Relationship With Others 103: Spiritual Gifts

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Everyone in Christ has been granted spiritual gifts

  • The spiritual gifts are highly important to understand if you really want to know your identity in Christ (1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4:1-16,Romans 12:1-8, 1 Peter 4:7-11)
    • You are personally responsible for your spiritual gifts
  • The Body of Christ has many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12)
    • This means it’s one unit with different parts and not necessarily a bunch of diverse people who meet together
    • These distinctions of spiritual gifts come under Christ, since we are nothing without Him (John 15:5)
    • Everyone in the Body is equally important, and spiritual gifts all have their place
  • God has given your gifts through the Holy Spirit (James 1:17)
    • You can’t do anything to change them, improve them or make them apart from His design (1 Corinthians 12:4-6,11)
    • However, at the same time it’s good to desire the greater gifts that are more useful for building up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:31,13:5,13:12)

Though most Christians don’t know this, there are different types of spiritual gifts

  • Church position gifts were given to the New Testament Church instead of to individuals (Ephesians 4:1-18)
    • They reflect positions that Christ gave to help His gifts to be used for unified growth into a Church Body
  • Situational gifts are given as God sees fit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
    • These are always connected to specific situations to do God’s work, and they are available to all fully surrendered believers in response to prayer
  • Sign gifts were given to the Apostles to start the 1st-century Church (1 Corinthians 12-14)
    • Sign gifts are the exact same as situational gifts, except with far more spiritual power and authority specific to the Apostles
      • The level of authority and power that the Apostles showed has never been seen anywhere before or after in recorded history
    • They were given for 2 specific reasons:
      1. To give authenticity to their claims of being the apostles of the risen Christ by showing the same level of spiritual power that Jesus did (Acts 2:22, Acts 2:43, Acts 5:12-16)
      2. To give an authoritative source of divine revelation until the timing when the Scriptures were completed and God’s revelation to man in the Bible became systematically arranged and absolute (John 17:13-17, Revelation 22:18-20)
    • There were several types of signs shown to prove authenticity:
      • Sign healing included restoring limbs and resurrecting the dead (Acts 3:1-10, Acts 9:37-40, Acts 20:9-12)
      • Sign miracles had a variety of powers, from protecting a ship’s crew to avoiding death from a poisonous snake bite (Acts 27:31,44, Acts 28:3-6)
        • This wide variety makes it hard to make any defined difference between it and the Old Testament’s miracles
      • Sign revelation was specifically from an Apostle and gave authority and accuracy on the level of Scripture (1 John 4:1-3)
        • Sign prophecy had so much authority that it actually became the New Testament (2 Peter 1:20-21)
        • Sign tongues included the ability to speak in unlearned languages that others knew (Acts 2:4-11)
  • Motivational gifts are given to every Christian of every age
    • Unlike the other gifts, these gifts are based around special motivations (Romans 12:1-8)
      • These motivations will be for building up individuals in the Body of Christ and ultimately increase the strength of the entire Church
      • Motivational gifts are a continuous internal drive of the Holy Spirit shown through our personalities
      • The results of the motivational gifts are supernatural, but the motivations that start them don’t necessarily look supernatural
      • When most Christians talk about “spiritual gifts”, they’re talking about spiritual motivational gifts

Motivational gifts are given according to the personalities of the people who are following Christ

  • Teaching is motivated to dive into the intricacies of God’s Word and communicate its findings to others in clear, precise and thorough way with little regard to it being a “formal” teaching setting (Romans 12:7)
    • Deeply enjoys studying God’s Word, even for long hours and with a lot of effort
    • Tends to be exceptionally thorough in both studying and presenting Scripture
    • Deep, inner motivation to know the “whole truth” along with deeply desiring to explain it to others
    • Deep frustration with anything seen in others’ teaching as superficial research, inaccuracies, inconsistent uses of words
    • Tends to test the knowledge level of others who teach them
    • Able to explain complicated ideas in a way that people can understand and benefit from biblical truths
    • Consistently tries to improve teaching method and content to help people understand even more clearly the information being taught
    • People who have been influenced by them will feel a greater sense of understanding on matters
  • Prophecy/declaration is motivated to declare God’s Word to others boldly, without compromise and without corruption (Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:11)
    • Deeply motivated to find and clarify righteousness and then confront evil
    • Tends to often see moral issues as right/wrong with no gray areas
    • Deeply feels a need to share inner convictions publicly as an act of obedience to God
    • Willing to take a public stand that is both strong and controversial
    • While sharing publicly, people respond as if it’s God’s authority and experience a deep conviction in their hearts
    • Suffers a great difficulty with handling situations where evil is ignored or not dealt with in a clear way by those responsible
    • Deeply depends on biblical authority when speaking, and communicates with an attitude of “thus says the Lord”
    • People who have been influenced by them will have more clarity about God’s perspective on a matter
  • Exhortation/encouragement is motivated to  encourage and build up others to be what God wants them to be (Romans 12:8)
    • Deeply driven to encourage and build others up through communicating the content and principles of God’s Word
    • Has a hard time communicating anything that might have a negative or demotivating effect on others
    • Able to see a specific goal and communicate it to others in a way that they want to pursue it
    • Tends to inspire others to share their innermost secrets and heartaches and then be comforted, encouraged and motivated from the response
    • Able to translate biblical truths into practical, real-life experiences where it greatly changes peoples’ lives
    • Consistently in the role of advisor or counselor in thinking and communicating
    • Frustrated with teaching and truth that seems impractical or hard to translate into Christian growth and inspiration
    • People who have been influenced by them will feel better and stronger after the discussion
  • Serving is motivated to meet others’ needs with very little consideration for self-interests (Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28)
    • Deeply driven to help other people by meeting their practical needs
    • Intuitively sees others’ needs and immediately responds to help meet them in a practical way
    • Relentless in the ability to serve others with joyfulness and with no complaint
    • Willing to do things that others might consider menial
    • Focuses on fulfilling practical and concrete needs while not considering more abstract needs
    • Loves doing service with no recognition at all, especially ones that help leaders’ effectiveness
    • People who have been influenced by them will feel touched by the physical sacrifice they made for them
  • Giving is motivated to take care of others’ material needs without praise, as a challenge to others, and without fear of financial consequences (Romans 12:8, 2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
    • Sensitive to the material needs of others and the material needs of God’s work
    • Deeply wants to give whatever they have to meet others’ material needs without any consideration for personal consequences
    • Enjoys giving anonymously without drawing attention to themselves or the gift
    • Has a deep belief that everything anyone owns belongs to God and only sees money as a means to an end for God’s work
    • Has a pattern of success in handling personal finances and almost instinctively acquires wealth
    • Once they’ve matured, they will naturally acquire things more easily that God can use for them to give
    • Desires to use giving as a motivational tool to challenge others to give
    • People who have been influenced by them will have all of their physical needs met, though they may not know from where or how someone could have known
  • Mercy is motivated to aid and comfort heartbroken, grieving, exploited and downtrodden people (Romans 12:8)
    • Deeply motivated to reach out to suffering people
    • Able to stay cheerful, show mercy and not become depressed from the interaction
    • Able to genuinely feel others’ pain in a way that they know that someone cares for and hurts for them
    • Loves ministering to the needs of hurting people by sharing time, talent and possessions openly
    • Intuitively knows when others are hurting, even when there are few or no outward signs
    • Internally aches for others, sometimes to the point of crying when hearing of others who have been hurt
    • Especially sensitive to others’ feelings in a way that they may view others without that sensitivity as callous or harsh
    • People who have been influenced by them will feel accepted and comforted that someone else understands what they’re going through
  • Ruling/administration is motivated to order, organize, lead and manage the affairs of the Body (Romans 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:28)
    • Deeply driven to see things done in an orderly and efficient manner, and feels a lot of unease and frustration when they aren’t
    • Finds a lot of enjoyment in taking a messy management system and sorting it out, structuring it and making it work smoothly
    • Tends to assume responsibility for organizing things when no structured leadership is doing it
    • Intuitively understands the types of details that others often overlook and naturally understands the fine elements of a plan to make it happen
    • Strong desire to complete projects as fast as possible and needs to have tasks that have clear ends to them, hates never-ending or very long-term tasks
    • Has a clearly fair and unbiased approach to the different parts and viewpoints that make a good solution, very little influence from feelings or personal desires when administering
    • Willing to carry out details of plans that others have created
    • People who have been influenced by them will be amazed at how smooth things are running and how well-organized everything is
  • Faith is a motivation to trust God implicitly and radically in every situation and to take the lead in showing God’s trustworthiness (1 Corinthians 12:8)
    • Completely unwavering in the face of overwhelming obstacles and evidence to the contrary
    • Constantly motivated to trust God in every single matter
    • Able to operate with little or no visible resources and fully confident that God will provide when needed
    • Able to clearly visualize what God’s work will do and thanks Him sincerely for it before it can be seen physically
    • Consistently expects that God is working and will work when there are significant obstacles and little or no evidence to support the expectation
    • Believes that God will work a miracle even when there’s no known certainty about God’s miraculous work
    • Strongly desires to motivate others to have implicit faith in God and for them to join in expecting miracles
    • Able to keep unshaken faith even when a miracle isn’t expected and nobody else seems to visualize the solution
    • People who have been influenced by them will first think that person’s crazy, and then will learn to trust God more
  • An example of the motivational gifts: a group of believers are eating around a table when someone drops an expensive gravy dish and breaks it, spills the gravy on the floor, and ruins a new suit
    • The gift of serving helps resolve the situation by grabbing a towel and rushing to clean up the mess
    • The gift of ruling/administration says, “John, you get the mop while you, Jane, get a bucket of hot, soapy water. Mark, would you grab the other end of the table so we can move it back? That way we can get at the spots on the floor more easily.”
    • The gift of exhortation/encouragement says, “That’s okay, my friend, we all have accidents, and we all know you didn’t mean to drop it. I’m sure God will work it all out for the best.”
    • The gift of prophecy/declaration says, “You know the Lord says in Job 5:7 that ‘Man is born for trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!”
    • The gift of mercy says, “I feel so sorry for you. That ruined your new suit, didn’t it? My heart aches for you knowing how embarrassed and disappointed you must feel.”
    • The gift of faith says, “Let’s trust the Lord together for the money for a new suit and a new gravy dish! I believe God will provide it in a miraculous way before the end of the month!”
    • The gift of giving slips an envelope under the table with a hundred dollar bill in it bearing the note, “Toward a new suit and gravy dish – your friend in Christ”.

Spiritual motivational gifts have a downside

  • Motivational gifts are built into a person’s spirit, which is made alive in Christ
    • Unbelievers can still demonstrate some of the potential of spiritual motivational gifts when inspired by human goodness
    • The latent gifts are activated by the Holy Spirit when spiritually reborn
    • Spiritual motivational gifts are developed through spiritual growth and maturity from walking by the Holy Spirit’s power
  • There is an unfortunate result of this arrangement
    • Motivational gifts can be motivated by our own selfish and prideful spirits apart from the Holy Spirit’s guidance
    • This can do tremendous damage to the Body of Christ by operating in the wrong direction
  • Teaching, when misused, turns the person into an intellectual snob
    • Desiring study and knowledge can become intellectual or doctrinal pride
    • Knowing God’s Word can make a critical attitude toward anyone generally unteachable or with less knowledge
    • The emphasis on knowing in-depth can become obsession with unimportant Scripture details with little practical value
    • Scripture knowledge can be a basis for engaging in useless arguments (2 Timothy 2:23)
  • Prophecy/declaration, when misused, turns the person into a jerk
    • Revelations can be used to bluntly hurt others who are given the revelation
    • Can become self-righteous by declaring evil to others with clarity but overlooking personal shortcomings
    • The desire to see evil judged can inspire them to assume responsibility for carrying out judgment outside of their jurisdiction
    • The desire for things to be clearly right or wrong can make them completely blind to other very important factors, circumstances or motivations
  • Exhortation/encouragement, when misused, turns the person into a flake
    • While trying to avoid saying potentially discouraging things, they may refuse to confront clear sin issues or failings in others’ lives
    • The power to build others up can also manipulate or control others, discourage them or guide them into a dependent relationship
    • Privileged information others share freely with them can be handled unwisely or maliciously
    • The desire to give constructive counsel will drive them to give unsolicited advice that harms their reputation and causes division
  • Serving, when misused, turns the person into a guilt-tripper
    • Their self-perceived selflessness can easily become a martyr attitude or self-pitying indulgence
    • The desire to serve might get them involved in responsibilities or situations they have no authority to operate or aren’t welcome in
    • They may see others that don’t see or act on chances to serve as uncaring or lazy
    • They might overlook deeper spiritual or emotional needs of others in their attempt to meet physical needs
  • Giving, when misused, turns the person into a power-monger
    • They might try to gain control or power through the gifts they give
    • They might look for prideful recognition for their giving and lose their reward with God (Matthew 6:5)
    • They might become bitter at people that consistently ask for money instead of joyfully dealing with the inevitable result of the gift of giving
    • Their material blessing from God might lead them to greed, attachment to material things or living wastefully
  • Mercy, when misused, turns the person into a bleeding-heart
    • Their sensitive spirit needed for the gift of mercy might easily turn into constant hurt feelings, frequent crying and hypersensitive fragility
    • The desire to show mercy might completely blur the need to hold others accountable, give appropriate discipline or practice tough love
    • They might become bitter at what they see as insensitivity in those without the gift of mercy, especially those with the gift of prophecy or the gift of ruling/administration
    • The desire to help others in need can lead to foolish gullibility for anyone with a sad story, no matter how phony or exploitative, which might also include a refusal to listen to others’ warnings about those people
  • Ruling/administration, when misused, turns the person into a miserable bureaucrat
    • They may misuse their ability to see the many needed details in a task to inspire a resistance to any plan or vision with unpredictabale results or solutions, even the ones from God
    • They might make keeping order or efficiency through tasks as more important than people or their needs
    • They could become bitter at others with other motivations that add unpredictable elements into systems
    • The need to have clear ends to tasks might make them unwilling to take responsibility for long-term efforts with unclear end points, even in light of most of life having unclear end points
  • Faith, when misused, turns the person into a reckless risk-taker
    • The desire to trust God for big things might inspire pursuing foolish plans that presume on God’s providing more than honoring Him
    • The motivation of faith can lead to pridefully pursuing a foolish course against all wise counsel to prove the greatness of their faith
    • Being ability to see the completed vision of a great idea or dream can inspire destructive ignorance about the practical problems and challenges to carry it out
    • The ability to motivate others to believe in a dream can make people feel taken advantage of when the hard, practical realities cause the pursuit of the dream to slow down

As you walk in Christ, you will naturally discover your spiritual motivational gifts

  • Pay attention to a few things to find out what you’re doing
    • You “catch yourself” thinking and acting in keeping with that motivation most of the time, even with no external reason to do it
    • You can operate in the area of those motivational gifts for long periods of time with relatively little fatigue
    • When you operate in the area of your motivational gift, you get exceptional responses and affirmation from other mature Christians
    • The closer you walk with God the more motivation you have to exercise that motivation and the more results you see from using it

Use the following to identify your motivational gifts

  • Carefully and thoughtfully read the description of each facet of the motivation and write down the number on a separate sheet of paper, separated by category, that reflects your response as follows
    • 1 = “That DEFINITELY ISN’T me!”
    • 2 = “That DOESN’T SOUND MUCH like me”
    • 3 = “That MAY or MAY NOT describe me”
    • 4 = “That MAY WELL describe me”
    • 5 = “That DEFINITELY describes me!”
  • The gifts:
    • Teaching
      1. I get deep enjoyment from the study of God’s Word even for long hours and with much effort
      2. I tend to be quite thorough in both the study and presentation of God’s Word
      3. I have a deep, inner motivation to know the “whole truth” coupled with a deep desire to explain it to others
      4. I am annoyed by teaching that I view as based on superficial research or I feel is inaccurate or inconsistent in the use of biblical words
      5. I realize that I tend to test the level of knowledge of those teaching me God’s Word
      6. I have an ability to explain complicated spiritual concepts in such a way that people understand and benefit from biblical truth
      7. I make a consistent effort to improve my teaching method and content to enable people to understand even more clearly what is taught
    • Prophecy/declaration
      1. I have a deep motivation to identify and define righteousness and confront evil
      2. I have a strong tendency to see moral issues as clearly right or wrong with no gray areas
      3. I often have a deeply felt need to proclaim to others my inner convictions about right and wrong out of obedience to God
      4. When I share my convictions publicly, people often respond as if I have God’s authority, and they are convicted in their hearts by what I share
      5. I have great difficulty handling situations in which moral evil is overlooked or is treated lightly
      6. I am willing to take stands publicly that may be both strong and controversial
      7. I tend to rely deeply on scriptural authority when I speak and may even communicate an attitude of “thus says the Lord”
    • Exhortation/encouragement
      1. I have a deep, inner desire to encourage and build others through communicating the content and principles of God’s Word
      2. I am reluctant to communicate information or truth to others that may have a negative or demotivational effect on them
      3. It is common for others to share their innermost secrets or heartaches with me and, after sharing, to leave comforted, encouraged, and able to “go forward”
      4. I have an ability to translate biblical truth into practical, real-life experience in such a way that people’s lives are greatly changed by it
      5. I find myself rather consistently being an “advisor” or “counselor” to others and am annoyed when my counsel is not applied
      6. I get frustrated with teaching or truth that appears to me to be “impractical” or not easily translatable into Christian growth and up-building
      7. I have an ability to visualize a specific goal and to communicate it to others in a way in which they are eager and willing to pursue it
    • Serving
      1. I have a deep, inner desire to help other people by meeting their practical needs
      2. I seem to have an almost “intuitive” perception of the practical needs of others and an immediate response to reach out in a practical way to meet them
      3. I seem to have a virtually “tireless” ability to serve others, not only without complaining, but generally with great joy
      4. I am willing to do tasks that others might consider “menial” with no thought of their more abstract needs
      5. I tend to meet the practical or concrete needs of others rather than discern their more abstract needs
      6. I delight in serving, even if I get no recognition at all
      7. I delight in doing tasks that enable leadership to be more effective
    • Giving
      1. I have a sensitivity to recognize the material needs of others and of the work of God
      2. I have a deep desire to give whatever I have to meet the material needs of others with little or no regard for the consequences to me
      3. I get great enjoyment from meeting the material needs of others in an anonymous manner, drawing no attention to myself nor to the gift
      4. I am careful in the way I handle my personal finances and have a pattern of success – almost an “instinct” for wise money handling or acquiring wealth
      5. I have a deep conviction that all I own belongs to God, and I think I “flesh out” this conviction in relating to money and material things
      6. I tend to view money as just a means to do the work of God and not of any value in and of itself
      7. I like to give as a motivation to challenge others to give
    • Mercy
      1. I have an ability to empathize and sympathize in such a way that others know I care and hurt for them
      2. I delight in ministering to the needs of those who are hurting
      3. I delight in sharing time, talent, and treasure without restraint with those who are helpless, downtrodden, and exploited
      4. I seem to be able to “read” when others are hurting, even when there are few, if any, outward signs
      5. I have an ability to show mercy to hurting people without personally losing a cheerful spirit
      6. I “ache internally” and often weep when I learn of others who hurt, even if they are not personal acquaintances or friends
      7. Because of my personal sensitivity to others, I sometimes feel that those who do not respond the way I do to suffering are “callous” or “harsh”
    • Ruling/administration
      1. I have a deep, inner motivation to see things done in an orderly, efficient manner and feel uneasy or get frustrated when they are not
      2. I get great enjoyment from taking a management “mess” and sorting it out, structuring it, and getting it to work smoothly
      3. I have a tendency to assume responsibility for organizing things if no structured leadership exists to do so
      4. I have an almost “intuitive” feel for the kinds of details that others tend to overlook when they manage and an ability to examine a plan in terms of what it will take to execute the details of it
      5. I have a desire to see tasks completed as quickly as possible and a need to have tasks that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. I dislike tasks that “never end” or that have very long terms to them
      6. I tend to be quite objective and fair in my approach to the ingredients and perspectives that are part of a solution. I am not influenced much by feelings or personal desires when administering
      7. I am willing to carry out the details of plans that are created by others
    • Faith
      1. I have a deep and consistent motivation to trust God in big and little matters
      2. I have an ability to operate with little or no visible resources and maintain an abiding confidence that God will provide them when needed
      3. I have an ability to visualize clearly the work that God will do and to thank Him sincerely for it before it can be seen with the eyes of sight
      4. I have a consistent attitude of expectation that God is working and will work, even when there is no confirming evidence to support the expectation and there are significant obstacles in view
      5. I have the belief that God will “work a miracle” even in situations in which there is no known precedent for God’s miraculous work
      6. I have a strong desire to motivate others to have implicit faith in God and to have them join in expecting miracles
      7. I am able to keep my faith unshaken even in situations in which a miracle is not forthcoming and a solution is not received as I had visualized
  • After writing down the numbers, add the numbers together for each category and your total will indicate the following:
    • 30-35 points = You MOST LIKELY have that motivation
    • 24-29 points = You MAY WELL have that motivation
    • 17-23 points = It is HARD TO TELL whether or not you have that motivation
    • 11-16 points = You PROBABLY DON’T have that motivation
    • 5-10 points = You MOST LIKELY DON’T have that motivation
  • Place a star next to the gifts that you scored more than 30 points
    • These are most likely your gifts
    • Gifts scored 24-30 might be secondary motivations
    • If no scores were over 30, look for gifts or groups of gifts that are separated by other ones by at least 4
  • This inventory isn’t precise enough to track conclusions based on score differences of less than 3
    • Try grouping the highest and lowest gifts to make a more accurate assessment in this situation

These spiritual gifts have a greater purpose

  • The entire purpose of your spiritual gifts is for the benefit of the Body as a whole (1 Corinthians 12:12-20, Ephesians 4:16)
    • There are more than enough gifts in any church to do what God wants done, assuming those people actually use those gifts (1 Corinthians 1:4-7, Ephesians 4:7-13)
  • The only good motivation to exercise any of your gifts should be through love (1 Corinthians 12:7,12:31-13:3)
    • Love is a genuine concern for another that places their well-being above your own (1 Corinthians 13:3-7)
    • To be truly loving you need to be free from unconfessed sin, filled with the Holy Spirit and fully open for God to use your motivational gifts (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20)
    • God has created and uses all the spiritual gifts, and He should always receive the praise from them being used (Colossians 1:15-18)
  • You should use your gifts with boldness and authority, since God will make it fully obvious if you’re in the wrong (Romans 12:6-8)
    • As you mature in Christ, you will have an expanded ability with your spiritual gifts along with more and better gifts (1 Corinthians 13:11-13, 1 Corinthians 14:20-21, Ephesians 4:14-15)
    • The time period we live in means that it’s especially urgent to use our spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:7-11)
  • While we’re still on earth, these gifts are meant to strengthen the Body to bring about more discipleship and evangelism
Next: Evangelism