A God-given Assignment, Capacity, And Desire
All of us have experienced receiving a gift that we didn’t know what to do with. We would rather receive gifts that are both a heartfelt gesture and truly beneficial to us. There is a gift that truly fits that. It’s not a gift you have to request or put on a wish list. In fact, it’s a gift you’ve already received. It’s a spiritual gift.
If you know exactly how God has gifted you and you’re actively using those gifts in your ministry — great. For the rest of you though … If you’re not sure how God has gifted you or how you can use your gift in ministry, you’re not alone. Read on for a brief overview of the spiritual gifts and consider how God could be using you in His kingdom.
If you would like to take an assessment to determine what your spiritual gifts might be please click here to download the test with instructions to score it.
A gift is …
A spiritual gift is a “God-given assignment, capacity, and desire to perform a function within the body of Christ with supernatural joy, energy, and effectiveness.”
Let’s take a closer look at each part of that definition.
A spiritual gift is a God-given assignment, capacity, and desire
God chooses your gift(s). He alone decides. He doesn’t give you a “gift card” so you can pick the ones you want. You don’t get to choose your gift. You can only choose to “unwrap” your gift and use it. The good news is that you don’t have to earn your gift either!
Charisma (plural charismata, from which we get charismatic) is the main Greek word translated spiritual gift or gift in the New Testament. Its root word is charis, which means “grace.” That’s why some people prefer to call them “grace gifts.” You don’t even have to ask God for your gift! Of course, you should pray that He will reveal your gift to you. The day you put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit took up residence within you along with the gift(s) God had predetermined for you. This spiritual birthday present is indicative of what God wants to accomplish through your new life. It’s your assignment.
With your assignment, God gives you the capacity to develop your gift. Some people define spiritual gifts as God-given “ability.” I prefer the word capacity because it suggests room for growth and improvement.
Along with your gift(s) will also come a divinely inspired desire to exercise that gift. As you begin to apply your spiritual gift, your motivation will become more and more “want to” rather than “ought to” or “have to!”
To perform a function within the body of Christ
Ephesians 4:12 declares that God gave gifts “for the training of the saints in the work of ministry.” They are standard equipment, not accessories. In Ephesians 4:12, training means “to prepare.” But the same Greek word can also describe an action done to repair. It is the word used to describe the mending and preparation of a fisherman’s nets (Matt. 4:21) and the restoration of a relationship gone bad (Gal. 6:1).
Ephesians 4:12 continues, “to build up the body of Christ.” Spiritual gifts should benefit the body of Christ. They should never be used in such a way as to bring discredit on the church. That is why the exercise of spiritual gifts is subject to the supervision and approval of the church and its leaders. Paul reminded Timothy that he and the elders had officially recognized Timothy’s gift and commissioned him to use it as their representative. They confirmed the gifts they saw at work in Timothy’s life and commissioned him to use them (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6).
At the close of his extensive teaching on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul wrote, “But desire the greater gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31).
The verb Paul used is plural. This is not a command to individuals to seek certain gifts for themselves but to the church collectively to desire all that is best for the body of Christ. God wants us to identify spiritual gifts in others, especially those gifts with great impact in His kingdom.
With supernatural joy, energy, and effectiveness
At the root of the word charis (grace) is char, which means “joy.” When you discover your spiritual gift and put it to work in a ministry, you should experience a deep sense of joy. You could call spiritual gifts “joy gifts” as well as “grace gifts.”
The word translated activities could also be translated “effects” or “results.” You can see the English word energy in the Greek word energemata. When you exercise your spiritual gift, God provides the energy and takes care of the results. Spiritual gifts are not intended by God for you to do “busy work.” They are intended to produce meaningful, purposeful results.
Most Christians long to experience a sense of call, a capacity to contribute, and an inner feeling of joy, power, and purpose. That’s what is in store for those who will discover their spiritual gift and use it!
Don’t worry too much about figuring out what specific gift God has given you before you start doing something. The idea is to zero in on your gift as closely as you can. Then experiment! Take on a ministry responsibility in your church where that gift can add value. Work hard. Get training to develop your gift. Observe other people who exhibit that gift.
Then evaluate. Are you experiencing joy? Is God providing the energy for the job giving you extra physical, emotional, and spiritual strength while you are involved in ministry? Are you being effective? Do others say things to affirm your own evaluation? If the answers are yes, then you have probably discovered one of your God given spiritual gifts.
Take the gift God has given you and “re-gift it.” Pass it along, and use it for the benefit of the church and others.
About Your Spiritual Gifts
Jesus Christ knew all about the human tendency to feel inadequate. That is why He assured His followers they would receive a Helper—the Holy Spirit—who would come to abide in them forever (John 14:16). The Spirit enables, energizes, and equips believers to serve the Lord. One of the ways He aids us is by providing spiritual gifts, which are capabilities given to believers.
Our heavenly Father has a ministry in mind for each of His followers. Therefore, necessary spiritual “equipment” has been selected to help us carry out His work, and these gifts were planned by our Creator before we were born. It is His purpose that we embrace our gift and combine it with other believers’ gifts in order to serve Him wholeheartedly as the body of Christ. Even the smallest job contributes to the Great Commission and the strengthening of Jesus Christ’s body, the church.
The Lord has a plan for every believer. To ensure that we can meet His expectations, He first builds natural talents into us. At salvation, He adds a spiritual gift. Then the heavenly Father opens doors of opportunity and the Holy Spirit manifests His power so that we can carry out the work set before us.
The Gift Of Administration
The gift of administration is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to clearly understand the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the body of Christ. Members with this gift are able to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals. The gift of administration can be used in the local church to break down the mission and vision of the church into understandable and do-able parts so complex jobs can be managed and arranged. The gift of administration can be used in the local church in Christian education, leadership, staffing, staff support, and helping others discover and use their spiritual gifts.
The Gift Of Discernment
The gift of discerning of spirits is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to know with assurance whether certain behavior, purported to be of God, is in reality divine, human or Satanic. The gift of discerning of spirits can be used in the local church by those arguing for the truth of the gospel through apologetics, joining the prayer team and battling in spiritual warfare, and through participating in ministries that go outside the church to engage others with the gospel.
The Gift Of Evangelist
The gift of evangelist is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to share the Gospel with unbelievers. Members with this gift are able to do this in such a way that men and women become Jesus’ disciples and responsible members of the body of Christ. The gift of evangelist can be used in the local church by members who share their personal story of salvation, who engage non-believers with the truth of the gospel and by those who argue that God is real and the gospel is truth.
The Gift Of Exhortation
The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the body. Members with this gift are able to do this in such a way that others feel helped and healed. The gift of exhortation can be used in the local church to publically comfort, counsel or encourage others. It might include writing notes, making phone calls, and speaking words of encouragement to others who are serving within the church. This gift is often used by care group leaders in small groups, to counsel or shepherd others, and in teaching and worship.
The Gift Of Faith
The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for the future of His work. The gift of faith can be used in the local church by leaders and ordinary members. The leader with the gift of faith can believe that God can do what others never imagine is possible. Members can use the gifts of faith in their intercessory prayer life, by going to the mission field, and counseling or recovery ministries.
The Gift Of Giving
The gift of giving is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to contribute their material resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness. The gift of giving can be used to supply the necessary resources or financial support that is needed for a ministry to succeed. The person with this gift sees needs and is ready and willing to do something about them. They might serve in benevolence ministries or in teaching stewardship classes.
The Gift Of Helps
The gift of helps is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the body. Thus enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. The gift of helps can be used in the local church when someone stands beside a leader or teacher to make sure that leader or teacher’s effectiveness is increased. They might help with clerical needs, with facilities needs, or even ministry or hospitality needs.
The Gift Of Hospitality
The gift of hospitality is the special ability that God gives to certain members
of the body of Christ to provide an open house and warm welcome for those in need of food and lodging. The gift of hospitality can be used in the local church to meet the physical and social needs of others. Members with this gift often assist with food preparation, hosting guests, befriending people and making visitors feel welcome. Members can serve on the food service team, greeting team, usher team, and welcome team in a Sunday school or small group.
The Gift Of Leadership
The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future of the church. Members with this gift are able to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish these goals for the glory of God. The gift of leadership can be used in every area of the church because whatever the church does it needs leadership to guide its work and ministries to fulfill the mission and vision of the church. This gift can be used by serving the church pastorally, administratively, educationally, financially, or organizationally.
The Gift Of Mercy
The gift of mercy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems. Members with this special gift are able to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds, which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the suffering. The gift of mercy can be used in the local church to help it feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems. Members with this special gift get involved in care ministries, benevolence ministry, as well as hospital or homebound visitation.
The Gift Of Prophecy
The gift of prophecy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to speak biblical truths to current issues with conviction and clarity. They are able to discern false doctrines and warn God’s people about deception. Their desire is to promote obedience to the Word and address heart issues that could lead people into sin. The gift of prophecy can be used in the local church by those engaging with the current needs of society to address community or moral issues. These Christians can speak up for the unborn, address political issues and societal injustices, as well as address the church regarding topics others might find uncomfortable to difficult.
The Gift Of Teaching
The gift of teaching is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to communicate information, relevant to the health and ministry of the body and it’s members. Members with this gift are able to do this in such a way that others will learn. The gift of teaching can be used in the local church to lead small groups, teach Sunday School class or Bible Studies, or teaching individuals through personal discipleship.
The Gift Of Serving
The gift of service is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God’s work. Members with this gift are able to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired goals. The gift of serving can be used in the local church to work behind the scenes to make sure events come together, unmet needs are addressed, and support is given to those leading. These servants are the unsung and unseen heroes who stand behind the scenes to make the daily events of the church run. They volunteer in parking lots, kitchens, classrooms, and at special events.
We All Matter
Every member of the Christian fellowship is important, and each one has a task to do. Where God has gifted us and opened doors of opportunity for ministry, He also provides the strength and courage to exercise our abilities.
The reality is that we exist for God. He created us for His purposes and has equipped every believer to serve Him in some fashion. According to Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Everything about us has been designed by God to equip us for the work He preordained long before our birth.
- He created each of us with the exact personality and body we would need to fulfill His purpose for our life.
- God has equipped us with the strengths, abilities, and talents necessary to do what He planned for us.
- The Holy Spirit has given us spiritual gifts with which to serve one another in the church.
- Every experience in our life is used by God to equip us for doing His will. Both the pleasant and difficult times shape our character, mature us spiritually, and train us to help others.
God uniquely created each of us, and He’s provided us with everything we need to serve and glorify Him. All we must do is step out in obedience with full reliance on His grace and power.