The Key to Spiritual Gifts: Use Them!

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:3–8 ESV)

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts is Blessing and Serving Others in the Church 

  • “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
  • “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that incredible spiritual giftedness without love means nothing. Even if I have oratory equal to the ability of angels or if I cast out demons or move mountains, if I don’t have agape love as a quality in my character, I gain nothing. Love is the quintessential Christian quality. So, don’t be too impressed by spiritual gifts you see in others; that gift was given to them by the Holy Spirit. Be impressed by love, joy, and peace and strive to make this part of your life as well.

Here is an incredible truth:

Every Christian has a Spiritual Gift or Several Spiritual Gifts

You may be thinking, I must have been at the end of the line and God ran out of gifts because I don’t think I have one. Not only do you have one, you likely have several. When you think about it, it’s incredibly exciting. God is actively empowering his people to fulfill his mission and giving us the enablements we need.

So Christian, hear this, you have at least one Spirit-granted, God-empowered gifting. God’s gifts are God’s call, which means he has a purpose for every one of us. This means every member of the church is critically important and the diversity of gifts tells us that no one person is too important. Pastor Steve, then what should I do?

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (Romans 12:6, emphasis added)

The emphasis in Scripture is surprisingly not on how to discover your spiritual gift, but on the necessity of using your spiritual gift. Why would that be?

In days gone by, discovering your spiritual gift was a bigger deal in local churches. There were spiritual gift surveys and lots of emphasis on finding your spiritual gift. Yet, the Bible gives no guidelines on how to do so. It just urges us to use them.

I take from this that discovering your spiritual gift is a lot like many things in life—you figure it out as you go. Author Kevin DeYoung summarizes this with his book title, Just Do Something! As we do something, as we serve, as we try this and that, there will be some categories we are drawn to. Areas where our service seems effective. Other church members will notice and tell you, that was great! Wow, you’re really good at that!

Do something. Get the wagon moving and let God steer it. As God blesses, take that as the yellow brick road. It likely will bless you in doing it, but don’t take your personal enjoyment of it as a key indicator. I’ve had too many church members strangely enjoy things they are not good at. Spiritual gifts bless, equip, and sustain others.

One final word here because some of you may feel motivated but still unsure of a direction to serve. This might give you some indication of your gifting. Here we are in this extraordinary time of quarantine. What about the community life of our church are you missing the most? I can’t wait to get back to _____________. What you are missing might be your gifting.

What are you doing the most these days? Think in spiritual categories. Eating Cheetos is not a spiritual gift. What has emerged in you through all this? How are you serving others? For some it’s words and speech. You are calling people. Praying with people. Writing notes of encouragement. Blogging. You are serving with words. Others, you haven’t called and prayed with anyone, but you’ve organized meals down the whole block. You’ve mowed the old lady’s lawn next door and came home with a smile on your face. In times of crisis, our giftings can shine through.

As you serve, your gifts will become evident. If you wait to do anything until you know how God has gifted you, you will wait a long, long time.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2020 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

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