“My, you are a bossy little thing, aren’t you?” – actual words said to me as a child. Also said to me as a teenager, and young adult. At the time I laughed it off and didn’t think much of it until I realized that there was some truth in that statement. You see, I didn’t grow up in the church and didn’t really even know where to begin when I gave my life to Christ at twenty-one years old.
As a new believer I thought I had to hide my bossy-self, or at least dial it back some so that I would be accepted. I don’t think that I realized it at the time but God had actually given me some natural leadership abilities. It wasn’t until I went through a class at my church that I was made aware that not only did I have leadership abilities, but I was also given a leadership gift. Part of understanding and developing that gift was to round out the rough edges and use my gift to serve the Kingdom.
Before I get ahead of myself any further, let’s get right to the basics for a minute:
- What are spiritual gifts?
- Who gets them?
- When do we get them?
- Why do we have them?
- How are we to use them?
Let’s be honest, these are real questions that we, at one time or another, have asked ourselves or even a trusted friend from church. I’d love to take a minute to dig into this with you.
When you first became a believer you were given a spiritual gift. Everyone has at least one, some have more and some, as they develop and mature in their faith, will be given more gifts.
So, the question of who gets a spiritual gift is this…every single one of us as believers gets a gift.
Your spiritual gift has been uniquely and specifically given to you. Your gift will not be like my gift, and neither will it be like your friend’s gift. That’s actually great news and I’ll tell you why in just a bit.
Ok, so we’ve talked about the “who” gets them, the “when” do we get them, and now I’d love to share a little bit about the “what” they are because honestly, this is where it starts to get really exciting.
Let’s go right to the Scriptures to find out more about spiritual gifts. There are two places in the Bible I’d love for us to read through to get a better understanding, the first is in Romans 12:3-8 ESV where it says,
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;
8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Then, let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 ESV where it says,
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
That is absolutely incredible, right?
So how do we know what gift(s) that we have been given to offer in service?
This is where it’s important to take some time to ask God to show you. There are a few really great spiritual gifts tests online, most of them are free, that can help you zero in on what God has given you. (Check out the links at the bottom of the article.)
It would also be great to talk to a trusted pastor, leader, friend and ask them what they see in you. Sometimes it’s hard to discern what we are naturally good at and what God has supernaturally given us as a spiritual gift, so be patient with the process. It’ll be worth the wait to get a clear picture of your gift(s).
Now that you’ve started to uncover your gift(s) it’s time to get out there and use them. God created you and there is no one like you. In His divine design of you He created you to meet a specific need and purpose in the world and in the body of Christ (generally seen as the local church).
When you step up and use your gifts you are doing exactly what He created you to do. For me, being seen as a “bossy” little girl was the first hint of the leadership gifts He has given me. It’s now up to me to use that gift and steward it for the Kingdom.
A word of warning, it’s so easy to be distracted by someone else’s gifts. Oh you know how we can be– we look at our instagram feed and secretly long for “what they have.” But then guess what, when we do that we are no longer running the specific race that He has called us to run.
At that point we look around, get distracted and next thing we know it’s become all about us and not at all about what He created you to do. When you know what your gifts are, then you can zero in and focus on your specific call on your life, not someone else’s. Let’s be a community of people who are so focused on what He has called us to that the only time we look over at someone else’s gift is to cheer them on and then keep running our own race.
My gifts are what make me unique.
Your gifts are what make you unique.
When you know what your gift(s) are, then you don’t have to look to the left or the right to see what other people are doing because you know that what you are doing can impact not only your community of believers, but also the Kingdom as a whole. And let me tell you from experience…there’s no feeling like that in the world.
We need you to do the unique thing He created you to do. If you don’t then He will find someone that will and you will miss out on the blessing of being used by God. It’s time for us to step up and use our gifts for His glory.
Links to Spiritual Gifts Tests
Ministry Coach & Co-Founder of The Mashburns Consulting Group