God’s Word says, Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant (1 Cor. 12:1, NIV). God makes it clear that He does not want you to be ignorant or uninformed about spiritual gifts? To become more informed and knowledgeable let us begin with a Biblical definition.

A spiritual gift is a spiritual ability given by the Holy Spirit to every believer in order to serve others, especially the church.

From that definition we see four major observations.

Your spiritual gift is a spiritual ability

According to God’s Word these are spiritual gifts. The Bible does not call them physical gifts, but spiritual gifts. This deals with spiritual abilities, not physical abilities. For example, the person with great athletic ability has been blessed with a physical talent, but running or jumping extremely well is not a spiritual gift. A person who has the ability to play a musical instrument well has been blessed by God with that ability, but it is not a spiritual gift. There is no such thing as the spiritual gift of auto mechanics, swimming, writing, painting, cooking, or carpentry. Those are physical talents, not spiritual abilities. They all can be used for the glory of God and be used to bless others, but they are not spiritual gifts. These physical abilities may be special gifts that God has blessed people with, but they are not spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts deal with spiritual and supernatural matters, that’s why they are called spiritual gifts.

Your spiritual gift is given by the Holy Spirit

This truth is heavily emphasized in God’s Word. Take a look at the following.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 says, “To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit(emphasis added). Your gift and every believer’s spiritual gift is given through the Spirit and by means of the same Spirit. Your gift is Holy Spirit generated.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit determined and decided which gift He wanted you to have. You didn’t earn it or deserve it. He completely controlled which gift you would receive.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:18 says, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be (emphasis added).  It was God’s desire to give you the gift He wanted you to have.

Just to be clear, there are two observations you need to note.

Your spiritual gift is chosen by the Holy Spirit. This is very clear. There is no spiritual gift buffet. There is no spiritual gift flea market. The Holy Spirit himself determines and chooses what gift you will have. It is by His sovereign choice, not by your choice.

Your spiritual gift is given to you by grace. You don’t earn your spiritual gift; it is given to you by grace. The word gift is found six times in 1 Corinthians 12 (vs. 1, 4, 9, 28, 30, 31). In the New Testament it carries the meaning of grace. These are gifts of grace. Gifts of unmerited favor. You don’t deserve them, and you can’t earn them. The Holy Spirit sovereignly and graciously gives them to whomever He chooses.

Your spiritual gift is unique to you

At least one spiritual gift is given to every believer, including you. Look carefully at what the Bible says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). A few verses later, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (v. 11). Peter would echo this saying, Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it various forms” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

Every believer has at least one spiritual gift. Every believer has a ministry prepared for them within the Body of Christ. If you are a child of God, then you already have a spiritual gift. There are three important goals every believer should have concerning their spiritual gift.

Every believer should discover their spiritual gift. That is what this article is for, to help you to begin understanding what your spiritual gift is. At this point, let me add that no one receives all the gifts. Why? If someone received all the gifts, he or she would have no need of anybody else. God does not give any person all the gifts because He wants us to depend on each other. He wants us to need each other so no one person can say, “I’m an island unto myself; I don’t need you; I don’t need the church.” No one has all the gifts. In addition, no single gift is given to every believer. God wants variety. There is no gift that everybody has.

Every believer should develop their spiritual gift. Just because you have a spiritual gift does not mean you know how to use it. You need to grow and mature in your gifting. Spiritual gifts are like muscles, you have them, but you need to develop them. The more you understand your gift, exercise it, and mature it the better you will get at using it.

Every believer should deploy their spiritual gift. Whatever your spiritual gift is, discover it, develop it then use it faithfully. All believers have the responsibility to use their gift. Every Christian is accountable for his or her gifts, abilities, and talents whether physical or spiritual. Jesus told about three servants. One was given ten talents, another five talents and another one talent. The parable ends with each one of them giving an account of what they did with those talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Make sure you use your gift wisely.

Your spiritual gift is to serve others

Your spiritual gift is not for your personal enjoyment, but for your spiritual employment (1 Cor. 12:7). Your spiritual gift lets you know what your job is in the kingdom of God. Even though you are blessed by using your spiritual gift, the primary purpose of the gift is to benefit others. Peter put it this way, “Each one of you, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use it for the good of others the spiritual gift he has received from God” (1 Peter 4:10). Paul says, “The Holy Spirit displays god’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Cor. 12:7). Your gift is for the good of others and for helping the entire church.

Discussion Questions

  • Why are some Christians uninformed or wrongly informed about spiritual gifts?
  • What are some physical abilities that some people confuse with spiritual gifts?
  • Why would a Christian want one gift over another one? Why would he be dissatisfied with the gift he has?
  • What is your spiritual? How did you discover it?
  • How can Christians develop their spiritual gift?
  • How are you using your spiritual gift?
  • How does your spiritual gift good for others and how does it help the church?