What are the gifts of the Spirit?
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other tongues? Do all interpret? But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way. 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
They are good things that the Spirit continues to give to all his people to serve, strengthen, and unify the Church in love.
There seem to be a lot of questions today among Christians about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Why are we given these gifts? Were we all called to prophesy? Were we all called to exercise the gift of miraculous healing? And what were these gifts for anyway? After all, as Christians, it’s easy to get down on ourselves and to wonder whether or not we have any gifts at all.
Paul talks about this issue especially in his first letter to the churches in Corinth. It looks as though some of the members of the church were looking down on others because they thought that their spiritual gifts were better than others. Some of those who exercised the gift of speaking in tongues before the whole congregation looked down on those who didn’t. Others who prophesied before everyone or performed a healing miracle before everyone looked down on those who didn’t.
So Paul wrote two long chapters about the issue to make three fundamental points. The first point being that every Christian has spiritual gifts. And to illustrate this point, Paul lists several of the spiritual gifts: the gift of wisdom, of knowledge, of faith, of healing, of miracles, of prophecy, of discernment, of speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. Secondly, this list isn’t meant to cover every gift, but to illustrate the point that every Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve and to strengthen the Church. Thirdly, Paul wants Christians to know that the point of spiritual gifts is to serve and to strengthen the Church.
So, it works like this: (1) There are many gifts, no one better than another. (2) Every Christian is gifted by the Holy Spirit. (3) The point of spiritual gifts is to serve and to strengthen the Church.
But how can we know what our spiritual gifts are? Remember, God gave you your spiritual gift to serve within the Church. So, the more time you spend around other Christians looking for ways to serve, the more likely it is that you will discover your spiritual gift.
Spend some time today asking God to fill you with Spirit and to empower you to serve his Church. This week, look for ways to begin serving others with your spiritual gifts. If you don’t know how, consider asking someone from your church for guidance.