Gifts Of Grace Pt 3 (ATP)
How do I know what my spiritual gifts are?
Romans 12:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Ephesians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
For the third and final part of answering this question I want to focus on what is referred to as the ministry gifts or offices and the things that can go along with them.
In Ephesians 4:10-12, the Bible talks about specific offices that humans can stand in and with those offices there are different abilities that reveal themselves as they are carried out. Though this isn’t an exhaustive dissertation on all of these, I am going to stick to what I think is relevant to the original question.
One of the more commonly recognized offices is that of the prophet with the ability to prophesy. Though a requirement to be a prophet is in the God given ability to prophesy, it does not mean that all prophecy will come from prophets. New Testament prophesy is not necessarily the telling of future events. 1 Corinthians 14:3 tells us, “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” I am used in prophecy often as I minister as a pastor. I will be preaching and the Spirit will direct me to say something or talk about something specific and it’s purpose is to help someone in the congregation. So often I have had people come to me and say, “That was speaking right to me! How did you know?” I didn’t, but God did and the purpose was to help them. I had been used to “prophesy” to people even when I wasn’t in ministry. I didn’t get goofy and say “this is from the Lord” or “the Spirit of God is saying” but I knew as I spoke He was speaking through me. Though I am not a prophet, this was certainly prophecy; I had no way of knowing it on my own.
These types of giftings, or others as taught in 1 Corinthians 12, are things that believers learn over being faithful to God. As you grow in His Word and seek Him, it will become easier to hear from Him and follow His leading. These sort of “giftings” are often taught about in error. For example, some people will claim, “I have the gift of discernment!” The trouble with this is 1, the Bible doesn’t talk about a gift of discernment and 2, knowledge of the truth gives everyone discernment. Yes, all Christians SHOULD be able to discern, sadly many do not. There is a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:10 called discerning of spirits but this is a whole other ball of wax.
The gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 are endowments or abilities given by the Holy Spirit to work with people carrying out specific ministries. The idea that all Christians get one or more of these is simply not scriptural. Their purpose is in the carrying out of the duties of a specific office, i.e. pastor, prophet, teacher, evangelist, apostle. Christians don’t just get these to use at will. Even the offices cannot use them at will. Prophesy may operate when the Spirit chooses, however a minister cannot turn it on. Where people get into trouble is when they try and make these things happen. There should be a reverential fear on any person being used in any of these types of giftings. The Bible warns about using them wrong and it is never good for the user.
This is not to say that God would not ever use certain gifts through a non-minister. Didn’t He use a donkey to prophesy? I’m just saying that it isn’t something we carry in our pouch and pull out at random. Like I’ve been saying all along, the gifts are used where and when God chooses to use them. There are times I wished I could prophesy, but couldn’t. There have been times when I wished I could preach and couldn’t, even as I’ve stood in the pulpit! God has a way of teaching us it isn’t us, only Him!
1 Timothy 3:1 says, “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.” If you sense a desire in you that you are called to a specific ministry office, the Bible says this is good. You may believe things about yourself and what you are called to that no one else sees or knows. Again, this happened with me. What I can say is this, if you know it to be true, no one else has to agree. Keep it to yourself. If it’s real, God will reveal it in ways to others APART from anything you can say and it will come to fruition. The Bible says about Mary when told she would give birth to Jesus that, “she pondered these things in her heart.” She didn’t make a social media post about it and didn’t go get business cards printed. She kept it between her and God and He brought it to pass.
In closing I remind you of what God reminded me of once when I was trying to make some things in ministry happen. 1 Corinthians 3:7 tells us, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” Follow God! If it’s God it’ll be good. Add your willingness and faithfulness and all that is needed when it is needed will come to pass. You have His Word on it!