Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
*Knowing your spiritual gift(s)will enable you to find your place of ministry in the local church.*
*Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will enable you to determine your priorities.*
*Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will be of great help in discerning God’s will.*
Probably the simplest definition of a spiritual gift would be this: *A spiritual gift is the God-given capacity of every Christian to carry out his function in the body of Christ.*
Spiritual gifts are not primarily given to benefit the individual, but the entire body.
The Nature of Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual gifts intertwine the Divine and the Human.
Spiritual gifts are ‘spiritual’ in nature for they are given by the Holy Spirit to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
Each gift is a manifestation of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7).
In addition to the divine element in spiritual gifts is the human counterpart.
The gift of helps will involve some form of human involvement whether it be in the bringing of a meal, the fixing of a flat tire, or in cleaning up someone’s house.
!! The great error of the carnal Corinthian church was to confuse spiritual gifts with spirituality.
Those who spoke in tongues thought themselves to be several notches higher on the spiritual scale than those who did not have this gift.
The watchword of the Christian sluggard is ‘that’s not my gift.’
That mentality is an abuse of the biblical teaching concerning spiritual gifts.
How Can I Discover My Spiritual Gift(s)?
First, I hope you have concluded that this matter is not the great mystery we have made it out to be.
God has given you a gift or gifts and He intends for you to know your gift, to develop it and to use it for His glory.
Gifts are not classified or top secret material intended only for the spiritual elite.
Second, arrive at a simple and concise definition for each of the spiritual gifts recorded in the Scriptures.
The gift of faith is the supernatural ability to trust God.
Faith is both active and passive.
The housewife, for example, may demonstrate active faith by trusting God to establish a coffee-type Bible study for the gals in the neighborhood.
The husband may exercise active faith in stepping out into a new type of business venture that will bring additional opportunities for ministry.
Passive faith is faith which hangs on for dear life.
The seminary wife with the gift of faith may demonstrate her passive faith when all the obstacles point to her husband throwing in the towel and quitting seminary, but she keeps encouraging him to trust.
These kinds of faith benefit the body by encouraging others to trust the Lord both actively and passively.
Whatever you do, do not define the gifts in terms of the spectacular.
Rather, define the gifts as they relate to you and your situation.
Consider how the gift of faith would manifest itself in your situation, on the job, at home, in your responsibilities in the church?
Third, and most important, obey the Scriptures.
Corresponding to every spiritual gift is an imperative or instruction to every Christian to carry out that function.
The reason why most Christians don’t know what their spiritual gift is, is that they have never tried to do it yet.
If you were to ask me what I thought your natural abilities were, the first thing I would do is to ask what you have tried.
Have you ever tried to play baseball, to water ski, to bowl, to sew?
If you haven’t you will never know.
You may study sewing, baseball, bowling or whatever, but you will never know if you are good at it until you have made a genuine effort to do it.
The general imperatives of the Scriptures have made it easy for us.
They command us to do everything which corresponds to some spiritual gift.
In your obedience to the Scriptures, do the things which you see need to be done.
I believe it is almost impossible for one with the gift of teaching not to show his hand at a discussion-type Bible study.
There is virtually no way you can keep a gifted teacher quiet.
He senses a need to teach, and, if given the chance, he meets that need by sharing what he knows to be God’s answer.
The one with the gift of giving is the one who is most sensitive to financial needs.
He senses needs that go over every one else’s heads.
The same is true of the administrator.
He will sense the lack of organization and immediately move in to meet that need.
It is my contention that with every spiritual gift comes the complimentary ability to discern the need as well as the ability to meet it.
It is Bill Gothard who suggests that individuals react to given situations in the light of their gifts.
If a waitress spills someone’s meal all over the restaurant floor and a group of Christians are sitting nearby, each individual will react in accordance with this spiritual gift.
The gift of mercy responds by concentrating on cleaning up the mess, the gift of giving offers to pay for another meal, the gift of exhortation seeks to cheer up the waitress.
The gift of administration delegates and organizes the whole matter to avoid confusion.
The gift of teaching suggests some ways to avoid a recurrence of the problem.
Your spiritual gift makes you sensitive to certain needs that others may not perceive.
Do what you see needs to be done.
Fourth, devote yourself to what you do best.
When you once begin to meet the needs which you see you will quickly discover that you do some things better than others.
As I have said before, the fact that you do not do some things very well is no indication that you are to cease altogether in that area.
But this will be a clue as to where you should concentrate your efforts.
On the basis of your own evaluation and the suggestions of those you respect, begin to devote more time and energy to the things you do best.
This leads to the development of the gifts which you possess.
Whatever opportunities come up which will aid you in enhancing your spiritual gifts, make the most of them.
You may learn that a job change will help you develop your gift.
For example, if your gift is teaching, you may well consider a teaching occupation that will enhance your abilities in teaching.
If you are particularly skillful in counseling, you may be able to find a job that gives you additional opportunities to develop this ability.
Spirituality and Spiritual Gifts—Part 1 \\ (1 Cor.
By: \\ Bob Deffinbaugh , Th.M.
1 Now concerning spiritual /gifts,/ brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
2 You know that when you were pagans, /you were/ led astray to the dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
A Catholic priest once shared an incident which took place in the prison where he was serving as a chaplain.
Assisted by an older man who happened to be a kind of “godfather,” the priest was in the chapel one day when someone came to inform him about the conduct of a particular inmate.
Something had to be done.
Since the priest’s assistant could not help but overhear the conversation, when the informer left he casually made an offer to help solve the problem: “Father, you want I should take care of this problem for you?” “No thanks,” replied the priest, “We don’t solve such problems with cement shoes.”
It was a sincere offer.
The “godfather” was only trying to help.
In his mind, there was nothing inconsistent with being a Catholic and ordering a “hit.”
Fortunately, the priest saw things differently.
I have heard similar stories of Christian inmates who sincerely believed the biblical way for them to discipline a wayward brother was to appoint someone to rub him out.
Here is an interesting twist on 1 Corinthians 5.
They did not need to turn this fellow over to Satan to destroy his flesh; they would take care of it themselves!
A distorted view of what it means to be spiritual is not new.
One of the prominent areas of difference between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day was the definition of what it means to be spiritual.
The scribes and Pharisees measured spirituality on the basis of external appearances.
No wonder they were so eager to become wealthy.
If Jesus’ parable of the shrewd steward in Luke 16:1-13 caused the Pharisees to scoff (verse 14), one can imagine how the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) offended them.
Their problem, Jesus said, was judging on the basis of appearances rather than on the motives of men’s hearts (Luke 16:14-18).
The Sermon on the Mount was our Lord’s exposition of the Old Testament Law, stressing that true spirituality goes far beyond the letter of the law to the heart of the matter.
Jesus encouraged the poor (literally, and in spirit), the mourners, the gentle, and those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness (Matthew 5:12; compare Luke 6:20-26).
He warned against practicing our righteousness in a way that would attract men’s attention to us (Matthew 6:1-18) and against hoarding our possessions.
Jesus cautioned those who were quick to judge others that the standard they applied to others would also be applied to them (Matthew 7:1-5).
We are to look to God for the good things of life and to treat others the way we wish to be treated by them (7:7-12).
Jesus did not forbid us from making all judgments about others.
He taught that we should not give what is holy to dogs (7:6) and that we should be on our guard against false prophets (7:13ff.).
In short, Jesus turned the Jewish definition of spirituality inside-out and the spiritual system of His day upside-down.
Even in contemporary Christian circles, there is no consensus of thought on true spirituality which one would expect to find among Christians.
Christians are dividing themselves over differing definitions of spirituality.
Chapters 12-15 of 1 Corinthians are about true spirituality, and in particular, these chapters address the subject of spirituality in the context of spiritual gifts.
Spirituality and the Church at Corinth