7 Things You Should Know About Spiritual Gifts
1. Any Born Again Believer Can Flow in the Gifts
Let’s establish the first truth about the spiritual gifts right away. The nine gifts of the Spirit are available for any believer to flow in. Paul said in Corinthians, “... that you may all prophesy...” (1 Corinthians 14:31)
The spiritual gifts are not equal to your calling or your ministry. So this means that you can flow in them even if you are not called to be a prophet.
As soon as you have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you, you are ready to flow in the gifts of the Spirit.
2. The Holy Spirit Manifests the Gifts as He Wills
So then, now that you know that any believer can flow in the gifts, realize that they are... well... gifts! This means they are given to you by someone. They are not your possession and are not something you can switch on and off as you wish.
The Holy Spirit is the giver of the gifts and He will manifest those gifts through you as He sees fit. So you can’t activate those gifts or turn them off and on as you wish. That is all up to the Holy Spirit.
Consider 1 Corinthians 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
3. Simply Be Available
Now, a gift is something that you accept voluntarily. So it’s not something the Holy Spirit will force upon you. He won’t say, “Come here, I have a gift of prophecy to hand out. Take it and use it right now!”
No - that’s not His nature. The Holy Spirit is a dove. He will nudge you gently and hand you the gift. All you have to do on your part is be available for Him to now manifest that through you.
Consider what Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:
And I, brothers, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the wisdom of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the [dynamic] power of God.
Here Paul lays out so many things to do with flowing in the spirit. In this part he clearly showed that there was nothing good within him to qualify him to flow in the gifts, but the mere fact that he yielded all to Christ and trusted Him to do what He does best.
So this shows that as you are available, God can do something through you.
4. The Gifts Are Received by Earnest Desire and Faith
So, when you are available, all you have to do is to reach out to the Lord in faith so that the gifts can flow through you. Like I said earlier, there is no such thing as “activating” the gift.
I don’t walk up to a friend and say, “Hey - you said something about giving me a gift? Well, I am here to activate that promise now. Please give me your gift!”
It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. The Scripture says that He is our friend and comforter. He won’t be imposing His will. Because He is so gentle to us, it stands to reason that we shouldn’t walk up to Him and be demanding either.
However, reach out in faith and ask Him to please use you, and you will get a response from Him very quickly. He delights in handing out gifts. What friend doesn’t enjoy putting a smile on your face? It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. If you come to Him longingly and asking for help, he will not hold back.
You can see this clearly in Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Also consider what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
It is good for you to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. Nowhere do you read anything about activating them. You earnestly desire, you stand in faith, and the Holy Spirit manifests them!
5. The Gifts Manifest Through Love
So as you reach out to the Lord in faith to receive those gifts, they manifest as you stand in love. You see yes, sometimes you need those gifts for your own merit. But most of the time, they manifest while you are busy ministering in one way or another. Most of the time, another person is somehow involved.
And so you may be talking to someone and they are going through a rough time. As you see their need and hear their cry for help, you reach out to the Lord and say, “Lord, would you mind helping? My sister/brother over here really needs you. Is there something I can give to them?”
You see - you reach out in faith, and stand in love, and then the gifts will indeed manifest.
The commandment the Lord Jesus gave to the disciples was this:
John 15: 12-13 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
This is the commandment we still have today. When you love one another, the Lord gives you what is needed to love others with!
6. The Tools of the Trade
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
As Paul so beautifully states in the scripture above, the gifts are a means to an end. Sure, desire them and use them, but rather excel in building up the Church.
The gifts are given to help you accomplish a greater purpose. Like I said at the beginning, the spiritual gifts, your ministry, and your calling are not the same thing.
You can fulfill your call and your ministry by using the spiritual gifts. But your calling is not to have a gift of interpretation, for example. Your calling might be to shepherd God’s people and in order for you to do that, it is a good thing to be able to prophesy as an encouragement to the flock.
So the gifts really are just a means to an end. To use an illustration Apostle Colette shares in one of her Prophetic Field Guide Series books, the gifts are like the pots and pans a chef uses to prepare a meal.
As a customer at this chef’s restaurant, all you care about is the food that is served to you when you go there. When you think about what you are eating, you don’t care what they were cooked in and how they were prepared. You care about the end result of what you have on your plate.
So for us believers, the spiritual gifts are much like the pots and pans. They are vessels we use to create a result. They are containers we use, to deliver something delicious to the Church.
7. The Holy Spirit is the Beginning and the End of Flowing in the Gifts
1 Corinthians 2:13-14 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[a] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The things of God are not to be understood with your mind. Your human understanding is not sufficient to understand the things of the spirit.
Like I have already shared in each of the above points, these gifts are all up to the Holy Spirit. It’s only with Him that you can flow in the gifts, and it’s also only through Him that you can understand the things of God.
So in other words, whoever doesn’t have the Holy Spirit (whoever is not born again), cannot flow in these gifts.
You are not born with the gifts, for it is only when the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in you that you will begin to understand as He understands.
The Holy Spirit is the beginning and the end of flowing in the spiritual gifts.
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