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Spiritual Gifts: The Good Stuff

As promised (’cause I like to keep my promises, especially promises of Baskin Robbins that I make to myself), today is the follow-up post to last week’s post, Spiritual Gifts: Who Needs ‘Em?. Turns out, most of you believe in spiritual gifts after all. Yippee. You even believe in the taboo, swept-under-the-rug, crazy, “charismatic” gifts like prophecy. Double yippee.

With that in mind, I thought today I’d just share a little bit about how to actually discover your own gift, if you are so inclined, which you should be ’cause knowing your gift is way cool.

Let us begin.

I’ll start by acknowledging that some people don’t think the label of a spiritual gift is important or necessary. “Pish psoh.” they say, “I’m just going to serve Jesus. No labels needed.”

Well, I certainly agree with this sentiment, insofar as, I don’t think you need the title of a spiritual gift in order to dive in and make waves in the Kingdom…but man, does it help.

Here’s why: Firstly, God wants us to know our gifts. Paul reminds of us of that, remember? Secondly, if God didn’t care one way or the other if we actually used or understood our spiritual gifting, then why bother giving them to us?

I don’t know about your experiences with the Lord, but usually, when He gives me a gift I’m like “Wow, totally awesome, super-cool, thanks Dad! I don’t take the gifts God gives me, thank Him, then proceed to stick them on a shelf to collect dust.

I wanna rip that pretty wrapping paper right open and see what’s inside. And what’s inside is the gift specifically, personally, and intimately chosen by God and distributed by the Holy Spirit for you. You! Suh-weeeet. That is the good stuff.

Okay, now that my rambling portion is over, how’s about I get to the point? How can you discover you own awesome gifting (or help others discovers theirs, as well)?

1. Pray. Seems simple enough, I know, but uh, you know how we can be…forgetting sometimes to start with prayer.

2. Read up. The Bible is pretty stinkin’ clear, in my opinion, on the topic of spiritual gifts, so why not read all that it has to say on the subject. Something might pop out at you. Something might click. Reading the Word combined with #1 has been known to produce some stellar results in the past, after all. Start with 1 Corinthians 12,  and Ephesians 4.

3. Take a spiritual gift test. Okay, yes, these can be a bit corny. I don’t even agree with some of the theology behind certain tests (for example, I don’t think “music” or “worship” is a spiritual gift. It ain’t listed in the Bible, so why add it?), but they can point you in the right direction. If, for instance, you are debating between a few gifts possibly being yours, a gift test can help narrow down the possibilities. Here’s one I have used in the past.

4. Ask questions…of yourself. Look, you can be honest with me. I know you already talk to yourself, in the mirror, with a hairbrush as a microphone, oh wait, that’s just me…uh….Well, ask yourself questions anyway. Here are a few great questions to help determine your spiritual gifting:

  • What motivates you in the Kingdom?
  • What most frustrates you in the Church?
  • What do you most love about the Church?
  • When do you feel most connected or in-tune with the Lord?
  • When have you felt most fulfilled in doing ministry?

These questions are simple, but they help shed light on why we do what we do-which leads to us understanding our gifting. Let me just say also that I  believe in the difference between “manifestation gifts” i.e. tongues, prophecy, words of knowledge and the primary gift given to each believer.

That being said, my primary gift is the gift of exhortation. I am, in other words, an exhorter. Which explains why I like to give advice, admonish people, and encourage believers. It is why I give books, suggest sermons, even write this blog, because I desire to see people apply God’s Word to their daily lives. That is what motivates me. That’s also why, when people aren’t following God’s Word and are pickin’ their noses, I get frustrated. See questions above. Cool how that works, right?

Some of you shared your gifting last week, but tell me again if you know your spiritual gifting. If you don’t know, but would like to know tell me in the comments. Let me ask you these same questions and see if we come up with an answer.Any other theological questions regarding gifts? Bring it on!

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Nicole Cottrell is trained in the fine art of button-pushing. She uses her skills daily on Modern Reject where she writes about the intersection of faith and culture as well as the unpopular stuff no one else likes to talk about. Nicole is a speaker, writer, discipler, and coffee fanatic. She and her husband planted the Foundation, a network of house churches in Arizona. Nicole lives in Scottsdale with her husband and two little munchkins, three of the coolest and funniest people she knows.