I often receive questions from readers who have encountered the spiritual realm. They wonder, “Is this experience a sign that I have a spiritual gift?”
Today, I am sharing some thoughts to help you process and answer this question for yourself and others you may lead.
5 Characteristics of a Spiritual Gift (Gift of the Spirit)
Our starting point for determining whether or not an ability is a spiritual gift must always be, ‘What does the Bible say?’
1. A Spiritual Gift is Sourced in the Holy Spirit
‘There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.’ (1 Cor 12:4)
Supernatural gifts such as discernment, prophecy, and healing are from the Holy Spirit.
The best question as you are starting out is not, ‘Is this a spiritual gift?’ but to first weigh it up and ask, ‘Is this experience or encounter from the Holy Spirit?’
Just as a gift tells us something about the heart and personality of the giver, a gift from the Holy Spirit will result in the fruit of the Holy Spirit being manifested.
We will recognize His likeness.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ (Gal 5:22-23)
2. A Spiritual Gift is Helpful
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Cor 12:7)
The Greek word translated as ‘common good’ here is symphero, which means, to contribute, bring together, profit, help or be expedient. (Strongs G4851)
The purpose of a spiritual gift is to benefit and complete the church body. (See also Romans 12:4-5) A gift of the Spirit provides something that is needed.
‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’ (1 Peter 4:10)
A question you can ask is, ‘Does this ability or experience contribute something that is helpful—or could it potentially, as I mature and develop it?’
3. A Spiritual Gift Builds the Church
‘Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.’ (1 Cor 14:12)
According to the Apostle Paul, our aim should be to build, or edify, the church. The word translated edify means, ‘to be a house builder’.
A spiritual gift helps people and draws them closer to Jesus. It helps build the church—it grows, supplements, and completes the church body. It adds—it does not subtract.
A spiritual gift is not for ourselves, it is something God gives to others through us. It is our anointed contribution.
Ask, ‘Am I using this ability to bless and build others? Am I honoring leadership with the use of this ability? Is it helping build the church—or can it?’
4. A Spiritual Gift is Based in God’s Love
‘If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.’ (1 Cor 13:2)
An important question to ask when determining whether or not you have a spiritual gift is, ‘Am I motivated by love?’
A gift based in love will have a “love impact”. The result in those receiving of the gift, will be to encounter God as a loving Father.
5. The Church is the Primary Context for Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual gifts can (and should be) used in our daily lives and in the context of mission and evangelism. However, the primary Biblical context for identifying, growing, and using spiritual gifts is the church community. (See 1 Corinthians Chapters 12-14)
So good questions to ask, are,
‘Am I established in, and committed to, a local church?’
‘Are leaders, and others around my life acknowledging this is from the Holy Spirit and that it could be a spiritual gift?’
What to Do if You Are Unsure
If you are still at a stage of uncertainty about your gift, that’s OK. Remember, you do not need to know that you have a spiritual gift, in order to be loved and affirmed by God.
The fact that you desire a spiritual gift, and prize the ministry of the Holy Spirit, is pleasing to Him. (1 Cor 14:1)
It takes time to weigh up whether or not a repeated experience, insight or encounter with God is a spiritual gift. So be prepared to:
- Go on a journey
- Focus on your intimate relationship with God, and
- Be open to receiving input from others along the way
Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts
Have you ever dreamed that you could prophesy, or pray for the sick and see them healed? The desires of your heart are the first clue to the gift and ministry calling that God has placed in your life.
If you are feeling stuck, or have undergone hardship in relation to your prophetic or prayer gift, this book will encourage you and provide you with keys to move forward in developing your gift.
Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts is filled with practical tips, inspiration, and advice to assist you in developing your spiritual gifts, including prophecy, healing, intercession, and discernment.
To find out more or purchase this eBook (available in PDF or ePub), view ‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ in our eStore here
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Do you have questions about spiritual gifts that I can answer in future Enliven Blog articles? I would love to hear about it in the blog comments section, or on Facebook or Instagram. If the blog comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries: Prophetic ministry for a revival generation