Romans 12:6a – Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…
When you are a child, one of the most fascinating things to learn is how base colors are mixed to form a hue of other colors. For example, if you take three primary colors – red, yellow, and blue – you can mix them to make millions of colors with different colors and combinations.
Spiritual gifts are a bit like base colors. God the Holy Spirit gives each Christian believer at least one (and usually numerous) spiritual gifts. We are each also given different portions of a gift, along with a different combination of gifts that combine to give us our unique proverbial color for Christian service.
The goal of this study is to help you find how God has uniquely made you to glorify Him by serving others in ministry. To find your place on Team Jesus a few questions are helpful to get started:
- What things do you find joy in the Spirit doing?
- What things have people said you are innately good at?
- When people ask you for help, is there a common reason they are inviting your help?
- What people or things do you have a burden for and care about?
- What people or things do you see that need attention that other people tend to overlook?
- What abilities has God given you (e.g. athletic ability, sharp mind, natural rhythm or perfect pitch)?
- What resources has God given you that could be part of your ministry (e.g. wealth to give, a company that you own, technical training, job experience, etc.)?
- What life experiences has God used to shape your character that could be helpful in ministering to others going through similar things (e.g. an injury or illness, marriage or divorce, parenting or loss of a child, deliverance from an addiction, etc.)?
- What things energize and motivate you that might deplete or overwhelm someone else?
- What other things have you learned about God’s divine design of you through other resources (e.g. personality tests, vocational assessment tests, etc.)?
Not every Christian is called to vocational ministry, but every Christian is called to the “work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). This ministry work includes your job, your family, church, and community, and loving and serving people in your life on behalf of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to Christians and every Christian has at least one spiritual gift, and some people may have many (I Corinthians 12:11,18; Hebrews 2:4; I Peter 4:10). Christians are given their spiritual gift solely by God’s grace and can do nothing to earn or get a different gift because God chooses our gifts (Romans 12:6: I Corinthians 12:4-7, 11). As Christians, we do not choose our spiritual gifts, as God chooses them for us. Hebrews 2:4 says, “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” As Christians, we can all be immature at times. When we are, we covet the gifts of others rather than being content with the gifts we have. Like kids at Christmas, we are supposed to be grateful for the gifts we get to open, and also glad for the other kids who open their boxes to find different gifts than we did. Our Heavenly Father is perfect, and the gifts He chooses for us are best for us and faith is believing this fact and serving as He made us, not as we wished He’d made us.
Perhaps an illustration will help. Many years ago, a very kind young woman was determined to sing in the worship team for a ministry my wife Grace and I were a part of. Her entire family had been very musical for generations, with most everyone able to play multiple instruments and sing. Their informal family times together at home were the equivalent of incredible live concerts. Growing up in this family, she assumed that she was like everyone else and musically gifted. So, we gave her a microphone and what happened next was, to put it nicely, not great. She could not keep the beat or hit the note and struggled mightily. A bit embarrassed, she went home to practice for months, determined to lead worship. Some months later, she tried again…and had made no progress. I felt compassion for her as the Bible says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and she and I both are good at making noise that is not joyful for others to hear when singing to the Lord. As I talked with her, she felt like she was a failure and had no purpose to her life as she was not able to serve the Lord as she had wanted. In our conversation, she revealed that she was excelling at her job managing employees, balancing finances, and organizing schedules. God had hard-wired her to organize, administrate, and lead. Once she accepted her divine design, she started using her gifts and experiences to organize and lead the entire ministry. She was an incredibly helpful person and, before long, everyone was very grateful for her unique contribution and she found a lot of joy accepting who God made her to be and doing what God made her to do. The more she used her gifts, the more effective and fruitful she became. I want this same sort of experience for you.
As we have established, there are gifts, talents, and abilities that God gives us for ministry that are not listed in the Bible. However, as a general rule those spiritual gifts listed in the Bible fall into three broad categories:
- Serving gifts – deeds that build the Kingdom of God
- Speaking gifts – words that build the Kingdom of God
- Sign gifts – supernatural acts that point to the Kingdom of God
Over the next few days, we will look at particular serving, speaking, and sign gifts to hopefully help you pinpoint which ones you may be interested or gifted in.
What do Christian friends, and mature Christian leaders who have wisdom, say about how God has gifted you?
To find the 100+ page study guide and sermon series that accompanies this devotional series, or to find a free mountain of Bible teaching, visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.