5 Characteristics of a Spiritual Gift (Is this experience a sign I have one?)

Spiritual GiftI 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

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.

Related Posts

Does Seeing Demons Mean that I Have a Spiritual Gift?

8 Signs You May Have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment

© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries: Prophetic ministry for a revival generation

8 thoughts on “5 Characteristics of a Spiritual Gift (Is this experience a sign I have one?)”

  1. I am Samuel Yeboah thirty-two years of age from Ghana.Pls i want you to help me.Am having a Gift of Prophecy (Building my Prophetic Ministry in a Local Church here in Ghana.I have been with them for almost 10 years and I was sent to one local branch but it seems things were not working for me, because,I experienced financial hardship without been cared for by the Prophet and Elders of the Mother Church.Now I have left to another City for job,because even what I will eat was difficult for me.I have joined the Church of Pentecost at my newly City. By reading your 7 ways to build your Prophetic Calling, I read a point that made me afraid about my movement without informing them: saying Serve faithfully, Stay on track during hard times and honour your elders and because I left from my branch without tellling them, Because I was in serious hardship.The administrations of the Church were very poor, they don’t care about you and my station was a new branch.Pls what should I do now.Staying at the Pentecost Church at where I am now or move to the old Church again because he did not ordained me before I left.I am so desperate and confused about my life.

    1. Hi Samuel,
      God is faithful when we aren’t, He is always a Redeemer! Regardless of what has happened, He can give you new vision, and He makes up for lost time. Be encouraged by this article:

      As far as leaving your branch without letting them know, pray about it and get a sense for how the Holy Spirit would have you respond – you can tell, because His way brings peace, even when it is hard. Perhaps He would have you contact them and explain and apologise, or something else.
      Condemnation and despair is not from God, and you may find to your surprise that the very place you have landed is His appointed place for you. Receive His grace and forgiveness today.

  2. I am aware I do have a Gift from God. I am waiting for God to teach me how and when to use it. I have prophesy in my home church several time and also the gift have come alive in other churches. I desire the gifts of healing. I see some many people that need to be healed. My Pastor has the gifts of healing and prophesy. I want to see the healing like Smith Wiggleworth and many of the Evangelist of old. Tumor disappearing, legs and arms growing out. True miracles of God in Jesus’ name.

  3. Hi

    Is it possible for one to be multi gifted e,g healing,prophetic,discernment,teaching all at the same time.
    I feel pain in my hand which I somehow believe is related to a release of my gifts at the same time experience it especially after a night of spiritual warfare,which starts in a dream before i wake up to pray,can you explain this?
    what type of training can I get and is studying theology necessary

  4. hie helen
    my name is kudakwashe,in 2015 november i joined my friends to pray in a mountain after 2 days i begin to dream dreams which i could not understand,i could see pictures in a flash or even feel what a person is experiencing.Nowadays um dreaming more, the other things are nolonger happening like before.what is happening to me.Each time i sleep or even during the day i can dream of something

  5. I have known and felt the Almighty presence of God at a very young age of about 4yrs old, As my grandfather was an Assembly of God pastor. My insistent curiosity of whom was he talking to in his study each Saturday night with the door closed had gained my free admission to sit in as well. This is where it all began. I have such a story to tell, a book to write, a title to my spiritual gift as of this day, and am now 56yrs old. I have been soooo different and never fit in anywhere in all these years of being made fun of or thought of as crazy, had a mental disorder, it has finally all come full circle right now! Thank you Lord, for the Spiritual Gifts you have bestowed upon me and am now ready to step up to the plate as an Instrument of Your Will…

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