One of the most blessed things God has given us, besides Jesus Christ, is the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are spiritual endowments from the Father that allow us to partner with the Divine Spirit to accomplish His will in the Earth. Isn’t that wonderful! It’s wonderful to know that the mountain-like task of preaching to a hardened world to save their souls, heal their sick, raise their dead, cast out their devils, and ultimately improve the world around us, does not rest completely in our hands. I think the most misunderstood idea in the Church today is the notion that God has somehow tasked us with a task that lacks an element of impossibility. However, nothing could be further from the truth! The task that He has laid on us is indeed impossible. If fact, it is so impossible that many, including all of the original disciples, except one, died horrid deaths trying to accomplish God’s task. Yes, the task ahead of us is impossible.
Why it is so important to see the task with the right perspective? It’s important to have the right perspective so that we know that our reliance on God is an absolute “must.” One of the most common themes throughout the Bible is that man “needs” God. It a simple concept that is often neglected and even rebelled against, not only by the secular world but even by the Church. Oh, we know that we need Him for some things, but we don’t always seem to understand that the Great Commission by Jesus Christ is given with the understanding that we are not going alone. He even says I do not send you out alone, but the Holy Spirit will be your Helper. The word Helper clearly implies that we are not able to do this alone. This is why we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit operable in our lives, ministries, churches, and mission today.
So with the understanding that we need the gifts, also comes the need to identify which gifts the Holy Spirit has placed in us. That is what this article is all about and that is what I intend to achieve moving forward. To do so I am going to present four principles that will help you to identify the spiritual gift God has given you.
#1 Don’t be ignorant! Know what gifts are available.
So what are the spiritual gifts? If you only took the advice of some circles you would think that the only gifts that God seems interesting in developing are those found in 1 Corinthians 12: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophecy, gifts of healings, working of miracles, discerning of spirits, tounges, and interpretation of tounges. There are, however, more gifts than these to consider. There are the ministry gifts: prophets, apostles, evangelist, teachers, pastors. There are also what some call motivational gifts or gifts that drive you to do something. I disagree with this characterization of the gifts in Romans 12:3-8, but they are gifts we need to consider. They are prophecy, exhortation, teaching, giving, serving, mercy, and leadership.
The first step in discovering your spiritual gift is being educated about what they are and what they do. For instance, a lot of pastors seem threatened by the idea of prophets, but at the same time have very little understanding of the prophet’s ministry. Some have even attempted to define it to no avail, even to their demise as they wrongly define it by the actions of Old Testament prophets and not their ministries. So, if the pastor doesn’t understand the gift he or she is trying to teach to others, how can you expect people to walk in that gift successfully? This all means that we must first become educated about what the gifts are. In fact, before the Apostle Paul discusses anything about the gifts the first thing he does is make this statement, “Concerning spiritual gift, my brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant (without knowledge of or about) (see 1 Cor. 12:1). If Paul thought it was necessary to understand the gifts to ensure their proper use, then why would we think that we can use something properly that we have not taken the time to familiarize ourselves with. Therefore, I urge you to study the gifts. I speak about them extensively on my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmIkiF6bc5-zcR6LgjzRjCXuy0fGPLG05, and there are several good books that address the issue as well. With such a vast amount of resources available, I invite you to learn what the are and how they operate.
#2 Follow the flow.
In my last article series, Moving in the Power of God Parts 1and 2, I wrote about being able to choose to move in a flow of God’s power. I used a statement by Jesus that says in short that there would be a flow of the Holy Spirit out of the spirit of those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. From that idea, I used an illustration of a water faucet attached to the wall of a dam filled with water. I also gave an activation exercise that uses this imagery to get believers to see themselves as a source through which God’s power would flow to meet the needs of a thirsty world. Now I want to add to that idea by asking the question what makes you flow? That question is essential to you knowing which gifts are in you or in your recreated design.
Now I know that the idea of God giving us “specific” gifts is not widely popular in the world of spiritual gift training and activation. In these circles, it is generally taught that a person can operate in all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit because the same Holy Spirit resides in us all. That is true. However, that is also not true at the same time. You see, Paul presents us with a few ideas 1 Corinthians 12. The first is the idea of God’s sovereign delegation of gifts to us all. He says, “To one is given…” The key words being “one” and “given.” This means that God sovereignly gives each of us a gift, or endowment, or ability. Then Paul says later in chapter 14:1, that we should desire the best gifts and especially prophecy. This means that while God may give us some gifts through sovereignty, He also allows us to gain access to others by a desire for them.
The problem we have today is people seem more interested in going after the gifts they want instead of spending the time to discover the gifts that God has given them. What this leads to is what I call inconsistent situational ministry. This is “ministry” that operates with no clear goal in mind. It operates on the basis of being all things to all men and never has a long-term vision. It is also generally the result of someone selling people on their way of ministering. And what people are discovering as they operate in the vision of someone else, regardless of how power filled the moment, is that they are still unfulfilled in the sense of purpose and destiny. Sure, they can get a person healed or give them a word, but they have no clear sense of consistent and meaningful ministry. They just operate as the situation arises and hide behind the vast idea of the Great Commission. But Paul lets us know that understanding our sovereign gifting is important to our purpose in the body. He said we are all members but we do not all perform the same function.
So my second point, follow the flow, is the most important to those in search of their purpose in life and understanding how God has specifically gifted them to contribute to His plan. This means that we must answer the question of what makes us flow? And what feels natural?
After you understand what the gifts are, ask yourself this question; If I am in a room full of people, as a faucet attached to a dam filled with water, what makes me turn on the flow? How do I feel inclined or inspired to meet the need? And remember the Holy Spirit is not someone that we conjure up but to the contrary, He is the One who is actively reaching out to quench the thirst of those in our lives. The most obvious example of this is seen in Matthew 9:36, the Bible says that Jesus was moved compassion to pray for the sick that followed Him. That word “moved” means that Jesus felt compelled to meet the healing need before Him. He felt the Holy Spirit within Him reaching out or flowing out to meet that particular thirst in His ministry.
What thirst do you feel compelled to satisfy? Do you feel compelled to heal? Do you feel compelled to foretell or broadcast God’s plan? Do you feel compelled to teach and explain? Do you feel compelled to nurture? Do you feel compelled to speak to communities outside of your language barrier? What do you feel compelled to do? How do you feel the Spirit of God flowing out of your spirit?
#3 Look for consistency.
Again, this is an important concept to consider in our “everyone can move in all the gifts” culture. What is the most consistent way you feel compelled to meet the need? Again this begs us to answer the question, what feels natural? Romans 12:3-8 list a series of gifts that some have come to define as motivational gifts. By the term motivational, they mean how we feel inspired or driven to meet the need. The problem I have with this doctrine is that it is very easy to confuse our natural tendencies with our spiritual tendencies. Likewise, I meet people who have always been upbeat personalities claiming to be exhorters, professional teachers who claim to have the gift of teaching, and leaders in the marketplace who claim to be spiritual leaders. The reason I don’t like this idea of motivational gifts is the fact that it often leads to absolutely nothing! The theory is that our motivational gifts inspire us and lead to manifestation gifts. Yet I know many people who will boldly proclaim their motivational gifts and have no evidence of a single manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power gifts. So I am inclined to ignore this doctrine.
In fact, a study of Romans 12:3-8, actually leads to the opposite conclusion. Romans 12:4 says, For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. The word “function” in the greek means consistent results. This passage validated two ideas one, though we may all have the same Holy Spirit, we do not all have the same manifestations of that one Spirit. And two, when we do allow God to manifest His gifts there will be a consistent manifestation. Further, this passage also validates the idea that “motivational gifts” don’t lead to manifestations, but consistent manifestations lead to ministry revelations. What this all means is that the manifestations that you feel compelled to release over and over again, will reveal your ministry role in the body.
#4 Pay attention to the opportunities.
Paying attention to how God moves to meet the needs around you, and knowing how the gifts manifest consistently through you, leads to seeing God-appointed opportunities. The last question I want you to consider is, what opportunities does God create for me to use this gift? Another way of posing this question is what do you see? The idea here is that God will with the gift give you opportunities to use that gift. Now recognizing those opportunities boils down to what does God cause you to see all the time.
Here is an example from my own life. Some time ago God began speaking to me about the healing ministry. Until that time I had hardly noticed sick people. But after my conversation with the Lord, I saw sick people everywhere. When I went to the store I saw multiple people in casts and with canes. When I was in casual discussions with strangers I could see the slightest indication of some type of ailment. Once I was talking to a woman with a full head of hair when all of a sudden a portion of hair fell away from her face revealing a hearing aid. I’ve even had instances of driving down the street when suddenly I felt compelled to look out of the corner of my eye at someone walking down the street only to see someone limping or in a cast or in a wheelchair. Each time there would be people in need of healing and I could not help but see them. Now I don’t think God started herding all the sick people into places where I was going. He simply opened my eyes to a need that had always been there. For others this manifest as seeing demonized people. Think about it for a minute. How many times have you come across the path of demonized people? Some people see them all the time.
My mother was another perfect example of this principle. She had gifts of teaching, word of wisdom, and the gift of mercy. Through these gifts, she gave what most considered great compassion-filled counsel. When she spoke advice into your life you were inclined to listen. Likewise, when you spoke to her you knew that she really cared about what you were saying. This particular aspect of her ministry would manifest as strangers would walk up to her and that tell her all of their personal business. I remember saying to her as a child observing all of this, “What is wrong with these people? Why are they telling you their most deep and dark secrets and they don’t even know you? You are a stranger to them! What is going on here?” I didn’t understand it then, but now I understand that God was giving her the opportunity to use the gifts that He had placed on the inside of her to quench the thirst of those in need. And it happened all of the time! Eventually, God gave her an opportunity to use these gifts in a group setting all the time, as she was appointed to work with women within the church who had experienced life traumas. I cannot tell you the impact that she had on the lives of those broken women. When she was dying those women were there for her as daughters not as students. And it was all the result of her taking notice of the consistent God-appointed opportunities in her life.
So what does God cause you to see all the time? What opportunities does He place in front of you? If He has consistently caused your paths to cross the same type of need then He has also gifted you to meet that need.
In closing I want you to consider these four principles. #1 Don’t be ignorant! Know what gifts are available. #2 Follow the flow. How do you feel compelled to meet the need? #3 Look for consistency. How does God show Himself through your over and over again? And last #4 Pay attention to your opportunities. What ministry opportunities does God consistently put before you? Considering all of the things in this article will help you find the manifestation and ministry gift that God has given to you.