A few months ago, our pastor did a sermon on spiritual gifts. If you’ve been in the church long, you’ve likely heard your fair share on spiritual gifts. The topic wasn’t new but what he shared had me wondering why we would ever think to operate a ministry, business, committee or even a Bible study without finding out and making sure each person was using their spiritual gifts.
As a lover of personality tests and living in a generation where we’re all trying to figure out who we are meant to be or what we are meant to do, it’s easy to see spiritual gifts as a way to identify me and even serve me but we water down the incredible power of spiritual gifts when we do that.
Here are some things I never realized that my pastor, Dennis Malcolm mentioned:
1. Your spiritual gift came when you received the Holy Spirit at salvation. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
This is not your natural aptitude, or what you were born with. It is literally a gift every believer has been given beyond our personality and talents. I could have never mustered it up on my own. Obviously, every talent we were given at birth was from God too but this is different. It’s my literal superpower from the Lord when I entered into salvation. This is simple, but my mind was blown and I am recognizing what an untapped resource this can be and how maybe some of our striving and struggles as a church can come from neglecting to operate out of spiritual gifts.
2. Christian growth is a group project. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
We need each other. Growth comes when we are all functioning in our gifts together. And you can’t embrace community until you realize you have something to offer and others have something to offer.
My expectation of spiritual gifts was a bit more disjointed before. But now, when I picture believers in the church uniting in using their individual gifts, it’s like all the puzzle pieces match up and you realize how silly it was to focus on how great your individual piece is when the real beauty is seeing it as a part of a grander picture.
3. Our gifts are part of God’s big plan. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
God chose the gift to give you as part of a greater plan of redemption. How many of us are wondering how God wants to use us? Or trying to figure out our purposes or callings by God? If you long to be used by God, seek to figure out your spiritual gift. He’s literally equipped each of us with a gift to do His work. Maybe the frustration we feel comes when we try to mimic what God called someone else with a different gift to do.
4. Manage the tension.
I think we can get too bogged down in identifying and labeling things so there’s definitely a tension we need to manage. Don’t agonize over figuring out your gift so that you can most optimally be serving. Honestly, the best way to figure out our gifts may not be taking a test but likely will be actually serving. Pray for the Lord to reveal to you or think about where people ask you to help most often.
So many times, we are longing to be used by God and I think it’s easy to neglect how He has specifically equipped us for His kingdom work.
My hope is that you’ll not only figure out what that gift is and fully use it but to encourage others to use theirs as well.
Here’s the question I want us to think about:
What would it look like if those ministries we formed, the small groups, the non-profits – what if the roles we took on were viewed in light of our spiritual gifts instead of a sign up list? What if the one who was specially equipped by God for teaching, for administration, etc. was actually in that role?
Can you imagine the impact?
Listening to the sermon, I just became overwhelmed with the efficiency of this. That might sound really silly and unspiritual, but I think sometimes we make things way more complicated than we need to and isn’t working with others already difficult? Why would we not seek to work as the Lord has specifically gifted us as often as possible?
To listen to the sermon, click here and scroll down to the November 25, 2018 sermon, For the Common Good.
Thank you for your great post. I also enjoy personality tests. I am a retired addiction counselor and when we conducted biopsychosocial assessments, we utilized certain personality trait testing.
Christine C Sponsler
I missed this part: The spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit is even stronger than the personality testing 😀