Many times our Spiritual Gifts are more of a passion, a desire, a spiritual yearning that needs to be developed into action. How is that done? How do we go from passion to practice of a Spiritual Gift?
In I Corinthians 12:1-7 Paul writes:
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant… There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of workings, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now each of the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Paul says that He doesn’t want us to be ignorant about spiritual gifts so he uses three descriptive words that when put together, help us better understand what a spiritual gift is. First Paul wrote, “There are different kinds of gifts”. The word “gifts” imply that what God is giving us is given to us freely, just like a Birthday or Christmas gift. I believe this comes in the form of a passion or spiritual sense that God is initiating something in and through us. It is from God.
The second phrase that Paul used for clarification was “There are different kinds of service”. The word “service” implies that the gifts or those abilities or passions that were freely given to us by God, are to be used as a form of serving God. The word service is the same word that is used for ministry. Paul is implying that God has given you and I spiritual gifts that equip us for ministry. So here we see that the gift needs to go from a passion from God to a action.
The final phrase that Paul uses is “There are different kinds of workings.” The word “workings” is an exciting word. It is only used twice in the Bible, both times in this chapter. This word means the “effect or result” of the energy or the power of God. This is the final part of the puzzle. Not only is the passion from (a gift) God (spiritual), the working out of the Spiritual Gift is an effect of God!
When we put all three phrases together we see that a spiritual gift is:
An ability or prompting of the Holy Spirit, given to us freely, and is energized and empowered by God for His service.
Peter shares how each of us is to go from a passion to a practice of using our gifts and ministering to each other. In I Peter 4:11 he writes:
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
But if the gift is from God and not a “natural” gift, how do we obtain the use of it? The secret is in the word “received.” It is His gift, He must give it. It is always that way. You feel a burden to teach the word of God in a way that will move people to action. God will give you the ability to study, prepare and lead your mind through the maze of thoughts into a coherent message. You are in a situation and know that something is not clear. You sense the gift of discernment and through focus and concentration, you hear the “clear message” that God is trying to give you. The answer seems clear. The gift of Faith might take bold prayer and action. You will battle fear and doubt but the way seems sure and you become confident in what God has led you to believe. You see a person in physical need and God nudges you to pray for them. You know it is His will to heal and you pray in faith believing inviting God to manifest Himself in the supernatural.
In all the cases above you went from a Spiritual sensitivity to an awareness of what you should do to the actual stepping out in obedience to what you have been asked to do. So what are some steps that you can take in order to use the Spiritual Gift that God has given to you?
Check out your passions
Go to our definitions of the Spiritual Gifts in our book, Wired For Ministry and rate yourself on your passion toward each Spiritual Gift. When you do start to learn all you can about that Gift. Start to dialog with God about the gift and how He wants you to use it.
Start to Grow In Your Experience of the Gifts
Paul told Timothy to “stir up or exercise the gifts that he had.” Another way to say that is, “Get out there, try them out.” Get involved in ministry and see where your passions are. If you begin to think your gift is “helps”, go and be more deliberate. Go and help some people. If “mercy”, work somewhere you can be merciful. If it is “faith”, meet with the Pastor and start to trust God for great things at the church. If “healing”, start praying earnestly for sick people. As you get more involved in ministry where you think you may have a gift, you will soon find out if this gift is indeed a deep passion from God. If it is, experience will help fuel the fire. You will feel alive as if you found what God really wants you to do. And you have. As you continue to minister, God will help you learn about, modify and grow in your spiritual gifts.
This is the best way to find out what spiritual inclinations God has really given you. God has put us in a system where “time” and “growth” are natural everyday truths about our reality. We will begin to see that the passion He has given us, that quickening in our heart to act out in a certain way, is just the beginning of our walking in our Spiritual Gifts. We must grow in the gift. He must teach us and allow us to improve as we go along. We will move from passion to practice.
How about you? Has God shown you what your Spiritual Gifts are? How is it going in the actual outworking of your gifts? Feel free to comment to this post and let’s begin a dialog about going from passion to practice of our Spiritual Gifts.
Do you want to know more about your Spiritual Gifts? CLICK HERE for the FREE Spiritual Gifts Survey. To learn how you were wired for ministry CLICK HERE to preview the book, Wired For Ministry