How can we find out what our spiritual gifts are?
For one thing, none of us can boast or brag about our spiritual gifts. That’s what the Corinthian church did and they were chastised for it by the Apostle Paul. There is no room for pride in the gifts of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul sums this thought up nicely, by asking, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1st Cor 4:7)? The answer is obviously nothing. We have nothing that we did not receive from God so how could we ever boast about anything at all? Paul wrote “concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1st Cor 12:1), as “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (1st Cor 12:4-6). Paul’s point is that all these gifts have different purposes but they are all empowered by God and “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1st Cor 12:7), not the individual good. They are for the good of the church and these gifts are intended by God to build up the church into the image of Christ. It is God “Who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1st Cor 12:11), meaning we don’t pick and choose gifts. This is God’s decision for His purposes, not our decision for our purposes.
Spiritual Inventory Tests
There are several different websites that you can access that will allow you to take a test to find out what your spiritual gifts are. Some people have simply found a place to serve in the local church or in a local ministry and found out, by experience, what their spiritual gifts are. One lady at our church didn’t even realize that she had the gift of administration until I noticed that she kept meticulous records at our board meetings and district meetings. She is also the district treasurer and keeps the books on the regional church expenses. She may not have realized it, but she has the gift of administration, but I and a few others noticed. Sometimes it just takes experience to see which gifts a person has or doesn’t have. Time will tell, but the many spiritual gifts assessments are helpful, but I have found that they are not perfect. When a person finds their niche in the church, they seem to just gravitate to their giftedness and they will feel a sense of joy and purpose in their serving. It does seem that people have more than one gifts but no one has no gift because that contradicts God’s Word (1st Cor 12:11).
A Variety of Gifts
Spiritual gifts are gifts of God to all believers who are given particular gifts to fit the needs of the church, but no one has all of the gifts because it would be too difficult, if not impossible, to use each of the gifts of the Spirit, so God in His great wisdom, distributes “varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1st Cor 12:4), so “there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (1st Cor 12:5-6). These gifts are “given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1st Cor 12:8-10), but it is God alone “who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1st Cor 12:11b). Even with these gifts, we must remember that it is not from us or in us but only from the Spirit of God. We don’t choose. God does.
Purpose for the Gifts
If anyone thinks that they have spiritual gifts but use them for themselves or for their own purposes, I would question their thinking because these gifts are intended for the church and not for the individual believer’s purpose. Seeing the church as a body, which it is called as the Body of Christ, Paul reminds us “the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1st Cor 12:14) because “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1st Cor 12:18), not what we chose since “If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body” (1st Cor 12:19-20). The reason God did this was so “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another” (1st Cor 12:25).
How can you find out what your spiritual gifts are? Dive into an area of service in your local church or take a spiritual inventory test to see where your greatest spiritual strengths might be. If you have repented and trusted in Christ, you have at least one spiritual gift, but experience tells me, that you probably have more than one, but no less than one. Ask others in the church to see what they think or what spiritual gifts that you have. I have no doubt that your spiritual gifts are just what the church needs. Now, find your gift, serve, and remember that your gifts are for “for the common good” (1st Cor 12:7b), and not for the good of the individual.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.