When I was in middle school, there was what was called the “gifted program.” I suppose those who were part of this group had a particular aptitude in specific areas of learning to belong to this group. I was a late bloomer academically and was not part of this program. However, I am gifted. In fact, every Christian is gifted.
There are two Greek words in the New Testament that describe the gifts of the Spirit. One refers to the source of the gifts being from the Holy Spirit, and the other signifies that they are granted as an act of God’s grace. The Spiritual gifts are given to believers by the love of God and are not based on our worthiness. God, in His sovereignty, chooses the gifts He gives to each and every follower of Christ according to His divine plan.
Unlike our abilities that are developed over time, spiritual gifts are given by the Spirit of God. Therefore, the gifts are part of the new life received through faith in Christ. They even may be drastically different from our abilities, although often one compliments the other. Paul offers this explanation: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:4-7).
Paul points out that there is great diversity in the gifts and ministry of His church. The church is the sum total of all believers living in the world today. Even so, there is unity in the body provided by the same Spirit, Lord, and God. John Wesley commented on this verse that there are “diverse streams, but all from one fountain.” No Christian is left without some “manifestation of the Spirit” in his or her life. The purpose of giving all followers of Christ these gifts is for “the common good.” Ministry is selfless service in the name of Christ for the sake of others.
We discover in the New Testament three passages that specifically list gifts and explain the gifting of believers. I don’t believe the intent is to present an exhaustive list but to offer a categorical picture of the gifts along with essential understandings of the purpose of such divine giftings. Paul writes of gifts in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Peter addresses gifts in 1 Peter 4:10-11. The common thread of teaching is that each gift fits together with the other gifts, and they all work together as the parts of the body to make a functioning whole. As Paul writes, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom 12:5).
There are spiritual gifts tests and various writings by authors to assist a believer in identifying their gifts. The Bible says believers are given spiritual gifts for a purpose. Paul explains in Romans 12:8 to use spiritual gifts according to the character of God and His revealed will. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:24-25: “God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” Spiritual gifts are to be used in unity. One gift is not greater than another. All are distributed in God’s perfect knowledge to be exercised to glorify God and bless others. It is worth mentioning that believers who utilize their gifts appropriately will be blessed as well. In writing on the purpose of the gifts, Peter explains “that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).
If you are a believer, you are gifted. You are an important part of the body of Christ. It takes the whole church working together to accomplish God’s purpose in and through us. The gifts Christians are given are from God and are to be used by them as a unified church for His divine work. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!