An Introduction to Spiritual Gifts

on 6/21/2011

You have probably all heard the term "Spiritual Gifts." Some Christians believe in spiritual gifts and try to walk in them daily. Other Christians believe the spiritual gifts have passed away and don't apply to Christianity today. There are also many variations on the above positions. This can be a very controversial topic.

You also probably know that at Exploits for God we take the Word of God at face value. I've recently been studying spiritual gifts and I offer here a very basic teaching that I believe will bless you. I don't see anything in God's Word to suggest they have passed away. I believe God has spiritual gifts for all of us, and I believe walking in our spiritual gifts is a key to living the life God has for us.

The New Testament Greek word for these spiritual gifts, used in the Bible, is "charisma." By studying that Word we see that one such gift is our salvation. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift (charisma) of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I don't know how you feel, but I'm positive that's the best gift I will ever receive.

But God doesn't stop there. Salvation is not the culmination of your human existence, it's the beginning of the human existence you were supposed to have. Now you can live in fellowship with God. Now you are God's child. Now you have the Holy Spirit within you. Your true life began at salvation, and your Heavenly Father has many other gifts.

1 Corinthians 12 gives us the clearest list of other spiritual gift or "gifts of the Spirit." Such gifts include the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says that "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." I believe that means God has such spiritual gifts for every man, not just for people in the traditional ministry. God wants the Holy Spirit in you to be manifested outside of you, and these gifts are a major way that can happen.

All of us should be walking in spiritual gifts. The question is which ones. Let's first remember that these are "spiritual" gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4 says that there are different gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:11 then says something really helpful, "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." First let's notice again that every person should be walking in their certain spiritual gifts. The word "worketh" is also interesting in the Greek, as it is "energeo." This verse says that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts as He wills and then He energizes those gifts. Glory to God.

I believe the key to operating in spiritual gifts rests with our relationship to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us these gifts and the Holy Spirit will energize them in our lives. God gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can know what God gives us and wants us to do (1 Corinthians 2). A close relationship with the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to successful Christian living.

As you spend time in God's Word, spend time in Worship, spend time praying in tongues, and generally spend time in God's presence, your relationship with the Holy Spirit will improve. You will sense His presence and discern His leadings. Remember James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God He will draw near to us. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives you these gifts from God. They are given you for your "profit." I believe the Greek words translated "profit withal" really indicate that these manifestations of the Spirit are for the common good. They aren't just for your profit, and they aren't just for others. These gifts are given so that everyone can benefit by them. You will "profit with all." Isn't that just like God?

But I have some more good news. "The gifts (charisma) and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29) God will never regret the gifts He's given you or the calling He's placed on your life. It doesn't matter what you are doing right now, God won't change His mind about your gifts or your calling. When I was first committing my life to Christ that verse really blessed me, because any man would have given up on me long ago. But God doesn't repent of His plans for us just because we make mistakes. God has great gifts that He wants you to walk in, for your benefit and the benefit of all mankind. God has a calling on your life. No matter what you're doing now, it's true.

The question is whether you will walk in those gifts and that calling. For the first 23 years of my life I sure didn't. I'll never know what opportunities I missed because I lived in sin. But that doesn't matter now. I'm in God's grace and doing my part to see God's will revealed in my life. The same can be true for you. Just because God never changes his mind about your gifts doesn't mean you will ever see them. You probably won't lay hands on people and see any miracles if you are living in sin. You may say some strange things while intoxicated, but it won't be inspired prophetic speech.

God gives the gifts. But you have the responsibility to draw close to the Holy Spirit to draw them from Him and begin walking in them. We must remember that Paul told Timothy not to neglect his gifts (1 Timothy 4:14). Paul was reminding Timothy that He can't be careless about these spiritual gifts, but He must be purposeful and active about them. Then again in 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul tells Timothy to stir up the gifts which are in Him. Those words translated "stir up" indicate "fanning the flame" or reigniting the fire. We have a roll to play with our spiritual gifts. We can't neglect them. We must stir them up. We must draw close to the Holy Spirit, pray, and then act boldly when we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to operate in one of those gifts.

I'll admit, I don't have a very clear picture of what gifts God has given me. I have an idea, but I can't say I know for sure. Maybe you also feel that way. There's nothing wrong with that. Your Loving Father, by His Spirit, has given you these gifts, and He will help you walk in them. God doesn't want them hidden from you. But you must be spiritually mature enough to use them. Just like I wouldn't let my baby girl drive my car, God won't let me operate in His powerful gifts if I'm still a spiritual baby.

So praise God for His spiritual gifts, and pray that you would walk in those given you. Stir up the gifts, never neglect them. Earnestly desire the best gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). Trust God and begin walking in your gifts so that you and everyone around you can be blessed.

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