-25, 7:54-60; Hebrews 11.

Healing - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to cure illness and restore health apart from the use of natural means; a gift to heal the physically, emotionally or spiritually sick; to bring about healing, either by direct command or touch.
    A person with this gift may: cure illness, in the name of Jesus; heal someone of an emotional illness, in the name of Jesus; treat someone who is spiritually ill, in the name of Jesus; have seen people healed as a result of his prayers; have heard some people testify that he has been involved in their healing process; have prayed for others in such a way that healing occurs; have effectively helped those who are feeble minded.
    Needed in the church for: counselors; spiritual directors; prayer ministry; healing ministry; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 3:6-8; Acts 9:33-34; Acts 8:6-8; Acts 28:2-9.

Miracles - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to perform powerful acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature; to perform acts contrary to natural laws, with power beyond human capacity; to perform supernatural acts which authenticate the message of salvation to the listener.
    A person with this gift may: cast out demons, in the name of the Lord; discover that God has worked through him to do humanly impossible things; discover that God used him in a supernatural way to change the lives of people; have been able, in the name of the Lord, to recover the sight for the blind; have discovered many things that God has intervened to do impossible things in his life.
    Needed in the church for: healing ministry; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples: 1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 3:1-12; Exodus 7-12, 14-17; 1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 5:6.

Prophecy - We have discussed this gift under the motivation/ministry gifts, however it is seen in a slightly different context here. Since the gifts of the Spirit are those in which God works through the physical body of the believer to accomplish His work, then this gift of prophecy will be one where the believer is speaking things which they have no way of knowing except by the Spirit, such as the foretelling of future events.

Discernment - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to know with assurance whether certain behaviors or words purported to be of God is in reality divine, demonic, psychological or artificial; to perceive and evaluate what was said and done whether it was of God or Satan; to distinguish between spiritual truth and error; to see through a phony before his phoniness is clear; to discern a man's spirit.
    A person with this gift may: find it easy to perceive whether a person is honest/dishonest; seem to know very quickly whether something is right/wrong; easily perceive the difference between truth/error; judge well between the truthfulness and error of a given theological statement; seek the motives of a person and look beneath the words; judge well between what is poor and what is good; be able to recognize what spiritual gift another Christian has or does not have; see through a phony before his phoniness is clearly evident.
    Needed in the church for: critique sermons; newsletter editor; review appeals from charities; review welfare applications; review appeals from transients; create an opportunity or ministry for your gift.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:10; Matthew 16:22-23, 4:1-11; 1 Corinthians 14:29; Acts 16:16-18.

Tongues - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to speak to God in a language they never learned and/or receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance in a language they have never learned.
    A person with this gift may: have spoken in tongues; have worshipped in an unknown language; would feel at ease in a service where strange, unknown languages were spoken; feel attracted to groups where Christians occasionally speak in tongues.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 2:3-4; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 19:1-6.

Interpretation of Tongues - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to make known in the vernacular the message of one who speaks in tongues; to interpret the meaning of a tongue, though the interpreter hasn't learned the language.
    A person with this gift may: have interpreted a message given in tongues; have prayed to interpret tongues; would feel comfortable with the gift of interpretation of tongues; pray that he might interpret if someone begins speaking in tongues.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14.

*** Tongues and interpretation of tongues are interconnected. When God gives tongues to someone in public, He will give the interpretation of those tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28, 33a "If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret: but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God... for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace."

There are several gifts in the spiritual assessment that are not found on either of Paul's lists. Artistry, Music (vocal and instrumental), Skilled Craft and Writing are actually talents that God uses in the church by connecting them to a specific motivational or ministry gift. All our talents are God-given at birth, then He gives us our spiritual gifts at rebirth, when we are baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit. We are born with the ability to play music, write or create, but God adds to that prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, organization or mercy.

Lets look at the gift of music. In itself, making music is not a spiritual gift. However, connected to one of the motivational gifts and making music because a wonderful expression of God's grace. Let's look at this in depth. If your motivational/ministry gift is:

Prophecy - When you sing, God's Word is heard.
Service - You step in with your musical talent to fulfill the needs of the congregation behind the scenes, such as leading the worship committee or ordering new music.
Teaching - You are able to teach others about music or music is an integral part of your teaching style, such as singing with the children during Sunday School.
Exhortation - Your music inspires and encourages the listener.
Giving - The gain you receive from your music goes back into ministry or you give beyond expectation through your music.
Organization - You can act as choir director because you are able to organize the music programme at your church.
Mercy - You are able to alleviate suffering and pain through your gift of music, such as singing at funerals.
The final gift is intercession.
Intercession - A special gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain members of the church to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.
    A person with this gift may: will pray for other persons; will ask for physical healing; be able to pray with thanksgiving and praise; be able to pray for protection from spiritual harm; be able to pray for unity with others and the church; to the Spirit to intercede in the prayers for others; to have a full knowledge of God and a Christ-like walk; to see and experience the fruitfulness of their prayers.
    Needed in the church for: worship; prayer chain.
    Scriptural examples - 1 Samuel 1:9-18; Acts 12:1-7; James 5:17-18.
I have a question. If we have not been given a specific gift, does that give us a reason not to do that task? Take for instance Intercession. If you have not been given the gift of intercession, does that excuse you from prayer? Or giving. If you have not been given the gift of giving, does that excuse you from giving financially to the church? Of course not. We are still called to pray and give, help and evangelize (witness), even though we have not been given those gifts. Those with these gifts have been given the supernatural ability, by God's power, to go above and beyond the duty of living the Christian life.

How do we find our spiritual gifts?

First, BELIEVE. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe that He has given you at least one spiritual gift to further His kingdom. We worship the One, True and Living God, who is so awesome that He can do anything and everything. Yet, in His love, mercy and grace, He has chosen you for a special purpose. Believe that, and seek to know what it is. How do we seek God?

PRAY. Pray that the Lord will show you His special purpose and make you aware of the gifts He has given you to accomplish that purpose. You can't do this in some quick prayer on a whim. It takes a disciplined prayer life, a daily habit of spending time with the Lord, talking to Him and listening to His voice. When you get a phone call from someone that you do not know, it is difficult to recognize the voice. When you get a call from a friend who you talk to regularly, you immediately know who is on the other end of the line. The same is true with our communication with God. The more we talk to Him and listen to Him, the more confident we are that the words we hear are from Him.

What do we do with the Word that we hear? Explore the possibilities. You've heard a brief summary of many spiritual gifts. As you discover your own spiritual gifts, you will need to have a deeper understanding of those specific gifts. There are many books available that will help you with your search. 19 Gifts of the Spirit by Leslie B. Flynn and In Touch Study Series - Ministering Through Spiritual Gifts by Charles Stanley are excellent resources to read and study the gifts more in depth. Turn to the Bible for Biblical examples of the different gifts. Read the scriptural references provided in this study and look for other examples during your own personal Bible Study.
    Do other spiritual gifts assessments. It is useful to repeat the process several times, when you are in different states of mind. Suppose you've had a particularly bad day; the kids are fighting, you missed the opportunity to witness to a neighbour and you blew up at your spouse in anger. If you took the assessment on that day, you might rate yourself lower on some points than is actually true. When you have had a particularly good day, your son said a faith filled prayer or a friend came to you with questions about Jesus, you may rate yourself higher than usual. By taking the assessment numerous times, you'll get a more balanced assessment.

This dovetails into the next step, which is to examine your feelings. When you are doing what God has called you to do, using the gifts He has given to you, you will manifest the fruits of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23) It is in a right relationship with God that we can truly know His peace and joy. We live in that right relationship by doing what we are called to do using the gifts God has given to us. If you detest a job - if what you are doing makes you feel anger, hate, bitterness - it is likely that you have not been given that gift. However, be careful about the negative feelings. Do you detest the job because you are afraid of failure or persecution? Do you detest a job because you are doing too many other jobs? Do you detest a job because of pride or arrogance? If any of these are the reason, then ask God to help you overcome these feelings so that you can find the peace and joy in doing God's Work. Try using the gift a few times. If you fail at first, try again. If you are overwhelmed, do a check on your life. Perhaps there is something else you are doing that is holding you back from doing what God is calling you to do. Do you think yourself too good, smart or wealthy to do a task? Humble yourself and be obedient to God.

Expect confirmation. This is where you can help a brother or sister in their journey. Did God speak to you today about one of your friends? Share your thoughts with her and help her to see how she may be gifted in such a way. God will also confirm through His Word during Bible study, experience and emotion. If you do not receive confirmation from others even though you are good at something, you may not have been given that gift.

Experiment with as many gifts as possible. Be open to God's Holy Spirit as you try different tasks around the church. You may just find that God has given you a gift that you have kept hidden. One of the good results of determining what gifts you do not have is that you spend less time doing the wrong things.

Look for things to happen. When you are open to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, the Holy Spirit works. As you function in the church with your gift, you will be more effective in the church. When everyone functions in the church with his or her gift, the church will be more effective. God's plan is perfect. He has given exactly what every church needs to accomplish His work, yet we have not always been obedient about doing God's will in His way. How often do you pray about something that someone has asked you to do? How often do we fill holes with the first person we see rather than seek the person God has gifted to do that job? We are more concerned about doing things our way, then letting God do things His way by the power of His Holy Spirit. God built a body, His body, but we try to put the arms where the feet belong or the ears where the eyes belong. As we each discover our own spiritual gifts, and use them as we should, we will find that the church will be more like a well oiled machine, accomplishing God's purpose. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5, "For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office:  so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another."

Don't forget that the Word and Sacrament continue to be the means by which God strengthens you to use your gifts.

Use your gifts. Ability grows as you put your gift to work. A machine rusts and falls apart if it is not turned on and used regularly. The same is true of our gifts. Paul writes to Timothy, "For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6) The Greek in this verse is likened to stirring up the dying embers of a fire, stirring the sparks to action. Our gifts are there, like a spark, we just have to uncover them.

Discernment is a process, not something that necessarily happens overnight. When we receive His Holy Spirit, He gives us gifts. He also gives us the desire and opportunity to use those gifts. Then the gifts are developed. We may not even realize we are using the gifts in the beginning.

I have always had a desire to write, but I was not very good. When we moved to England, so many of my friends wanted to know what it was like to live there, so I began to share travelogues about our adventures. I often had the opportunity to share my Christian faith in those letters and others. Then I began writing the daily devotional A WORD FOR TODAY. God gave me the gift, desire and opportunity. With each travelogue, letter and devotional, the style of writing has developed into what it is today. The knowledge of knowing that I am doing just what God has called me to do brings such joy and a sense of peace that is beyond human comprehension.

I pray that each of you will take time to consider your own spiritual gifts. When everyone is doing what he or she was created to do, the Church is like a well-oiled machine. It is not working very well in this day because too many Christians are not doing what they are called to do. Where do you begin? Begin with the knowledge that as a child of the Living God, you have what is necessary to do His work. Go do it. All Christians are called to serve Him. Through prayer and experience you will find the sparks within to do exactly what God has called you to do. Be in fellowship with other Christians, because they can help you see more clearly. The spark within will turn into flame and God's light will shine! Not only will the other members of the church benefit from your use of God's gifts, but you will also know His peace and joy. Thanks be to God.
 



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