Monday, January 16, 2012

Spiritual Gifts

In July, our preacher did a three part series entitled “How to Discover and Use Your Spiritual Gift.”  I was fascinated by his take on spiritual gifts and have been wanting to blog about my notes from these sermons for a while now.  

Dr. Jeffress was very clear that the basic premise for these messages was from Don Crossland’s research on the study which later was contributed to Bill Gothard for his use in his Institute in Basic Life Principles.  I also want to be clear that these are not my original ideas – these are merely the notes I took during these sermons. 

He started by explaining that while we all may possess certain characteristics or traits, we are each given one main spiritual gift (although we certainly all have other abilities and ministries). 

Part I: Four Important Truths to Help Discover Your Spiritual Gifts

1. God has given every Christian a unique spiritual gift (Romans 12:4-6; Philippians 2:13)

a. Definition of a spiritual gift: the desire and power God gives you to accomplish his purpose.

b. Our gift is given by the Holy Spirit through God’s grace.

2. True fulfillment comes from using our spiritual gift.

3. Spiritual gifts help perfect the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18, 19, 21, 27)

4. “Spiritual gifts” can be divided into three categories. (1 Corinthians 12:1-6)

a.  GIFTS: (Romans 12:6-8) prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, leadership/organization, giving, mercy. {the focus of this series}

b. MINISTRIES: (Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28) apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher, worker of power, healing, helper, administrator, tongues.

c. EFFECTS: (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, effective miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, interpretation of tongues.

Part II: The Motivational Gifts in Romans 12 & Part III: Further Insights About Each Gift

Romans 12:4-8 (NIV) says: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

So, as you can see, there are seven gifts mentioned here:

1. Prophecy: presenting God’s truth to convict people of sin and their need for a right relationship with God

a. Biblical example of the gift of prophecy: Peter

b. Understanding the gift: persuasive, ability to speak, highly opinionated

c. Dangers of the gift: proud of speech, depends on speaking skills rather than Holy Spirit, insensitive to others’ feelings

d. Characteristics: needs to explain message verbally, dependence on scriptural truth to validate authority, concern for reputation of God

e. Misunderstandings: frankness often seen as harshness, interests in results may be seen as using gimmicks, emphasis on decisions may appear to neglect spiritual growth, strong convictions may hinder intimate personal relationships, strong desire to convey truth may be seen as having little interest in opinions of others

2. Serving: meeting practical needs of others

a. Biblical example of the gift of serving: Martha

b. Understanding the gift: doesn’t need much public recognition but desires appreciation, able to detect needs of others, will overlook personal discomfort to meet needs

c. Dangers of the gift: becoming bitter when not appreciated, overemphasis on meeting practical versus spiritual needs, judging others who do not have this gift

d. Characteristics: ability to see the likes and dislikes of other people, energy to fulfill needs of others with disregard for personal weariness, involvement in a variety of activities and difficulty in saying “no,” enjoys short range goals rather than long rage goals

e. Misunderstandings: avoidance of red tape, may exclude others from jobs, eagerness in serving may prompt suspicion of self advancement, meeting practical needs may be misunderstood as lack of interest in spiritual matters, tendency to get side tracked

3. Teaching: presenting and clarifying Biblical truth

a. Understanding the gift: enjoys research, tests knowledge of others

b. Dangers of the gift: concentrating on content versus application, becoming prideful of knowledge, inattentive to response of audience

c. Important not to confuse the spiritual gift of “teaching” with the skill of teaching (i.e. my Mom is a very gifted 3rd grade teacher, but her spiritual gift is not necessarily teaching)

d. Characteristics: believes their gift is foundational to other gifts, emphasis on the meaning of words, tests the knowledge of those who teach, avoid non-biblical examples/sources, get great joy in researching

e. Misunderstandings: emphasis on content may appear to neglect practical application, testing others may appear to be prideful, details of research may appear to be unnecessary to audience

4. Exhortation (encouraging): help people solve problems by applying God’s Word to their lives; “exhortation” = “to come alongside”

a. Understanding the gift: gifted in counseling, prefers one-on-one to groups, interested in practical application and solving real world problems

b. Dangers of the gift: may waste time with those not wanting real solutions, becoming discouraged by lack of progress

c. Characteristics: use Bible as a resource to solve problems, tends to avoid systems of information that lack practical application, begins with problems and then goes to Scripture for solutions

d. Misunderstandings: emphasis on practical steps may appear to over-simplify problems, desire to witness through lifestyle may appear to be a lack of interest in evangelism, use of Scripture for practical application may appear to take Scripture out of context

5. Giving: using personal assets to assist others/desire and ability to use personal assets to further the cause of Christ

a. Understanding the gift: ability to make money and manage money well, prefers giving anonymously, doesn’t like pressure, wants to motivate others to give

b. Dangers of the gift: prideful of giving, overemphasis on material needs, equating spirituality with material success

c. Characteristics: ability to make wise purchases and investments, desire to give quietly to effective ministries, avoids pressure appeals, joy when a gift is an answer to a specific prayer, concern that gift be of high quality

d. Misunderstandings: desire to increase effectiveness of a ministry may be seen as an attempt to control, lack of a response to a pressure appeal may be seen as lack of generosity, personal frugality may not be understood  by friends/relatives

6. Leading: coordinating activities of others to achieve a common goal

a. Understanding the gift: sees the big picture, effective at delegation, able to preside

b. Dangers of the gift: tendency to use people to achieve goals, pushy, tendency to lose sight

c. Characteristics: ability to see overall picture, desire to complete tasks as quickly as possible, ability to know what can and cannot be delegated, will stand on sidelines until responsibilities are expressly turned over to him/her, willingness to endure criticism from workers to achieve ultimate goal, desire to move on to new challenge once task is completed

d. Misunderstandings: ability to delegate may be viewed as lazy, willingness to endure criticism may appear as insensitive, seeing people as a resource may appear as devaluing of people

7. Mercy: desire to identify with and comfort those who are hurting

a. Understanding the gift: can discern mood of people, sensitive to words or actions that hurt, reacts to those who are insensitive

b. Dangers of the gift: failure to be firm when necessary, resentful of people without the gift of mercy, easily misunderstood by those of opposite sex

c. Characteristics: gravitate toward those who hurt, greater concern for mental distress than physical suffering, avoidance of firmness unless sees how it will being benefit, negative reaction to those who are not sensitive

d. Misunderstandings: avoidance of firmness may be seen as weakness, may appear to be guided by emotion rather than logic

Truths to Remember About Spiritual Gifts

1. Distinguish between your gift and your ministry.

2. Remember that the context for your gift is the {local} church.

a. Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.

b. Joy comes from knowing and using your gift in the local church setting.

Well, I know this was pretty lengthy, but things like this are so interesting to me, so maybe someone else out there is interested too!  Austin and I had many conversations after this series about our own gifts (based on this approach, my gift is prophecy).  We also went through every member of our family and tried to figure out which gift we thought God has given them.   Did you figure out your spiritual gift? 

Here is a link from our church’s website where you can watch, listen, or see notes from these sermons, if you are interested!

Hope your week is off to a great start!  I am headed to the grocery store and farmers market.  This afternoon I am making these raw peanut balls for snacking throughout the week.  Tonight I am making King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese (as seen on the cover of the January Southern Living) because Austin has been begging for it ever since my January edition came in the mail!  I think it has been beckoning to him from the coffee table. 

1 comment:

  1. Both of our spiritual gifts and natural talents must be employed in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in the self-energy of the flesh in order to please God In Christianity, spiritual gifts (or charismata) are endowments given by the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need too...