Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #229 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 14 today and our focus is on How Can I Know MY Spiritual Gifts? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
If you are a Christian and don’t know what your primary spiritual gift is, then don’t be alarmed by this – you are not alone! I have been in ministry for well over 20 years, and have served as a senior pastor for almost 15 years. A few years ago, when I surveyed our church congregation and my closest friends about what they thought MY primary spiritual gift was, I got at least nine different answers out of roughly two dozen respondents. Of those two dozen – only a few mentioned pastoring or shepherding as my primary spiritual gift- most said teaching or leading. That is not particularly disconcerting to me, because even though I have the title of “senior pastor” on paper, and even though I spend a good amount of time pastoring, I actually don’t believe that pastoring/shepherding is my primary spiritual gift. The fact of the matter is that God can and will use you to edify and build up His Body even if you don’t have a clue what your spiritual gift is, and we don’t have a command in Scripture that tells us to find out what our gift is. But, if you would like to know what your spiritual gift is, I developed a guide a few years ago that might be helpful – it has 7 steps, and they spell out the word: discover.
So – without further keystrokes, here is the seven step DISCOVER process to learn what Spiritual Gift you have:
Study the Word
Consider a Spiritual Gifts Test
Observe Needs and Offer to Serve
- Desire Intensely The first step in finding out your spiritual gift is that you obey the Word and intensely desire spiritual gifts for your self and fellow Christians that you are in relationship with. At least THREE times in Scripture, the apostle Paul tells Christians to desire, pursue and/or be eager to have various spiritual gifts – especially the greater ones. The Greek word he uses is the word ζηλοῦτε or ZEALOUTAY, which is the word that we get zeal/zealous from. It means to intensely long for something – even to covet it. It is right and biblical to have a deep desire to know and use your spiritual gift! 1 Cor 12:31, “31 But desire the greater gifts. ” 1 Corinthians 14 1, “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:39, “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.”
- Study the Word. Remember that God’s Word is living AND active and that the Bible is a supernatural book. Remember also that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth. As you study the major Bible passages on the spiritual gifts, I believe and trust that God will unlock insight, understanding and knowledge and lead you to truth through His living Word. Here are several excellent passages on spiritual gifts to start your study. There are certainly other places in Scripture where the gifts are mentioned, but I believe the below passages are the most detailed teachings on spiritual gifts in the Bible. Prayerfully read and meditate on these passages and ask the Holy Spirit to sovereignly (in His timing) lead you into a deeper understanding of spiritual gifts and your gift in particular:A.1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14
B. Romans 12:3-8
C. 1 Peter 4: 7-11
D. Ephesians 4:4-16
E. Romans 1:11-12
3. Consider a spiritual gifts test. For a lot of Christians that are interested in finding out their spiritual gift, the first place they start is by taking a spiritual gifts test or a spiritual gifts inventory. Call me crazy, but I do not believe that a test taken and graded by an individual, is the correct place to start when trying to ascertain one’s spiritual gift. We don’t start with this step because we are biased – we might fill out a test based on what we wish to do or be, or how we wish to be gifted, rather than based on how God has actually gifted us. So – Consider taking a test, but know that this step is not necessary and take the results with a grain of salt, though such tests are usually helpful. There is not a large selection of free online spiritual gifts tests available, but one that is quite good is the Gifted2Serve test at BuildingChurch.net
Note this caution from seasoned Christian counselor and writer Edward Welch: “As a counselor, I have spoken with many people who want to know their spiritual gifts. They come hoping for some sort of diagnostic test that will precisely locate them. My impression is that this perspective represents a breakdown in the church. It reflects a church where we are running around as self-actualizing individuals rather than uniting as a God-glorifying community.“ Ed Welch in “When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency and the Fear of Man.”
4. Observe Community Needs AND Offer to Serve in an Area of Need As Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 12:18 that God has ordered the body of Christ precisely the way that He wants it to be ordered. That means that He has sovereignly guided you to your current church fellowship, small group, family, etc. Further understand, as Peter notes in 1 Peter 4:10, that your gift is designed to be used – it is a command – to serve other Christians. Putting these two facts together, leads me to conclude that, wherever you are and whomever you are, God has placed you, with your specific gifting, in a place that needs your service! In other words, you have a gifting that is designed to be used in an area of need in your church, small group, job, or family. Look for it, and ask God to lead you to it. ***I note here that things like toilet cleaning, trash picking up, nursery service, and lots of other areas of seemingly menial service do not necessarily have a spiritual gift directly associated with them, with the possible exception of the gift of service itself. Please don’t ever beg out of lowly tasks by saying that you aren’t gifted to do them. None of us are exactly gifted to clean toilets or change diapers, or pick up trash, but we do serve a master, Jesus, who tells us that they key to greatness is not to BE served, but to SERVE!
5. Verify Giftedness with Family and Friends. After testing the waters, so to speak, and serving in an area or two in your fellowship or small group, then ask follow-up questions of your spouse, your friends, and trusted church leaders. Here are some questions to consider asking: “Where do you think I am gifted?” “What are the needs of the church that are currently going unmet?” “Is there a different place where I could serve fruitfully, or am I being fruitful here?” Also consider having your spouse take a spiritual gifts test FOR you, and then compare notes – they might see things that you are missing. Finally, consider asking mature Christians and spiritual leaders that know you well what areas they might believe that you are gifted to serve in. If you yourself are asked such a question, never give a terse or discouraging answer, but also never tell an untruth. In other words, seek neither to blow people off, nor inaccurately declare their giftedness in an area that you don’t have confidence that they are gifted in. Speak the truth in Love.
6. Evaluate Fruitfulness This step is very similar to step number five, and can even be done together with number five. If you are gifted in a particular area, then there should be obvious fruit that comes from your endeavors in that area. Failure to be fruitful in a particular calling or area of service, especially in the short term, does not necessarily mean that you aren’t gifted in that area. Adoniram Judson labored for almost six years as a missionary in Burma before he saw his first convert, and Judson was a tremendously gifted missionary and evangelist. God often leads His people through the testing grounds of failure and pruning so that they will be more fruitful (John 15). That said, serving for a significant amount of time in an area without noticeable joy or fruit/impact might be a signal that you are not serving in an area of giftedness.
7. Repeat These seven steps should be an ongoing process. Since God’s Word tells us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts, I believe it is possible that spiritual gifts might not be delivered to believers in full on the day of salvation, but distributed by the Spirit over time and according to need. Thus, as we mature, and as our needs change (and as we intensely desire…), I suspect that the Spirit will lead us to unperceived areas of fruitfulness. Therefore keep desiring intensely, keep studying God’s Word, keep considering spiritual gifts tests and offering to serve in areas of need. Keep verifying giftedness and evaluating fruitfulness. Do all of this in the knowledge that you are led by a Holy Spirit that, “causes all things to work together for good for those who know God and are called according to His purposes.”
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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