The Spiritual Gifts: What they aren’t

God has given every Christian one or more spiritual gifts.  There are four chapters in the New Testament that mention the spiritual gifts: 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, & 1 Peter 4. They include things like: wisdom, knowledge, leading, exhorting (encouraging), teaching, giving, helping, administering, evangelism, shepherding, prophecy, tongues, faith, and mercy, to name a bunch.  Last week I mentioned a few things about what the spiritual gifts are (click here to read it). Now I will talk about what they aren’t!
1. They aren’t the same as natural talents. A natural talent is something given at birth; whereas a spiritual gift is something given at your new birth. A natural talent is something you had before you became a Christian. A spiritual gift is something God gave you when you became a Christian. But, both natural talents and spiritual gifts are God-given and to be used to do God’s work in ministry.  Being artistic is a natural talent. Some of you can paint, draw, sculpt, decorate, and design. You have an innate creative flare. Being athletic is also a natural talent. Some people can just jump higher, farther, and are more coordinated physically.  Music is another natural talent. Some of you can sing or write music, or play an instrument. Of course you had to practice and work hard to develop it, but you also had a natural talent to begin with. Now, the error a lot of Christians make when it comes to the topic of spiritual gifts is to say, “I only need to find out my spiritual gifts.” No, you also need to look at your natural talents, because sometimes your ministry can incorporate them, as well as using your spiritual gifts. For example, maybe you’re a phenomenal musician, that’s a talent that can be harnessed for God. You can end up helping lead worship. Or maybe you have a natural talent for marketing and advertising.  Well, you can promote the gospel in creative ways via the internet or through social media. Maybe you’re a computer expert. That’s a huge asset for any church. Maybe you’re naturally organized and you love details. You can find some way to make a particular ministry more organized. I mean, whatever you have that can be used for God’s glory and the benefit of the church should be used, whether it’s something you had before you were a Christian or something you got when you became a Christian.

2. They aren’t the same as the “fruit of the spirit”. The fruit of the Spirit are nine qualities listed in Galatians 5:22–23 that the Holy Spirit reproduces in every believer: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” They are qualities that each of us have in various measures. Sometimes people say things like, “I just don’t have the gift of patience.”  Well, patience is not a spiritual gift.  It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Every Christian should have patience.  You can’t say, “I just don’t have the gift of self-control.” Self-control isn’t a gift, it’s a fruit of the spirit each Christian should have.
3. They aren’t the supreme test of whether you have the Holy Spirit. The question may be asked, “How do you know you have the Holy Spirit in you?” Look at 1 Corinthians 12:3 – “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Some Christian denominations promote the idea that you don’t have the Holy Spirit unless you have a certain gift, like speaking in tongues.  But, this verse is saying that the supreme test that you have the Holy Spirit is whether you can wholeheartedly say ,“Jesus is Lord.”  To say “Jesus is Lord” means that Jesus is the highest authority in your life.  His opinion, his Word is supreme. It is above all else. You value nothing or no one above him. You love him more than all other things or people. It means that you love, serve, honor, obey, follow, and imitate him. All of that is what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.”
Having a certain spiritual gift isn’t the supreme test of whether you’ve got the Spirit. The test is whether you love Jesus and submit to him as your Lord because that’s what the Holy Spirit does. He takes out our heart of stone towards Jesus and replaces it with a heart of flesh to love Jesus.  He convicts us of sin which separates us from Jesus and reorients our life course toward Jesus. He is so gracious and kind. May we love Him and serve Him in response.

Categories Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on October 20, 2021

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