The Boundless blog is a collection of unique voices addressing the issues young adults care about right now – everything from dating and faith to current events.
Yesterday at church my pastor talked about spiritual gifts. We got through it without anyone throwing stones. Although, we're not getting to tongues and prophecy until next week, so who knows what could happen.
My pastor talked about how in the Old Testament, we see God and His people communicating through three offices: prophet, priest and king. God used prophets to bring His Word to the people; He used priests to bring the people to God through prayers and sacrifices, and kings were there to lead the people, especially in the area of staying true to God's law. Then Jesus came and fulfilled all of those offices fully. He was a prophet because He was the Word. He was a priest in that He became the final sacrifice. And He was a king because He demonstrated, fulfilled and taught us how to obey the law perfectly.
Because of Jesus, believers are now filled with the Holy Spirit, and each of us has one (or more) of the gifts that help us bring God's love to others. Some of us might be good at teaching or speaking truth (prophet), others at serving and compassion (priest) and others at leading (king). What's important, my pastor said, is remembering that spiritual gifts are different than talents. Just because you were a good leader before you became a Christian, doesn't mean that this is your spiritual gifting. Or, he said, just because you weren't a good speaker before, doesn't mean that your spiritual gift isn't speaking now. We know one reluctant speaker/leader whom God clearly used to lead His people out of Egypt, but he didn't believe he could speak effectively.
Some of us don't know what our spiritual gifts are, and others of us are pretty confident in them. There are all kinds of "spiritual gifts tests" out there, but what's important is remembering that any gift should be used for God's glory in the service of others. This is the point of why Paul takes a huge break in his discussion of the gifts to talk about love. As we often do with Scripture, many of us pluck 1 Corinthians 13 right out if its context and use it as a pretty passage for weddings. But this extensive description of what love looks like is meant to help us understand that any gift is to be pursued through love — patiently, kindly and humbly. (My guess is that Paul would be disappointed by the division and lack of love often shown in discussion about spiritual gifts. We're good at missing the point.)
Paul reminds us that we Christians are one body. We all have gifts through the Holy Spirit, and we should use them for God's glory. If you use your gift and I use my gift, we'll be working together as the body of Christ, loving one another through their administration and drawing others into fellowship with God. Sounds good to me.
Have you thought much about the spiritual gifts? What gift do you believe God has given you? Have you ever felt God calling you to a gift you didn't think you had, like we saw with Moses?
You must be logged in to comment.
Sign In or
Comment by Linae:
Interestingly this was a topic that returned under the microscope last Monday. I visited a youth group where we all took a quiz to ascertain our gifts. I always thought it to be teaching, yet the test highlighted prophecy. I know that we must not hold on tightly to these man made tests, so I wouldn't worry too much about it, as if I am actually acting on it or whatever; but I would like more information on this gift, what does it entail really?
Comment by Caleb:
So a quick, simple, question. What is one to do when one's God given gifts (spiritual) and abilities (natural/physical) do not line up with one's desires on how to serve in the church and in a career?
Comment by Britney:
Often times, believers are given grace in each area, but sometimes more in one area than another, and at different seasons of the journey through life. Gifts are great! God wants us to get excited about them, just as we would a worldy gift --- but to never seek after them more than we seek the Gift-giver.
Comment by shirl:
I have the gift of teaching and nurturing.
There was once I got involved in a church who emphasized on the gift of tongues. I love the familyhood of that church that I don't want to let that spiritual gifting to hinder our good relationship. When we had our spiritual gifts seminar and at the culmination of that was to learn to speak another tongue, I just asked my teacher if all Christians have the same spiritual gift? and he answered no. So, if not all Christians don't have the same gifting then it is possible that I don't have the gift of tongue? and the answer was yes. So, we came to a point where we agreed. We continued to enjoy our good relationship.
I transferred to a new place and so I got a new church. I really felt that the Lord is calling me to teach whether at a young professional group I attended or with the young people in the church or the young children. It made me feel fulfilled and overjoyed every time I teach God's truth and nurture them to know more the Lord.
I understand that when you use your gifting appropriately there is joy and peace and feeling of fulfillment. And most of all, the Lord is more glorified above all.
Comment by Anonymous:
I have been personally studying spiritual gifts and my small group is going through a series right now on them. From what I have found to be true is that we each have a primary spiritual gift along with ministry gifts. That we need to discover and deploy them. Our primary gift(Romans 12:3-8) being the base of our serving in the church. We are stewards of the gifts and we receive joy/fulfillment when we use them.
Comment by James:
To be perfectly honest it seems like there is too much emphasis and experimentation in the name of spiritual gifts. Just because one "feels" something doesn't mean it's Biblical or appropriate. Believers would be better off studying The Bible and living that out in practical ways.
Linae, I would suggest the most appropriate description of prophecy is in fact, teaching. And I would personally discourage the use of the word prophecy altogether as it's so commonly used in conspiracy theories and other false doctrines.
Comment by CourtneyP:
Shirl, I am glad that you have found a church home, but there is a difference between the Gift of Speaking in Tongues and Praying in Holy Spirit (holy pray language). The ref. for Praying in the Holy Spirit is 1 Cor. 14 also John Bevere has great teaching on tongues. I agree that the gift of speaking in tongues with interpretation is truly a gift that everyone does not have. But, praying in the Holy Spirit is a gift that every Christians can have and can be used as a weapon against that devil. :0
Comment by sarah:
Courtney #7 - Praying in the Spirit is not a weapon against the devil, it's a way to communicate with God, our only weapon is the Word (Eph 6:17). (I just got done listening to Bevere's sermons about honor, pretty good stuff! Next on the list is Extraordinary. I had read part of it and now I am going to listen to the rest of it.)
Comment by Johnathan:
If I can offer my two cents - Biblically and semantically, a prophet is a messenger of God. A prophet was given the task of delivering God's message to people. The primary emphasis of the message was usually focused on the present situation. Sometimes it involved a forecasting of the future, but even the predictive element of prophecy was still in light of the present situation. So for example, an OT prophet might predict that if the people don't repent of their sin, they will be destroyed - the emphasis is not really on knowing the future outcome, but rather that the knowledge would motivate change in the present.
Nowadays, people automatically think of a prophet as someone who can predict the future, but that's not really a very accurate/helpful description of Biblical prophecy. Messenger is probably a better term than prophet for us today.
So simply put, from my understanding of the Biblical term, the gift of prophecy would be the gift of delivering God's message to his people. I'd encourage you to do more study on the Biblical concept of prophecy to help you further grow this gift - God bless!
Comment by Samantha:
I don't believe in spiritual gifts as the world sees them. Our only job as Christians is to become more like Jesus. Normal humans do not have spiritual gifts. The disciples did; we do not. We had abilities which we can use to bring people to Jesus but not those gifts of prophecy or tongues or wisdom or whatever is listed in the SHAPE book.
@Courney P. #7
yeah, I am not totally against speaking in tongues. My friends in that former church I attended are having the gift of tongues and they are very good Christians, they love the Lord so much, they love spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer, and they also love the lost people. Just that in my case I simply am convinced that my gifting is not speaking another tongue, but teaching and nurturing. and I feel overjoyed everytime I helped a brother or a sister find and apply biblical truths as a result of my teaching.
and regarding Praying in the Holy Spirit, I believe we (Christians) are all commanded to pray in the Spirit because we cannot pray on our own that we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us even in our prayers.
Comment by PricklyPete:
Courtey P (#7):
... there is a difference between the Gift of Speaking in Tongues and Praying in Holy Spirit (holy pray language). The ref. for Praying in the Holy Spirit is 1 Cor. 14.
I am curious where you see this different gift in 1 Corinthians 14. The only possibility I see is verse 14, but that is clearly still referring to tongues (thus the word tongue).
Thanks for the thoughts. God Bless
Comment by Tara:
To Denise, or anyone else who might be "listening":
I was under the impression that Boundless' doctrinal leanings went in more of a "cessationist" direction... was I wrong? Or am I misinterpreting this article? Thanks, just curious.
#14 - I don't know, but I'm sure that there's some variety about beliefs on the gifts of the Spirit with the Boundless staff/writers/etc. From my experience, cessationists aren't completely homogenous about beliefs about the gifts of the Spirit; some completely oppose them in the present day, others say some still could happen while some absolutely can't, others aren't sure, etc. I think it would depend on the person.
I hope it doesn't matter too much though, I still consider cessationists as much as a sibling in Christ as I do with someone who isn't a cessationist. =)
made with ♥ by Boundless