Learning about and using spiritual gifts is an important part of Christian spiritual Formation. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul states, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.". He then goes on to explain the purpose and nature of spiritual gifts throughout chapter 12. We get similar discussions from Paul in Ephesians 4:7-16 and in Romans 12:3-8. Spiritual gifts and their use were a priority for Paul. If Paul makes the topic a priority in three of his letters it is a pretty good indication that we need to do the same. Similarly, spiritual gifts should be something that we pay some attention to when we consider how to cultivate our faith.
The Common Good:
According to Paul, our spiritual gifts allow us to serve the common good. They are the means by which we are supernaturally empowered to help make a difference in the lives of others. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do that work by giving us the gifts to step out in faith. As a result, we are able to contribute to the common good. It is important to understand that this is different than our natural talents or personality. The spiritual gifts granted to us by the Holy Spirit may complement our talents and our personality. However, that is not guaranteed. It is important to remember that these gifts are not about our glory. They are about glorifying God and helping others.
Learning About The Gifts:
All three of the above passages have a list of spiritual gifts. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint what our spiritual gifts are and how to use them without some guidance. It is important to be connected to a local church that will help you identify your gifts. The local church should also provide a way to use those gifts. That can happen in a variety of different ways. For instance, there may be classes that your church offers to help you identify them. You may find a mentor in your church that can help guide you through the process. Likewise, your pastor may see some potential in you and ask you to serve on a committee. Perhaps you might be invited to take a leadership role in the church. You might also be approached to work with a specific ministry.
Discover How the Process Works:
If your church isn't helping you determine and use your gifts then you need to ask some questions of those in charge. There might be a process that you aren't aware of. There may be no process in place. You can help get the church moving in the right direction if the process is lacking. There may be an informal process that takes place that you could get plugged into. In other words, don't wait for someone to come to you and ask if you want to learn about your gifts. Take some initiative and figure out what the process is in your church. Commit to that process and see where it takes you.
Online Resources For Determining Spiritual Gifts:
I'm committed to helping you explore your passions and how your spiritual gifts may align with them. Because of that commitment, I'd be happy to talk to you about your gifts and how you may use them. I am also pointing you to some helpful online resources. There are a variety of free online tools that you can use to help you begin to understand what your gifts are and how to use them. Some assessments are better than others. So, I have listed some of the ones that I have found helpful over the years.
I hope this helps you explore your gifts and to think about how you may use them in the life of the church.