What fallacies do you hear or see when it comes to spiritual gifts?
It is not that uncommon to run into a believer, sometimes already contributing to their Christian community, but who sometimes doubt they really have what could be called a spiritual gift. 1 Cor 12-14 is indispensable in studying the subject, so I kept it in view as I pondered. It is a spiritual gift because of its source, the Holy Spirit. Thinking about this, I mused to myself as I recalled some of my own (overzealous) presumptions many years ago as a new believer. Below are some subtle misunderstandings that sometimes prompt some well meaning church members to not step up and fully embrace functions that the Head and Body have been a long time missing from them.
- If it is my spiritual gift, then it must be something I always find easy to do.
There has been a big shift in the way we have come to understand gifting or talents secularly. It can sometimes be seen as the route where we feel the least challenge. This is true in a general sense, but also, can leave room for a misunderstanding of how things work in real life. When an individual shows aptitude in a specific area, we tend to say that’s their strength. Therefore, being a strength powered by the Holy Spirit, ought we not be able to serve in those areas with little or no challenge to the human side of us? Not always. The best teachers will admit that they put much energy into understanding the matter, their audience, and even moving the material from raw to a final piece that effectively teaches their specific audience. Worship coordinators will admit no less. Even givers (everyone should be a giver – but here, specifically those for whom it is considered a special area of Christian service), will admit that they have given in spite of how difficult it felt under certain circumstances. In fact, the more likely it is your gift, the more likely tougher cases within that category will tend towards you. And because it is your passion and gifting, the more likely you are to put in what it takes to have it done efficiently. It may, therefore, be said to be easy in a different sense—it is an area in which you feel a sense of inner excitement and joy unraveling, resolving or serving. For this fallacy, do not ask yourself – is this going to be easy to do? Rather ask, is it an exciting type of challenge for me?
- If it is my spiritual gift, its outworking should be inexplicable by natural reasoning.
A few believers have not fully appreciated, or embraced, their gifts because they were ones that did not appear to require some mysterious spin to its explanation. So they did not think very highly of those as spiritual gifts. So then, we tend to see how a vibrant biblical teacher could have a spiritual gift but not a skilled church administrator. The term, spiritual, can be misunderstood at times. For sure, it is endowed by the Spirit (1 Cor 12), so it is definitely a spiritual gift. Let’s not forget the purpose, however, that though distributed by the Holy Spirit, it is to practically meet all sorts of growth and development need areas of the church. For this fallacy, please do not ask if this activity has a mystical spin to it to qualify as spiritual gift. Rather ask, “Is this a valid need area in the church for which I can bring my skill, knowledge, or even honest effort?”
- If it is a spiritual gift, then it should not require other formal means of enhancement.
In a group conversation once, a member asked candidly, “If the Holy Spirit gives you a gift, and you go try to pursue secular training, is that not tantamount to distrusting what the Spirit gave, or trying to help Him?” That would not be tantamount to helping the Spirit. It is a way to be a better steward of the talents. Think how much a person with a natural gift for empathy and encouragement would do getting training on a related skill such as listening. A growing number of churches and church-members have realized the value of training and development for individuals that show strength in various areas of service. For this fallacy, please ask, “Will such training improve some of my human limitations, working toward more effective results in the use of my gifting?”
- Since it is a spiritual gift, I should confine its use to the church or else it is misappropriated.
- Spiritual gifts are about what we do.