How do I work out my gifts?
Discover how to find out how God has gifted you.
Spiritual gifts are a topic that many young Christian teens find quite fascinating. But how do you know how God has gifted you? Let’s find out!
But first… what is a spiritual gift?
A spiritual gift is a special gift or skill that God has given you. But it’s not just a gift or skill you’re supposed to use for your own enjoyment or success. It’s a gift that is designed to be used to build up or serve the Church – other Christians.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 explains:
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.
Spiritual gifts listed in the Bible including teaching, pastoring, serving, evangelism, prophesying, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, speaking in tongues, healing and more. Quite a list – and it’s likely not exhaustive!
In fact, there may be any other gifts we might define as ‘spiritual gifts’ because they are used to serve the Church. Gifts like being skilled at a musical instrument or singing, cooking, welcoming newcomers, operating technology or making a budget.
So how do I find out what my gift is?
Well, it’s actually not too hard! There are a few things that you can do to find out how God has gifted you.
Think about what you’re good at.
Are you good at playing guitar? That could be a spiritual gift! Do you have a knack for making people feel welcome and comfortable? That could be a spiritual gift! Is your delicious chocolate brownie a crowd pleaser at church supper? That could be a spiritual gift! The common factor here is that you’re serving the church with something you’re good at.
Think about what you enjoy doing.
If there’s something that you’re good at, it may not be something to be used as a spiritual gift if you resent using that gift! God want us to serve him willingly, not reluctantly.
Think about what your church needs.
If a spiritual gift is a gift from God designed to help the church, it makes sense that often if there’s a need to be filled, God will give someone a desire or skill to feel that need!
But wait! I don’t like my gifts!
Sometimes people feel like they wish they could have a ‘cooler’ or ‘better’ gift. I think there are two things to say here.
Firstly, if you want a different gift, you can actually ask God to give it you, and pursue that gift. For example, you could learn to play guitar! But your motivation is important.
Spiritual gifts are not to make ourselves look or feel better – they are to serve the church. So if you’re looking for a new spiritual gift to improve your reputation or impress others, you might be better off leaning into the gifts you already have and focusing on humbling yourself in the service of God.
Secondly, the Bible tells us that God doesn’t make mistakes: he gave you your specific gifts for a reason! Have a read of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (it’s a long passage but it’s an important one!)
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
If you’re keen to learn more about spiritual gifts, keep reading more of 1 Corinthians – it’s a great letter on this topic!