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How has God gifted you by his Spirit? (Part 1)

Posted by on Apr 25, 2012 in spirit/holy spirit, spiritual gifts | 12 comments

How has God gifted you by his Spirit? (Part 1)

Yesterday, I asked the question, “How far does your heart extend?” With that question, I was asking where along the spectrum God has placed your loves and passions: from those nearby to those far away and across the globe. Neither extreme is better than the other.

In this post, I ask a similar, but someone different, question: How has God gifted you by his Spirit? This question refers to what is typically called “spiritual gifts.”

In Scripture, there are several different lists of spiritual gifts: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 1 Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11 (my personal favorite). While many suggest that Ephesians 4:11 is a special (and exhaustive) list, I do not think any of these lists are intended to be exhaustive.

In fact, in many ways, it’s impossible to know exactly which spiritual gift someone may or may not have or which spiritual gift someone may or may not be exercising. (And, yes, for the record, I think that “spiritual gift inventory” tests are pretty useless.) Of course, we can observe how God chooses to work through us and others. But, even that may not tell us everything.

Consider Paul. In the Book of Acts and in his letters, we see Paul working as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher, servant, encourager, giver, leader, tongues speaker, healer, helper, discerner, etc. So, what spiritual gift did Paul have?

Now, some might suggest that Paul was a super-Christian, but his co-worker Barnabas is described in many of the same ways as Paul, and God worked through Barnabas in many of the same ways listed above. The same could be said of other people in the New Testament, although we have less information about them.

This does not negate that fact that some people in the New Testament were known for one specific type of “gift.” For example, Philip was known as an evangelist while his daughters were known as prophets. (Acts 21:8-9)

So, as we’re thinking about how God has gifted us by his Spirit, we can begin by understanding that the “gifts” listed in Scripture may not be “hard and fast” or easily distinguished. Also, it’s possible that God can work through people in different ways at different times and in different locations and situations. At the same time, it’s also possible that God can choose to work through someone in a specific way primarily.

In Part 2, I’ll look at one of the dangers of considering how God has gifted us by his Spirit.


12 Comments

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  1. 4-25-2012

    In Part 2, I’ll look at one of the dangers of considering how God has gifted us by his Spirit.

    Could this be like what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3, and if modernized today the believers are weak and saying I am of this group, or that group. I have this gift bettter than your gift. The flesh still in the way. Would this be the danger you are referring to? I think i want to learn to continue to learn to HAVE No CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH. The flesh is nasty and yet appears good, shiny and we like sheep can head for the slaughter easily. because we see shiny, the emotions of feeling take over and look out
    Howard

  2. 4-25-2012

    Howard,

    Because his Spirit dwells within us, our bodies can now be used for good, as long as we follow the Spirit and not our own personal desires.

    -Alan

  3. 4-25-2012

    Alan, I 100% agree
    howard

  4. 4-25-2012

    Here’s an alternative to focusing on gifts when seeking to help others follow Christ’s direction in their lives:

    What is your passion?
    -Something you see? (hopes – Abraham’s City of God)
    -Something you hear? (needs – Macedonian Call)
    -Something you have experienced? (compassion II Cor 1:4)
    -Something you do that sparks joy in service (Phil 2:13)

    Pioneer Servant or Partner Servant?
    -Something new or floundering (pioneer)
    -Something existing, desire to take part in work (partner)

    Locale of Focus
    -Within (fellow church members)
    -Without (here)
    -Without (distant)

    Monitoring Progress
    -who are we becoming through the work
    -are we following faithfully
    -who is following with you
    -who are you developing alongside you

  5. 4-25-2012

    This blog discusses this entire issue with substantiating testimonies.

  6. 4-25-2012

    I forgot to check the boxes below.

  7. 4-25-2012

    Howard,

    Good. Then we MUST be right. :)

    Art,

    Stay tuned… I’m covering some of those questions this week, although probably in slightly different formats.

    J Hanson,

    That’s alot of material to read. I’ve already read quite a bit on this subject. Could you summarize it for us?

    -Alan

  8. 4-26-2012

    Great post! Being a Pentecostal Pastor, this post is perhaps less definite than some people would like but I really agree with the general idea here.

    Gifts come from God through His Spirit and I think our attempts to pin them down to a simple definition can be counter-productive to their role as ‘graces.’

    -Josh

  9. 4-26-2012

    Josh,

    Thanks for the comment. Why do you think some people prefer more definite definitions and descriptions of spiritual gifts?

    -Alan

  10. 4-26-2012

    alan said
    Good. Then we MUST be right.

    No Alan only God is right, only god is good and God has invited us to join in with him ans rest with him. The holy ghost has the job of bringing in the sheep.
    It is right when one is being led by God via Holy ghost and only then is it right!
    Howard

  11. 4-26-2012

    Howard,

    I was being facetious.

    -Alan

  12. 4-26-2012

    You are just too funny, thanks Howard, anyway let truth be told put no ink in the water so the water will not be tainted. Just put one drop of ink in water and the water is tainted, and truth has taken a turn to a lie.
    Howard

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