Thursday, January 13, 2011

what are your spiritual gifts?

Last night at the college group, I talked about spiritual gifts. I'll share a little here.

If you are a Christian, you have spiritual gifts. You might not know what they are, but you have them. You received them when you received Jesus into your heart and life. And here's what's so trippy: God already knew what gifts you were going to have! I never thought about that before. But Paul talked about it.

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines." (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

I love thinking about this because it reminds me how freaking amazing God is. He gives us these spiritual gifts so we can serve others, edify/lift up/encourage the church (His body), and glorify Him. And because he knows each of us fully, completely, and intimately (I mean, He did create us), He already knew what spiritual gifts he was going to give us when we made the decision to follow Him. I dig it.

(Side note: if you're reading this blog and you're not a Christian, I hope you know that I'm not saying "if you're not a Christian, you don't have any gifts or talents". You have natural talents, gifts, and abilities, whether or not you believe God gave them to you. But those are different from spiritual gifts.

I used the example of U2. Whether or not people like their music, I think most everyone would agree they are extremely talented musicians. They were gifted with good minds, strong musicality, talent on their instruments, and spent years and years practicing to get really good.

But spiritual gifts are given to Christians to bless the church and give glory to God. I hope that makes sense. And I hope this is something interesting to think about!)

Ok, so all Christians have spiritual gifts. So now is the fun part. Figuring out what they are! Do you have 20 minutes? Have you taken a spiritual gifts test before? There is a church out in Indiana (Carmel Lutheran Church) that put together one I really like. You can take it online here. Or you can download a PDF form from that website, print it out, and do it on paper.

This test is not an end; it's just a tool. It might not be completely accurate, because well, first of all, it's man-made. It's not from the bible. And second of all, WE take these tests. So be reeeeeally honest with yourself when you answer the questions. No one is going to see the test but you.

Even though tests like this aren't 100% accurate, they are helpful to give us an idea of what our gifts might be. And then when you find ways to use your gifts, you will know if they truly are your gifts or not. For example, my top spiritual gift is hospitality. I totally see that in my life. I LOVE making people feel welcome. I LOVE being that friendly presence, making people feel at home, taking care of them, loving them without question. I do that every Wednesday night when students come to the college group.

I come alive.
It brings me joy.
Others notice it and affirm that gift in my life.

Those are usually 3 good signs that you are truly using your spiritual gift. To bless and serve others. To build up the body of Christ. And ultimately to bring glory to God.

So go take the test. What were your top 3 gifts? Do you see those in your life? Did any surprise you?

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